1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Tiling Shower/Tub Walls

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by thephotohound, Aug 6, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    I just installed a steel tub, put HardieBoard up, mudded the joints, and now I'm ready to tile. Here's my question: since the tub slopes, on each of the sidewalls, on the high side I am 1/8" off the tub with the Hardie Board (level)on one end, and around 1" on the other end. On the 1" end, I am 1/4" above the tub flange. Since I need my tile to be level as well, am I supposed to fill that whole 1" gap with silicone?!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,840
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    It's hard to picture what you're talking about without a picture. But my understanding is that when working with ceramic tile, grout should always be used in place of silicone or caulk.
  3. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    I realized after I posted that I should absolutely take a photo of it... I'll do that tonight...
  4. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    You shouldnt have anymore than 1/4" gap between the tiles and the tub. You will need to score the tiles and cut each of the first course of tiles so they are all level for the second course of tiles.

    PITA but that is the only way it will look right. I used a piece of masonite to hold the first course of tiles off the tub.
  5. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    What did you use for a backing for the tile? I can visibly see the top of the tub flange on the high side. I was thinking about mixing up a thick batch of thinset and using the masonite to hold the thinset off the tub, then tile, then pull the masonite out.
  6. nshif

    nshif New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    954
    Loc:
    Pioneer, Ca (near Lake Tahoe)
    Is the tub this far out of level? Is the floor that far off? If so Id say you have a foundation Problem that really needs attention.
  7. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    OK... here are the photos I promised... The tub is on a concrete slab... the floor is level. If anything, it's the tub (which is flush with the floor). I don't get it. What is the suggestion for how to tile this now?

    Attached Files:

  8. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    Photo 2

    Attached Files:

  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    54,908
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Put a level on that back tub ledge (the short side of the tub). If that is going downhill towards the corner, you have a serious problem. Water will puddle there and wick up into the hardiboard which has cellulose in it. The tub should be level back there or slightly sloped to the front of the tub. If the tub ledge is level all around perhaps it means the wall is crooked? In that case the bottom edge of the board should have been cut on a slope to stay parallel to the tub ledge. This can be corrected by cutting the backerboard up a foot or so and splicing in a new piece of board that is correctly cut. Mud the splice joint.
  10. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    I put a level on every angle. Yes, the floor does apparently pitch towards the back of the tub. I checked the slab on the other side of the bathjroom (adjoining room) and it pitches slightly in the other direction. However, there are no cracks in the slab itself. THe clue is that the water supply for the house is right next to the tub... I'm no plumber, but I assume that the concrete was poured to all pitch towards the well pump/hole in the ground for the water supply in case of a flooding issue. Either way, I know 1. my foundation is solid and 2. there's nothing I can do about the pitch. Although the floor does indeed pitch towards the back of the tub, the pitch back to the drain is even more steep. I poured water to the back of the tub, and it all drained correctly. All of the walls are perfectly plumb.

    Regardless, back to the problem at hand: how and if to tile right to the tub on the sections that are not plumb. Although not ideal, what's wrong with slipping galvanized flashing behind the gap, between the tub flange and the back of the hardieboard, then just apply a lot of white silicone? If I tile it, will it not look odd (I guess the silicone would too!) and out of plumb? Would the silicone or the odd tiles look worse?
  11. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    Thats not as bad as I thought.
    Put that piece of flashing on there and tile over the whole thing.
    That first course of tiles is going to be a BEAR though, you will probably have to cut many of them so the second course of tile will be level.

    Water WILL pool up in that spot though, is it too late to take the tub back out?
    When I installed our jacuzzi I built a damn all the way around the tub and put a thin layer of floor leveling concrete in there and then settled the tub in that so it was sitting the way I wanted it to.
  12. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    Yes, it's too late to take the tub back out... I nailed the flange in place w/ gal roofing nails, so even if I could get under it to shim it up, it's not going to go anywhere. Tonight, I think I'll run a lot of water into the tub and watch. If it's bad, I'll reconsider. If it's not, I'll be cutting till the cows come home, but like you said, it will look right. I do have a tile saw at my disposal, so that helps...
  13. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    Pick the lowest point of you pan, use a level.

    Draw a line, using the level, across the top of your first course, from the lowest point. Allow a 1/8" gap at the bottom of the tile to the shower pan. Maintain a 1/8 gap, and cut all tile to maintain the gap.

    Before you lay tile, pick the outermost edge of where you want the tile to end. You need to identify the widest part of where you want tile (your doing the same thing, but working vertically). This line must be plumb! Lay your tile from outside to inside, and cut all tile that meet in the corner to maintain your gap.

    It makes no difference on how your backerboard is installed (you know what I mean), whats important is that you maintain a plumb and level grid to lay your tile. Make sure you do not end up with little slivers of tile in the corners. This is why you start with a full tile in the corners, and cut the rest to fit.

    Read it a couple of times, it may make sense!
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,840
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Thanks, Sandor. I'm going to be doing a bathroom floor in a couple of weeks and I appreciate the guidance.
  15. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Well for some of us with old homes Level (and square) is out of the question......
    So this begs the Question how much out of level is actually noticable by the human eye....An inch.... that's pushing it...
    When I did my tiling last fall I didn't even think about it but YOU need to think about the focal point...
    would I rather see the tiles grdually move out of level (from the tub) 1/4 inch or would I rather see a 1 inch gap between the tiles and the tub?
  16. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Here is a quick pic of the tile project.
    EDIT (the pic is a bit crooked but you get the idea)

    Just some advice use that new microban grout it's awesome.... no mold/ mildew etc.
    But you have maybe 1/2 an hour to work it in before it is nearly impossible to spread, but long term............It's worth it..

    Attached Files:

  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    54,908
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    GVA, that looks really nice!

    It's always possible when doing a fresh install to level the tub, regardless of old house floors. And it is sooo much easier to start with a level line for the bottom tile, that it's worth doing what's necessary to get a good start.
  18. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Central Massachusetts
    GVA -

    Great pic... nice job!

    FIrst of all, I poured a few gallons of water in, and it drained fine - no puddles (phew)

    Next, I tried cutting a tapered piece of HardieBoard to match in, but it was so thin that it (the piece) started to break apart. That didn't work... then I started thinking... we're just talking about an inch here... I'm setting 6x6 tiles... I filled the gap with silicone to make it watertight, and I will simply tile over it. We're only talking about an inch at the worst point, and it tapers fast.

    I'm going to cut all of the tiles around to make it uniform, and voila - a "not-so-perfect-but-not-so-bad" tiling job. I will post pics when I'm done.. Thanks again for all of the help!
  19. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    Pretty work!

    I must have got a "bad" lot of that MICROBAN

    About a year and it looks like any other grout
  20. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Did you get the stuff in the bucket with the 2 pouches that need to be mixed (like epoxy) or the single bottle stuff (kinda watery)that gets added to the grout?
    I used the stuff in the buckets it's like a kit complete with sponge and I used about 7 kits only because it dries so quick.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page