in my case. i had already replaced the HWH, and put a pan and drain under it. but on the old tile. i wasn't about to take it back out. so i just cut the tiles so they slid under the pan,but not the hwh. looked just fine.I'd never suggest just tiling around it, that would ceate a low area for water to just pool up if it ever leaked and not be the best look.
When you put it back in service leave the relief valve flipped to purge air while filling. You'll be glad you did.Well I feel like a bonehead... Flipped the relief valve at the top and its draining fine now. I thought the water would gush out of the pipe attached to the relief valve not the spigot at the bottom. That should make moving it 10 feet much easier. THANKS!