Five Dos and Don'ts of Tub Surrounds
Our newest blogger, Steve Marcus, is the founder of Best Tile and has 50 years of experience in the tile world. His very first blog is below.
Five Dos and Don’ts of Tiling Your Tub Surround.
Sheetrock: If you installed sheetrock in your tub surround, cut it about ½” away from your tub on all 3 walls. If you have not installed the sheetrock yet set a ½” thick piece of wood on the tub and take it away after you’ve screwed the sheetrock to the wall. ) The waterproof green sheetrock is only waterproof on the surface.) When cut and installed onto the tub it becomes the first place that water may start to get absorbed. Fill the ½” gap with a silicone calk so the water won’t be able to reach the sheetrock. Even if you grouted and or caulked the last row of tile against the tub, it will find it’s way to get to the sheetrock. Place your tile or stone down against the tub and cover the gap. Of course if you used a cement board, you won’t have any problems with water destroying all your work. Once the job gets done and you fill the tub up with water and you take a bath, all that weight begins to settle the tub and the water will get into the new hairline crack.
Where to Start Tiling: Don’t start with a full piece of tile on your tub. Tubs are never installed level. Start with a cut of at least an inch off so you can follow a level line you must draw and work your way down to adjust the cuts as you go along. Don’t start tiling from a corner wall. Always start in the middle of the tub and draw a vertical level line. Place a piece the tile against the edge of the line and “hand walk” to a corner to see how big the cut will be. Never have a cut less than an inch. If you do, move the tile so the centerline is in the center of the tile. Draw a new line vertically and start your tiling against it. Don’t ever leave your drain exposed while tiling and grouting. Take some blue painting tape and cover it until you are done.
Soap Dish: Another possible fail spot is the soap dish. They used to make “soap and grabs that were installed with plaster and when the shower sprayed onto it for a time it would eat away the grout and the grab handle when pulled came out. So they changed the name to “soap and face cloth holder” but they still fell out. If you install any kind of soap dish make sure you keep it out of the way of the shower spray. If you use corner soap dishes place them on the corner wall where the facets won’t spray on them. The same goes for towel bar holders. Keep them high and out of the way.
Top of Tub Surround: Don’t leave any space between the top of the tile and the ceiling. It’s usually cheaper to tile all the way up to the ceiling then leaving a small area that has to be painted or wall papered. Trim is expensive. Field tiles are not.
Timing: Wait at least 24 hours before installing your faucets and showerheads. Don’t rush it or you may crack the tiles when tightening.