Installing Tile as Tub Surround

April 26, 2012 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

Tile is a great option for a tub or shower enclosure.  Many people choose to use tile during their bathroom renovation projects becuase it is both water and stain resistent, fairly easy to install, and can be modified to fit any budget.  Tile is also very customizable offering a vast selection of shapes, colors, patterns, and designs to create a the perfect look for your space. The finished product is also easy to maintain and keep looking great for years to come.

Although installing bathroom tile is a job that most homeowners can do themselves, it is important to take the time to make sure you are prepared before you begin.  Having a game plan and understanding of how to properly install the tile is just as important as having the right tools for the job.

Pre-planning

It is important to measure the area you will be applying your tile.  This will ensure you proper number of tiles that you will need for your space.  Always buy a little extra just in case.  Having to run out for more supplies can cause the project to take longer and cost more than originally expected.

Measuring your space will also help you determine if you will need to cut any tiles.  If you using tiles in various colors or patterns, you should determine what pattern to install them in during this stage as well. Also, keep in mind that your tiles will not be directly against each other as spacing will need to be in between in order to apply the grout.

Applying the Mastic

It is important that you apply the tile and mastic in smaller sections.  If you cover the entire area in mastic before beginning to place the tile, it will dry before you are able to finish.  So, divide up the area into smaller sections and do one section at a time. If the mastic happens to dry before you can apply the tile, scrape it off and begin again in that area.

Apply a thick layer of mastic using the smooth edge of your trowel, and then go back over the area with the ridged edge of the trowel.  This will ensure the tile has the best surface to adhere to.  Once applying the mastic, you will have roughly 20 minutes to apply the tile before it begins to dry.

Placing the Tile

Based on your original plan, begin placing the tile on the mastic. If your tile does not come with self spacing edges, you will need to use plastic spacing guides to ensure an even install.  Drawing vertical and horizonal line guides in advance will help you keep the tiles properly aligned.  Remember to leave enough space near the tub to accomodate for the calking.

Cutting Tile

It may be necessary to cut tiles in order to fit the space.  It is always best to place these cut tiles on the outside edges with the cut edge facing outward.  Having the right equipment is very important when cutting tiles.  Make sure to only use a tile cutter to cut tiles as anything else could damage the tiles causing the added expense of replacing them, and also increase the chance of injuries.

Grout: The Finishing Touch

Before you can begin grouting your tile, you should always let your newly installed tile set overnight.  This gives the mastic time to dry.  Once you have mixed your grout and are ready to begin, apply the grout diagonally across the tile with your trowel.  It is important to make sure you fill every joint and seam with grout.

When the grout is first applied it will look very messy as it is going to cover the surface of many of the tiles.  Leave the grout to dry for about 20 minutes and then wipe off the excess grout with a large damp sponge.  Once again, leave it to dry over night and use a dry cloth to wipe any remaining dust or grout from the face of the tiles.

Your tile job is now complete! Enjoy your new space and a job well done.

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Entry filed under: How-To, renovation, Tile. Tags: , , , , , .

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