How To Make Tiled Shelf On Front Of Bathtub - Kitchen & Bath Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:43 AM   #1
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How to make tiled shelf on front of bathtub


Hi, I want to make the changes in the before/after image attached here, but not sure how best to go about it. I need the tiling on the front of the tub to be flush with the left-hand wall, and would want the shelf along the front edge to be sturdy enough to support a person's weight. Would this be a fairly easy project? I'm new to DIY... Much better at building things digitally!
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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Build a "wall" out of 2x4's, with the vertical pieces spaced to hold the weight. I'd guess 12 inches, but you'd have to look that up. You want it the correct thickness so that

Wall thickness + backer board + thin set + tile = the depth of the alcove

Then the tile will be flush with the wall at the end. Make sure you use waterproof membrane so that the little wall is protected if the tub overflows. If the studs swell from water penetration, your tiles will pop off.
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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Thanks! Is there a particular type/brand or backer board you would recommend for vertically laid tiles? Also, would I need to remove the gyprock at either end so that the frame is screwed securely against the wall studs, or will it be strong enough with the sheet of gyprock between? Also, if I understand correctly, the order of layers would be: bathtub, framework, backer board, thin set, tile... correct? Would you need anything on top of the frame or would the 2x4 framework be strong enough to support any weight on the shelf/ledge?
Much appreciated!
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:47 PM   #4
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I built one just like Michelle described---almost 20 years ago---

Never failed as long as the folks owned the house---I believe the framing was 2x3 in that case---

You want 1/2" cement backer board. I prefer Durrock but Hardi Backer would also work.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:15 PM   #5
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Is the pic your actual tub, or is it just a pic you pulled off of the internet to use as an example?

Before you start, I would recommend making sure the tile is still available.

What is across the top edge of the tile? If it is anything other than caulk, you will either have to find more, or replace it as well.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:04 PM   #6
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Mind if I ask why you want to do this? Might affect answers...
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Mind if I ask why you want to do this? Might affect answers...
I was wondering the same thing. To get in and out safely you would pretty much have to sit on the edge and swing your legs over. Otherwise it could be awkward or even dangerous. If you have a separate shower and only use this for an occasional soak it wouldn't be a big deal. But if this is a shower/tub combo and you normally shower, I would really think twice about having to crawl over that every day.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:00 AM   #8
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If this is an existing tub, one already installed, then it's going to be a challenge to seal it. Most tubs intended for that look are designed already to mount ON a deck. Trying to mate up to a tub that has it's own apron is not going to work effectively. Take out the apron and you potentially run into structural issues for supporting that side of the tub.

That and trying to convert it into a shower will bring an even bigger set of problems. It's one thing to have a soaking tub set with only a short course of tiles, even on drywall. There's not "supposed to be" a lot of water splashing against them. But try and convert that into a shower and you really start to have problems with water getting back there and destroying the drywall.

From that picture, showing that tub with hardware already on it's desk, I get the feeling someone's thinking of mounting a shower door on it.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:38 PM   #9
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To answer your questions:

Actual tub? Yes, that is my actual tub. The second image is a mock-up I did in Photoshop. The attached image should give you a better understanding of the space. I want something similar to what is in the second attached image (though, obviously only on one side).

Why? To improve the look of the bathroom and turn the bath into a feature of the room. Aligning it with the left-side wall will mean there are fewer weird angles and alcoves in what is an irregular-shaped bathroom.

Shower? No, the shower is on the other side of the wall at left. This is an under-stairs tub and will never be converted into a shower.

The ledge would measure 4.5" from the bath's outer wall to the front edge.

This is a new-build condo. The tiles are still available.

Bill, I wouldn't be altering the tub itself, just adding in the shelf and tiling in front. If it is tiled and caulked well, wouldn't that be enough?
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QCKiwi View Post
To answer your questions:

Actual tub? Yes, that is my actual tub. The second image is a mock-up I did in Photoshop. The attached image should give you a better understanding of the space. I want something similar to what is in the second attached image (though, obviously only on one side).

Why? To improve the look of the bathroom and turn the bath into a feature of the room. Aligning it with the left-side wall will mean there are fewer weird angles and alcoves in what is an irregular-shaped bathroom.

Shower? No, the shower is on the other side of the wall at left. This is an under-stairs tub and will never be converted into a shower.

The ledge would measure 4.5" from the bath's outer wall to the front edge.

This is a new-build condo. The tiles are still available.

Bill, I wouldn't be altering the tub itself, just adding in the shelf and tiling in front. If it is tiled and caulked well, wouldn't that be enough?
QC,
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your plan. It is very do-able. Just do it and don't listen to any of the negative crap you get.

Post #2 gives some information and is a good start. Just be sure to use 1/2" cement board. Caulk the improvements to the tub at each phase. You'll be fine.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:03 PM   #11
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Thanks Bud! Yeah, #2 and #4 have inspire me with confidence (and you too!)
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:17 PM   #12
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Just so happens your tub does make this do-able. Not all tubs can be boxed-in in that fashion.

The proper tub for such an arrangement would be a drop-in tub suitable for use with a deck arrangement such as you are wanting to do.

But yours isn't really a deck - it will just look like one.

As long as no shower is planned then you are good to go.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:23 PM   #13
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I like it. Should look good once it's done. Just remember, when building everything and you screw something up, there isn't an "undo" button like on the computer!
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:31 PM   #14
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Haha! Yeah, thanks for the reminder! I should be good to secure the frame to the wall studs through the gyprock at either end, right?
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QCKiwi View Post
Haha! Yeah, thanks for the reminder! I should be good to secure the frame to the wall studs through the gyprock at either end, right?
There should be studs in that area to screw into, but if not, just make it a snug fit, slide it in with some construction adhesive, pin it with a few screws whether the screws draw up or not, and call it good. Tomorrow it will be fine.
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