tiling the inside of my bathtub [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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11-10-2010, 01:58 PM
I have a hideous green bathtub straight from the 70's. I thought about replacing it or refinishing it, but then I had another thought.

If I was determined to tile the cast iron, porcelain covered tub w/ mosaic glass tile on the inside and the top, what would be the best adhesive to use? A heavily modified thinset or epoxy? Something else? Should I use epoxy grout after thinsetting?

Also, I want to use 12 inch porcelain tiles on the outside of the tub to match my floor tile, but the outside of the tub is contoured from flat at the base to about 1/2 inch narrower in the center. Could I fill up the difference with thinset? I do plan to rough up the porcelain finish w/ sandpaper before I start.

BTW this is the glass I was planning to use. http://www.flooranddecoroutlets.com/s13107036.html


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11-10-2010, 04:37 PM
Kevin, tiling cast iron will be a challenge, even with the best thinset or epoxy. Add to this your desire to use glass tiles, and I think your artistic instincts will be frustrated. Cast iron and glass expand at greatly different rates, so every time you fill the tub for a long hot soak, you will be breaking the bond between the tub and tile. Even if it sticks, you have the problem with mounting the overflow and drain (or merging the tile with them and making it look like something other that a Cub Scout* craft project).

Do yourself a favor and find a new steel tub, then get a sledge hammer and wail the tar out of that green monster and send it to the re-cycling yard.

*Apologies in advance to any Cub Scouts out there.

11-10-2010, 05:50 PM
I really have nothing to lose, except my time (I enjoys these sorts of projects), and the materials involved. So would marble mosaics be a better choice than glass? I don't anticipate the drain or overflow being a problem.

Put it this way: *for the pros* If a customer wanted exactly what I suggested, and paid you well, how would you do it. (I know you wouldn't warantee your work.)

11-11-2010, 07:37 AM
Bump for epoxy or thinset suggestions.

11-11-2010, 08:10 AM
If a customer wanted exactly what I suggested, and paid you well, how would you do it.

Most of the pro's round here wouldnt do.

11-11-2010, 08:44 AM
Latapoxy 300 looks like some good stuff- anyone used it before? Does it look like it might work for my application?

11-11-2010, 08:51 AM
well, here's there take on metal pools and fountains, albeit not porcelain glazed cast iron.

any they sure do have alot of concerns about thermal expansion/contaction. and that's not hot bathtub water going onto cast iron... repetitively.......if it's even cast iron? many steel tubs would probably have excess deformation just from body weight


11-11-2010, 10:03 AM

It is definitely cast iron- what I'm not getting is that cast iron is extremely brittle, and non-malleable compared to other metals- and it is coated with porcelain. If it expands and contracts so much, why does it not crack the cast iron or the porcelain finish?

11-11-2010, 10:29 AM
all common materials expand and contract, Cast iron maybe 30 percent less so than stainless but it still does. That said there are plenty of epoxies that will stick to it. The question is engineering a group of products that will work as a system. Most Glass manufacturders do not allow you to use epoxy becuae the glass will fracture as it expands diffrently than the substarte.

You could very well find products that would work together without an issue. Just highly unlikely anyone in the tile industry will stand behind them. You're on your own. Probably surprise you how long it lasts if done carefully,and products chosen wisely but no reputable person can instal like that.

There's just an uncertain amount of hoping and guessing in your project

11-11-2010, 12:52 PM
If I was going to do what you are proposing, I would lean towards Laticrete 254 Platinum. We have used glass tile in hot tubs without any problems of the glass breaking or shattering. They were not porcelain or fiberglass hot tubs but they did get hot.

For grout, I would use Permacolor or even just a standard grout.

I think you would be fine, I would just make sure you prep the surface well and I guess the best way to do that would be to rough up the porcelain followed by a good cleaning of TSP or something. You just don't want to take all the porcelain off you you may end up with a rust problem.

The other way would be to take it all the way down, apply Hydroban and then tile. Of course nobody is go to honor these methods but I have seen some things in this trade that I didn't think would work actually work well or perform as well as one could expect.

11-11-2010, 01:41 PM

Any particular reason you would use 254 Platinum rather than epoxy?

Thinset and regular grout would be alot easier (and cheaper) than epoxy adhesive and epoxy grout.

11-11-2010, 01:52 PM
Main reason, workability. Epoxy is not the easiest to work with. Now put into the mix what you are working with, small glass tiles. It is a recipe for disaster. When you combine the complexities of both, you might not be able to harness all of the qualities the epoxy offers. Plus, Laticrete 254 Platinum is nothing to snub your nose at. Read the specs on it.

I would suggest to email Henry at Laticrete and tell him about your project and the concerns you have been told including mine and workability. Explain you hold him harmless and see what he says. He might respond and he might not for legal reasons or just flat out time but he has always made time for me.

11-11-2010, 02:18 PM
I can reality see you want to do this.

I'd recommend - don't do this. Smash the tub to bits and haul it off. The if you need to tile a tub do a mud tub with kerdi or get a wedi tub (http://us.wedi.de/dcadmin/dc_media/downloads/us/5448_wedi_MA_Sanbath_Wave_Wanne_3sprachig.pdf).

Lots of people want to put tile right over their front lawn, but it just doesn't make sense to do something that's gonna fail. .02

11-11-2010, 03:29 PM
as mentioned I would not do this but if a homeowner was set on wasting there time, energy, $$, and risk of possible injury. Then I believe the best chance to adhere material would be to use Hydroment's Ultra Set. This comes in a sausage tube or pail. NOT powder in bag. I've used it on cruise ships when we had to bond to the steel. Then use say Perma Color grout by Laticrete. I would recomend the Spectra-Lock but not sure how would react good with the movement. may rip tiles in half. And it would be a good idea with a nice resporator on to sand the cast surface a little to help bond.

This all sounds like loads of fun. But my best guess is that even under the best of circumstances this will at sometime fail. I would NEVER do this for someone else. far to many liabilities in that. But some people are just determined to have certain things in their homes and if so well Good Luck.