Now that my "fire barrier" (see older post) issue has been solved, (thanks to everyone who replied, it's amazing how fast and knowledgeable you are!), I have a few more questions about re-tiling the walls and replacing the tub.
1. We are planning on using a steel tub. The only negative I have read about these is that the enamel finish on them chips easily. Have any of you used/or currently have this type of tub?
2. Currently there is no insulation in the walls behind our tub. Our bathroom backs into our kitchen. Do you recommend putting in insulation? I assume the major reason for having insulation in the bathroom is to minimize noise, or are there other more important reasons for having it?
3. We are planning on using Dens-Shield (based on the posts I've read here, it seems to be a good choice). When it comes to filling in the seams most say to use fiberglass tape and then thinset. By "thinset" I assume you mean thinset mortar. Mortar is later used to set the tile, right? So, do we put up the Dens-shield, tape it, apply a little bit of thinset mortar over the tape, then when we are ready to tile, we apply mortar to the wall as needed? This would essentially leave us with two coats of thinset over the seams. Or do we just tape over the seams and then when we tile, the mortar will go over the tape?
4. According to other posts Dens-Shield (or whatever backing you are using) should go to about 1/8 of an inch above the top of the tub, then the tile hangs a little lower leaving 1/16 of an inch gap. I assume the 1/16 crack that is left it filled with caulk. This is more of a "I just want to know why" question, by why would you not bring the Dens-Shield all the way down to the top of the tub?
5. Planning on buying a hand saw to cut tiles. Is this a big mistake that will cause us more headaches in the end? Should we just go for a wet saw? We will be using basic 4x4 tile.
6. A rep at home depot told us a trick about laying the tile, however I have not read about this anywhere else, so want to make sure this is actually what you are supposed to do. He said when you are placing the tile on the wall, to place it at a slight angle and then twist it into place. Essentially I think this smears the mortar onto the tile. Does this sound like good practice?
I'm sure I will think of some more questions as I read and think more about this project. We are taking pictures of the progress and I promise to post them up when the project is complete. Hopefully it will help out someone else with the same project.