The Cold Hard Truth About Basement Finishing and Shower Tile Height

Ever wonder why the tiles in your shower stop about ¾ of the way up the wall instead of going all the way to the ceiling? Worried that the basement finishing project that you’re about to start will have the same thing?

Well, the cold-hard truth is that your builder was cheap. And chances are, if you don’t specifically request it, the basement finishing contractor will try to take the cheap road too.

Don’t let it happen. You’re splitting hairs here. The cost to add a few extra rows of tile to your basement shower walls will be relatively small.

We used to waste so much time talking to our tile installers about the right place to stop the tile. Should it go above the shower head? Or below? If we go below, the escutcheon on the shower head might be too close to the tile, if we go above, is the strip of painted wall going to be so thin it looks funny?

Additionally, you need to consider this. Your basement is almost certainly more humid than the rest of your house. Finishing it will not decrease the humidity; rather it will simply place materials in this damp environment. Now envision a bathroom in an already humid basement. Do you suppose your bathroom walls above the tile need any more moisture splashing up on them from someone showering?!

Finally we got smart and realized that we were being ridiculous. Not only was the cost of going all the way to the ceiling small, but deciding the best place to stop the tile was aggravating, and we were setting the homeowner up for a future water problem. You don’t need that headache in your basement finishing project!

When we made it standard on all basement finishing projects to go to the ceiling, the difference was immediate. Homeowners loved the aesthetic. They loved how it made the shower walls seem taller. And they loved not having water splash up onto painted walls.

Give your basement finishing contractor the cold-hard truth right from the start: “tile… to the ceiling… got it!?”

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By master