Nate's Bathroom Tile Project [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Nate R
02-28-2008, 02:51 AM
My head is spinning. I've been over on Terry Love's site for the past year or so. Tried to read up here on vapor barriers, but ended up just getting lost. Retarders, moisture barriers instead of vapor, etc.

I've installed our new fiberglass tub on a mortar bed in the new alcove opening framed on new floors that are sistered with new LVL joists that are also supported by a new LVL beam. It's been a LOT of work just to get to this point. Nevermind moving a window location and installing a new window in the bathroom. I've finished the DWV system and am working on the supply plumbing. A bit backwards, I know. But it was easiest to locate DWV stuff etc w/ the tub already in place for me this time.

According to the deflecto calculator, I've gone from ~L60 at the worst of the floor (2 of my 2"X6" joists had an 19+foot span!) to over L600! Of course that assumes my beam doesn't deflect, which of course it has to by laws of physics. But nonetheless, the current deflection will be MORE than adequate for the sheet vinyl floor.

Anyway, before I can set the tub faucet in place, I need to know the thickness of my wall finish. Before I did that, I figured I'd check here to make sure my wall stackup is correct.

32X60" Tub/Shower. 7' ceiling. Plan is to tile w/ white 6" bath tile up to the ceiling.

The sides of the alcove are interior walls. The long side of the alcove is an exterior wall. That wall has fiberglass insulation in it, currently faced insulation. I plan on cutting LARGE slits and many of them into the kraft facing in the tub area so as not to form 2 barriers.

So, over the studs, should I put up 6 mil poly or Tar paper? And that layer should overlap the tub flange so any water will drip into the tub?
After that layer, can I then put on 1/2" Durock, and use thinset and the special fiberglass mesh to join the seams? Then use thinset to set tile on the Durock?

And the Durock hangs OVER the tub flange, but sits above the rim 1/8"? Does it need to be seperated from the flange to prevent wicking?
So I need to shim it out a bit to keep the wall vertical?

Does this sound like a proper setup?


-Nate R

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02-28-2008, 02:56 AM
Using felt or plastic as you describe, I would stop the backer 1/8" ABOVE the flange and avoid having to shim out my walls.

Nate R
02-28-2008, 11:07 AM
Ah, OK. Much easier. And do you then just hang the last tile over the flange to nearly meet the tub rim?

02-28-2008, 11:52 AM
Hi Nate
What I do is put a nail in a coupe of the studs right at the top of the tub flange and let the backer rest on those while I fasten it. Then you can bring the tile right down close to the tub deck.
Good Luck

Nate R
03-05-2008, 02:05 AM
Does John's book cover tiling around windows, or using tile as window casing/sills in a bathroom? (I already ordered it regardless, just hoping it will cover this detail)

Either way, here's my situation: remodeling bathroom completely. My wife wanted a window in the bathroom to replace the old one. The only exterior wall is about 6.5 feet long. Tub is on that wall, so window had to be in the tub/shower area. As per her request, the new window is basically centered in the tub.

The tub is in, drain plumbing is in. Working on supply plumbing. Framing is done around the tub and insulation is in place. That's where I am right now.

The tub alcove will be tiled from the flange to the ceiling w/ 6" sqare white tiles. (only 7 ft ceiling)

Image Attached, since I apparently can't embed it or a link to it in the post?

If you were me, how would you tile this window opening?
I'm considering using White PVC trim to make a sill for the bottom, but not sure the best way to finish off the sides and to waterproof. How would doing this differ from a niche?

2nd question:
Who else sells/makes premade niches? I've seen Recess-it, Duk Liners and Noble Niche. Anyone else? Anyone make any deeper ones? Just want to look at ALL my options before I buy one.

03-05-2008, 05:36 AM
Prospec (formerly Bonsal) makes niches. They are preformed to fit into a standard 2 x 4 wall. Heres a link to their catalog of products...
Hope this helps.

jim mclaughlin
03-05-2008, 06:35 AM
I would use laticrete hydroban around window to waterproof. I would have a corian piece fabricated for the sill that can be sloped for pitch.

FinPan makes waterproof niches in a variety of sizes.

03-05-2008, 08:20 AM
Welcome, Nate. :)

Please don't start new threads with each new question. Bookmark this one and use it for all the project questions so folks who wanna help can see the history of what you're doing and what's been asked and answered. We can change the title to something more generic at any time if you like.

That's a vinyl-frame window, yes?

You can treat a window much like a niche without a back as you suggest. If you're using CBU for your walls, you run that into the window opening and then waterproof it all with a liquid-applied membrane of some kind. You must slope the sill portion to the drain as Jim suggests.

All the pre-formed niches I've seen are made to fit 2x4 wall framing. If you want one deeper than that, I think you'll need to make your own, which allows you a lot more flexibility in size and shape anyway.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Nate R
03-05-2008, 10:14 AM
Yes, it's a single-hung vinyl window.

So, I'm assuming the best thing to do where the CBU actually meets the window is to just caulk the joint behind the tile w/ silicone?

Thanks for the tip about threads, etc. Actually a really good idea to keep them together.

I appreciate the info!

jim mclaughlin
03-05-2008, 11:21 AM
hydro ban should "stick" to vinyl window. won't hurt to caulk prior hydroban.

Nate R
03-07-2008, 02:02 AM
Where can I buy a ProSpec Niche? I can't find anything online, but maybe I'm missing somewhere?

03-07-2008, 07:48 AM
dont know about prospec
but i used one from CTS in chorlotte nc
or proform
PO Box 473034
Charlotte, NC 28247

Office: 704.957.8594

Fax: 704.542.0398


Nate R
09-28-2008, 10:18 PM
Per above, we ended up getting 4 of the Recess-it 614 niches.

OK, new questions on this project I'm finally getting back to. Been a hectic year. :twitch:

My new tub (3rd one now. :uhh:) is in. Gotta hook up the drain yet.

But, we're getting close to putting up cement board. Wondering what to do w/ our roofline. Our tub/shower will be up against the roof line. It's a 12/12 roof, so it's a 45 degree angle. 2 pics below to get an idea what I mean. 2nd pic has a blue line where the new ceiling will be.

(My wife was absolutely thrilled at this point, as you can tell.)

So, how would you handle the roofline section? Greenboard and paint? Cement board and tile? How do you tile upside down like that? Is it even doable for a DIY?

FWIW, there is a fan going in somewhat over the tub in the ceiling, so the humid air hopefully won't build up so much.

09-28-2008, 10:32 PM
That child looks perfectly content to moi. :D

You got plenty ceiling height in there, Nate. But I'd recommend you tile it all just for appearance.

I think it would look a bit odd with only the slanted portion tiled and not the lid. But I generally stay away from any of the aesthetic questions hereabouts on accounta don't nobody never agree with what I like. :)

It's no trick at all to tile either the slope or the flat ceiling. Done alla time. Even I can do it with ease and have with everything from 2x2s to 13x13s without a second thought.

The big-time tile guys hang even larger ones but they're too heavy for me to lift up there. But if you moosh'em up there, they stay up there. :shades:

My opinion; worth price charged.

Nate R
09-28-2008, 11:01 PM
Hmm, OK. Well, knowing it's not too hard, it will then be up to my wife how high the tile will go. We've been thinking of doing white 6x6 tiles.

Plenty of ceiling height now, yes. About 8'9" or so. Used to be 6'11" in this bathroom! :sick: I would hit my arm on the old light fixture frequently.
There was nothing keeping the ceiling from being higher than it was. Someone decided 2X2s were good enough for ceiling joists and toe-nailed them into the rafters. It's amazing some of the stuff that was there stayed in place as long as it did. :uhh:


I'd love to hear any other opinions.

09-29-2008, 07:13 PM
Wow Nate...6x6 tiles on the ceiling? Hope you have strong arms to hold up those tiles :)
Good luck. Post pics of your progress.

btw, Are you going to use Poly sheeting, Redgard or Kerdi in the tub surround? Just curious :)

10-02-2008, 06:01 AM
Do you have any pics of what you're thinking, using white 6x6 tiles and all? I was thinking of the same thing, but wanted to see a pic first.

Nate R
01-04-2010, 07:18 PM
OK, once again, getting back to this project.

The bathroom has a ceiling height of 8'9". The standard 32X60 tub/shower has a fan that is almost directly over it.

The backside of the tub alcove is a tall kneewall that's 5'10".
On the faucet side of the alcove, the shower elbow is at 6'6".

So, do you guys think we need to tile/waterproof the angled part of the wall/ceiling, or is it far enough away to be safe? (Not asking about the aesthetics of doing so or not, just the function.) I know of bathrooms with a tub alcove that has a 7'4" ceiling where as the rest of the bathroom is 8', and that drywalled ceiling is fine after 20 years, but my sample size is small. (3 bathrooms I KNOW of like this.)

But, we've done a LOT of work. If there's a fair doubt, we'll just tile it.
Thanks for your thoughts/suggestions!

01-05-2010, 05:51 AM
That surface is far enough away from the shower head to not need tile, or any other special form of waterproofing except a good coat of paint. Now, if the interior decorator wants it tiled, that's another story. Do whatever pleases her. (That's advice you can apply elsewhere, too. :D)

Nate R
07-13-2010, 09:59 PM
Two questions:

We have 2 coats of Redgard on so far. Going to do 2 more tomorrow.

When/how should I pull the tape on the window? Do I need to cut the Redgard first with a razorblade, or will it rip alright when the tape comes up? (I just dont want to pull the tape and start peeling it all up with it!)

Also, the window is about 2 inches off center of the tile. How should we align the tile? Center it with the window or centered between the tub walls? (3X6 Subway tile)


Houston Remodeler
07-13-2010, 10:04 PM

Cut the redgard with a razor. If you pull the tape it will either tear itself and make it harder to get out or pull up some of the redgard and make a mess.

Start by reading this thread on subway installs ( and look at the nice pictures everyone added

BTW, where can I get an assistant like that?

Nate R
10-15-2011, 05:17 PM
Embarrassingly, we're finally getting to finish our one and only bathroom. Selling a side business I had has finally given me some more time to work on the inside of the house.

Anyway, we finished installing tiles. I want to grout tomorrow, but not sure how to handle one edge. One side of the tub is against a wall that is basically just a partition wall, w/ a small cubby for shelf space on the other side. I screwed a 2X3 to the side of the framing to give me something to align all the tile edges to. How do I grout along that edge? Remove the 2X3, and hope the grout stays in up to the edge? Leave the 2X3, and remove it before the grout is dry so it doesn't stick to it and crack off? Vaseline or oil the 2X3 and reinstall so grout won't stick? I don't see many edges like this, so not sure how to handle it.

10-16-2011, 08:12 AM
Caulk that edge. Grout first, leaving a bit of grout sticking out between each of the tiles. Let the grout firm up a little, then come back and slice off the excess flush with the tile. You may have to tool the grout a bit with a wet fingertip. Let the grout cure fully, then run a nice bead of caulk along the entire edge, hiding the edge of the tile to wall joint. Use masking tape to make a straight line on the wall.