I had the privilege this week to spend some time with my oldest son, Chris, tiling his tub surround. I taught Chris how to tile a year or so ago but I think he is now better at it than I am which makes me proud!
I helped him tile this bathroom floor a few weeks ago and then we both got busy with other things. Since then he managed to work on the walls, set in the toilet, and the vanity. The vanity required extra attention because the plumbing was in the wrong place. A drawer had to be removed and a shelf added. He installed the sink (twice) and the faucet (also twice) because of plumbing issues. The boy is more patient than I am, or at least he appears to be to me.
Tiling this tub surround was complicated by the fact the the bottom 6″ of the wall was not completely flat. The tiles did not sit flush against the wall. They rocked in places and the gap was big enough that the tile pattern was not going to work the way we originally thought it would. But, thankfully, there was a fix! We cut the bottom 12″ tiles in half, lengthwise. The non-flatness is not noticeable—yay!
I had to draw the tile pattern, and use a calculator. Chris was quicker and did more in his head but it was good that we checked each other before taking the tiles to Lowe’s to be cut.
The wider, back wall was pretty easy. The harder wall was the one with plumbing…
We were going to drill holes in the tile but it didn’t take long to figure out that, even with a tile bit, it would take hours. Instead we had the tile cut in such a way that we could set back in a little L-shaped piece. The holes themselves will be covered with plates that come with the plumbing fixtures.
We ran into ‘level’ issues on this wall. For some reason, even though everything was level, the horizontal grout lines that carried over from the back wall wanted to not line up. The spacers only worked in some places and in others the spacers weren’t big enough. We ended up using nails below the tiles in some places to keep them from drifting down. It’s stuff like this that makes tiling so much easier when you have two people… even if one person (me) was not doing any actual tiling.
Christopher is, today, cleaning out the mastic that oozed through the gaps. Then he’s going to grout it. I’m so glad I’m not involved in that job… I really do not like to grout. They should be using the shower by Saturday and I know that Lorna is extremely excited. And Chris is way happy too :-).