First time tiler.. how is my gameplan here? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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04-08-2006, 07:15 PM
I have gutted my bathroom down to the studs. I have installed my tub. See attached picture.
Two of the walls but against other interior walls. The third wall (see window) is an exterior wall which I have insulated with kraft faced R13.
I am ready to tile above the tub. Can you let me know if my gameplan here to start looks OK? I've bolded my questions to hopefully make things easier..

1) Install 1/2" cbu using 1 1/4" hardibacker screws Would 1 5/8" screws be better? I bought both. Should I glue and screw or just screw? I have Liquid Nails if needed.

2) Attach fiberglass joint tape ("designed for cbu" the wrapper says.. not the drywall stuff) over the seams (but not the corners) and cover with thinset. Can joint compound be used? I have both. I know to use a 1/8" or 1/4" gap where back and side cbu wall pieces come together. How big a gap? and can/should I fill this gap with silicone?

3) Make a tile stick and determine ideal tile (I'm using 10x8 tiles, 2x8 decorative pieces, and 2x8 bullnose pieces) vertical and horizontal layout. Draw out the layout lines on the cbu. I have figured out the vertical layout but the horizontal (60" wide) will be made up of seven 8" (actually 7 13/16")wide tiles plus 1/4" grout lines. If I center everything, I am left over with a 1 3/4 tile on each end. (I have layed the actual tiles and spacers out on my kitchen floor already.) I am assuming I would want to just move everything over and put a single 3 1/2 tile on one end instead of having a 1 3/4 on each end. Agree?

4) Mix versabond thinset in a 5 gallon bucket and begin tiling using a 1/4" trowel and 1/4" spacers. Would 1/4" or 1/8" grout lines be better/easier?

Does this sound good so far? If you see anything wrong or missing, can you please let me know? I plan on starting the tiling tomorrow. When I get to step 4, I'll probably have a few more questions.

Thanks in advance!

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04-08-2006, 07:54 PM
Hi lith,

Hopefully the pros will be coming around to offer their advice. Here's what I can tell you...

Edit - One question first - is this a separate shower or are you tiling the walls around the tub you just installed?

1. 1/2" CBU I'm assuming is for the tub surround walls. No problem there. You want to make sure you have a vapor barrier in place, either roofing felt or 6mil poly would work fine. No need for the liquid nails. Use the longer scres since you've got them.

2. Make sure that is an alkali-resistant fiberglass specifically made for CBU. It is not regular drywall fiberglass tape. No to the joint compund. Yes to the thinset, you can skim the thinset over the tape just before you set the tiles.

3. Layout is really important but I'm not the best at explaining how you should do that.

4. Versabond is good stuff. Don't mix more than you can reasonably use in 30 minutes. Better to start with small batches until you get the feel for it.


04-08-2006, 09:48 PM
Instead of centering a tile, center a grout line. Then you will have 6 8" tiles and two about 6 inch on both ends. This takes a little more tile but the appearance is much better than either of the other two options.

04-08-2006, 10:13 PM
As a first timer myself here are a couple of suggestions - you need the vapor barrier and it needs to go up and down and not from side to side - half inch is ok if obviously the rest of your sheetrock is going to be 1/2 inch. I used a drill bit to make small countersink marks for the screw heads to go into as tiling over a raised screw is a recipe for trouble. Mark on the ceiling where the studs are so that you know where to screw into for grab rails shower bars etc afterwards. Also be aware where any piping is in the wall so you dont screw into that. For my shower the smaller spacers looked good. Take time to mark level lines up and down and side to side to ensure tiles are level. Dont freak out if there are tiny discrepances as the wonder of grout will mask a lot of that. Dont drink too much wine when tiling as when you check it the next day you might find a couple of tiles 'wonky' for some reason and you will have to take them off.....'course that never happened to me :crazy:

Here is what my first shower remodel came out like (I have to go over it one last time to clean off haze after grouting this evening) with some patience and a lot of advice from the good folk here on this forum!!!! (


04-08-2006, 10:15 PM
PS - there was some discussion regarding grouting vs caulking the corners...I started caulking and it looked horrible - had to remove the caulk and went over it again with the grout and it looked a lot better.


04-09-2006, 12:33 AM
1. Install the vapor barrier behind the CBU. Install it in horizontal rows starting at the bottom, and overlapping the seams by at least 2".

2. You want to tape and mud the corners, as well as the seams. Use thinset, not drywall mud. The easiest way to do it is to apply the tape first, and apply the thinset as you tile. That way you don't have to worry about creating raised "speedbumps" at the seams that will make it more difficult to make the tile lay flat.

3. Do as Skeeter suggested. Take your original layout and shift it horizontally by one-half tile. You will have 1/2 tile plus 1 3/4" pieces at each end.

4. Grout width is a matter of personal preference as long as the tiles are all exactly the same size. I would probably go with 3/16" or 1/8" for your tile size.

04-09-2006, 12:44 AM
Jeff the project is done. :shades:

04-09-2006, 01:12 AM
Since 9:15 PM yesterday?

04-09-2006, 06:29 AM
muskymike, I'm sure you're not talking about my project! :laugh2:

Thanks for all the great responses.. based on the answers here is my updated plan along with any unanswered questions in bold. again, let me know if anything sticks out.

1) Install 6 ply barrier hozizontally and overlapping 2" each piece behind the cbu. Install 1/2" cbu using 1 5/8" screws. Should I glue and screw or just screw? I have Liquid Nails if needed.

2) Attach fiberglass joint tape over the seams and corners and cover with thinset as I am tiling. Leave a 1/8" or 1/4" gap where back and side cbu wall pieces come together. I know I'll fill these gaps with grout ONCE I'm done tiling, but before tile goes up and it's just the cbu, can/should these corners be filled with silicone?

3) Make a tile stick and determine ideal tile. Tiles are 8" (actually 7 13/16")wide tiles plus 1/4" grout lines. For my 60" wide horizontal, line up 6 8" tiles and use approx 5" tiles on each end. That was a great suggestion Mosquito.

4) Mix versabond thinset in a 5 gallon bucket and begin tiling using a 1/4" trowel and 1/4" spacers. Any other thoughts on the grout size? JDM mentioned 1/8 or 3/16 may be better but is this a big deal? I figure there's only a 1/16 difference between 3/16 and my 1/4. I already bought and opened the 1/4" but I'll do whatever is suggested here if you feel it will make a big difference. What is easier to grout? Bigger?

Thanks everyone. Your answers are extremely helpful to a newbie.

04-09-2006, 06:47 AM
#1 No glue.
#2 I don't think so
#4 Bigger joint size may be easier to fill, but its also easier to accidentally wipe out too much grout in the cleaning process. It also depends on your tile and the look you are trying to achieve. IMHO, smaller joints look better with smoother more formal tile. Wider joints look better with rustic, rougher, or less formal tile.

04-09-2006, 08:18 AM
Tape and mud the corners, unless this is going to be a steam shower. If it's a steam shower, use silicone caulk in the corners.