The tile project began following the plumbing and sheet rock, which was in April 2000. We also had the floor installed so that the tile could be finished against it. We built the framework for the tub deck of plywood and covered with a product called Dens Shield. This is a gypsum based product with a fiberglass face. The gypsum is treated to resist moisture and all the seams are taped with a mortar based product. The image below shows the completed shell ready for tile. The new vinyl floor is covered with what is called red rosin paper. This will protect the floor until the tile is completed.
We had coated the entire deck with the mortar product and used this "rub stone" to knock off the crumbs and high spots.
Laying out the tile was as big a job as actually applying it. This deck was constructed to fit the tubs instructions so the tile needed to be cut for height along the vertical surface. We also designed it with a 45 degree front surface so the two outside corners needed special attention as well. We began setting tile on this 45 degree surface, centering the tile side to side. This allowed a cut on each side to fit the corners. The other side of the corners are finished with a bull nose edge tile. If we had it to do over we would have not used the bull nose since fitting it was a bit of a trick. The image below shows the front tile glued in place and the lay-out begun on the top.
Laying out the top took a great deal study. We did not have the tile when we built the deck or we could have made some minor adjustments to reduce the problems with the tile. The first step was to lay a course of bull nose tile along all three edges. This required making two miter joints in the tile. This was the toughest part of this row. Then we added a mauve feature stripe between tile.
We had purchased these for another project but they sure came in handy here. We needed to add an additional half inch somewhere and we didn't want to try to cut a half inch strip of tile since this would not have looked very good. These half inch strips have a slight crown on top and worked out great.
Once the top surface was complete we made quick work of applying the two row back splash. Luckily we had been very accurate in building the deck and applying the tile so no trimming was necessary on this application. The image below shows the completed project.
It took us about a day and a half to complete the tile in this bathroom. We were aided in this project with a rental center tile saw. This piece of equipment is equipped with a diamond surfaced blade that is sprayed with water while cutting takes place. The black table shown below rides on rollers guiding the tile below the blade for accurate cutting. We were able to shave as little as 1/32" off a tile for very accurate fits. This saw made it possible to make nearly 100 cuts with no broken or chipped tiles, well worth the $50 a day price tag.
After the tile sets for a few days we will grout it and then it will be time to set the tub.