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kbunn 10-20-2010 10:25 PM

gap between shower tile walls and tub
I'm replacing the tile on the walls surrounding my tub. Despite careful measuring, laying out a grid, using a batton, etc., the last row of tiles don't butt up to the edge of the tub. I must have made a measurement error somewhere ... there's about a 1" gap between the bottom row of tiles and the tub lip.

I'm using 6x6 inch tiles. I'm thinking I should get larger tiles and cut them down to be 6" by 6 7/8" in order to leave a 1/8" gap between the bottom of the tile and the tub.

Another option might be to place a row of small glass decorative tiles (there is a row of these higher up on the wall) to fill the 1" gap. I could place them above the bottom row of tiles. Might look a little wierd, but it might work.

Any thoughts? What about the cut edges of the larger tile? Will that look okay after grout?

My first tile job ... and I thought I was being sooo careful :(

Ron6519 10-21-2010 09:44 AM

I always attach a straight edge to the walls one row up from the tub. If I'm using a 6" tile, I'll attach it about 5 1/2" up from the tub. This way I can cut the tiles for the gap I want. Tubs can have a variance in height, based on design.
Take a picture of the installation. Small tiles in a suseptible area wouldn't be my choice of a solution.
What substrate did you use and how far above the tub was it installed?

kbunn 10-21-2010 10:54 AM

gap between shower tile walls and tub
2 Attachment(s)
Thanks Ron.

I installed Hardibacker and vapor barrier according to Home Depot guy's advice - sitting at the lip of the tub, which left a small gap between the bottom of the board and the actual edge of the tub. I caulked that gap with silicone before beginning the tile install. Seemed to work perfectly - totally enclosed with no gaps, bulges, overlaps, etc. (also used mold resistant tape and thinset on all other seams and screws).

I took out another row of tiles along the bottom (so now there is about a 13" space between the last row of tiles and the edge of the tub. I'm going to put in a row of decorative tile (I used it higher up on the wall) and then finish off the last two rows of tile. The decorative row is 2" wide, so I'll have to cut off about an inch from the last row of tiles to make them fit, but I think it will look ok.

I was thinking of including a soap dish at this level as well. Might make the decorative row look more 'planned' since it would align with the dish. Any thoughts on that?

I'll try to attach photos.


jlhaslip 10-21-2010 10:59 AM

The row of decorative tiles will look fine at that height, IMHO.

Good catch!

Ron6519 10-21-2010 11:37 AM

No one will even know there was an oversight.
Sometimes things work out without too much angst.

Jim F 10-21-2010 06:22 PM

It looks like you cut your left and right edge tiles to fit the edges. I'm wondering why you didn't do the same for the bottom row by the tub and the top row too. This is done to account for the fact that the tub is almost always slightly off level.

wnabcptrNH 10-21-2010 06:45 PM

Umm why did you work the top down?

Jim F 10-21-2010 09:31 PM

It looks like he started at the center and built up then has removed most of that ledge board except on the plumbing wall and built down from there usind the masking tape to support the tiles. That is a method I have read about on line so it must be pretty common. It looked like a lot of work taping all those tiles in place so I started closer to the bottom.

kbunn 10-21-2010 09:55 PM

gap between shower tile walls and tub
Starting in the center is a technique I read about and saw in how to videos (specifically, a Home Depot how to video and their guide book). I think it's supposed to ensure everything is centered. If I ever tile a wall again, I would start closer to the bottom and just use a grid to make sure the tiles are centered.

Jim, I did cut the left and right edges. I didn't realize there would be a 'gap' along the bottom row until I had set all the tiles above it (since I started in the middle, worked up, and then worked down). I couldn't find a large enough tile to cut for the bottom row (needed larger than 6x6).

But I think my solution to include the extra row of the thin decorative tile two rows up form the bottom and then cut the bottom row of 6x6's to fit up against the tub will work. I should only have to cut about 1/2 - 3/4" off in order to get them to fit (with the 1/8" recommended gap). So I think it should look ok.

By the way, I'm a 'she', not a 'he' :wink:

Thanks for you replies.

Bud Cline 10-21-2010 09:55 PM

You could also use matching bullnose (2" X 6"). Place them on the surface of the bottom row of tile to bridge the gap at the bottom and meet the tub. This will give you a great finished look and solve your problem.:)

kbunn 10-21-2010 10:02 PM

gap between shower tile walls and tub
Thanks Bud. Considered quarter round (read that somewhere online) but didn't think about trying bull nose.

A good lesson learned for me anyway.

On another note, now that I will have two rows of decorative glass tile to grout, any suggestions on methods for grouting those? I'm a little worried about getting the grout between those small tiles without making a mess of it.

Thanks in advance.


jlhaslip 10-21-2010 10:40 PM


I'm a little worried about getting the grout between those small tiles without making a mess of it.
Never done a grout job that didn't get a bit messy at moments... just saying...


Ron6519 10-22-2010 06:27 AM

As this is your first tile job, check out you tube for a few grouting videos. I don't know if the John Bridges website has any you could look at.
You'll need a grout float, a big sponge, some terry cloth rags and a large bucket.
You won't grout the corners, where the tile hits the ceiling or tub. Those will get silicone(100%) caulked. If you grout them, they will crack.

Bud Cline 10-22-2010 07:56 AM

The grouting is the easy part, you'll be fine. Take your time, don't panic.:)

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