tile or tub surround?


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Old 11-21-14, 10:38 PM
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tile or tub surround?

I am replacing a tub and walls in a couple months. Has anyone had any experience with the tub surrounds 3 piece or single unit? I was looking at home depot and it seems like it is harder to find the one piece surround? Does anyone have any recommendations for tub surrounds?
 
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Old 11-23-14, 08:11 AM
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If you decide to tile your shower to use a proper backer material for tile. Cement board and Hardi backer are highly water resistant and more appropriate for a shower than sheetrock. There are also a number of newer products on the market specifically for showers and other wet areas.

I have used those cheap tile saws and they work surprisingly well considering their price. They are not as fast as a larger, professional type saw but it will work. In adition to making stratight cuts you can work the tile against the blade to make half round and U shaped holes for your faucet which works if your holes end up being at the edge of the tiles. Pretty easy to happen with smaller tiles but as the tile gets larger the likelihood that you'll have to drill a hole goes up. They do have special drill bits for tile. How easy it is to drill will depend a lot on the tile you choose. Some ceramic tile can be drilled easily with a carbide bit while I've run into some porcelain tile that required a diamond bit. Oddly the toughest I've seen was a cheap tile from a big box store while the softest was an expensive designer tile so price was no indicator of the tile's toughness.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 04:55 AM
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It is doubtful you will find a one piece surround due to the size. You probably would not be able to get it into the bathroom, thus the 2 and 3 piece designs. Personally, I would tile the walls, but it will depend on your skill level and whether or not you want to tackle such a job. It would add to the value of the house and will be a solid compliment to the bathroom. We can help.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 06:45 AM
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Like Chandler mentioned single piece surrounds are very big and generally too large to fit through a door so they are usually only installed during construction or major renovation. For general remodels a surround in multiple pieces is used, mainly because the pieces can fit through a door.

There is a huge difference in the time and labor required between a plastic surround and tile which is part of the reason tile is generally considered a more premium finish. The materials for tile are not really expensive but there is more labor. A surround can be removed and a new plastic 3 or 5 piece put back in it's place in a matter of hours where a tile surround can take work over several days.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 07:03 AM
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There's two choices when it comes to surrounds, nail on or glued on.
A glued on surround is really thin, easily damaged, is installed over sheetrock, and just looks cheap.
It's often used to cover up a failing tub area where someone just does not have the money to fix it right.
It's what company's like "Bath Fitters" installs in a day and charges about $3000.00 for about $300.00 worth of materials and a few hours labor.
A nail on is installed directly to the studs, is about 3 times thicker, sheetrock is used to just cover the flanges on the outside edges.
Only time I've seen a one piece enclosure is when you buy a 2, piece tub.
As mentioned a 2, piece is sold so you can fit a new unit in a home that's already built.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the replies! I am not worried about the labor, I am worried I wont tile it correctly. I have watched a few videos on youtube that seem to make it look easy, but I haven't tiled before. Would you say that the bigger tiles like 8x8 or 12x12 are better for a beginner or the smaller tiles?

I have watched videos that say to mark out your center lines and work from the middle outward, starting with the back wall. I have seen it suggested to start right at the bottom, but I have also seen it where someone screws in a 2x2 board level across the cement backer, about one tiles height from the tub edge and tiles directly against the wood base for a level start. What method would you recommend?
 
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Old 11-22-14, 04:38 PM
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Larger tiles are the current fashion and since they are larger there are fewer tile to set. The downside is that it's much more likely you will have to drill holes through the tile for the faucet, tub and shower spouts. With a smaller tile you can often get away with cutting the corner off tiles or make mouse holes.

Personally I find the board idea to be more trouble than it's worth. I generally start at the bottom and work up. If your thinset is mixed properly tile will stick to the wall without sliding down. And, you don't have to do the wall all at once. If you find your thinset is setting up before you are ready you can just scrape it off your backer and throw it away and mix up another batch. Do you have a tile saw?
 
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Old 11-22-14, 05:02 PM
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I don't have a tile saw, I will probably have to rent one. Do you use the electric ones or just the manual? I see homedepot has an electric wet tile saw with a 7" blade for 70$ to buy, maybe I would do that?

Is it extremely hard to cut a hole in tile? Seems like there would be a special drill bit or something? I will probably convert my current 3 handle shower to a pausi all in one system too during the project. Any recommendation on the type of spacers to use and how big of a space?
 
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Old 11-23-14, 05:48 AM
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I always use a ledger board and start my showers one row up and slightly less than a full tile. In remodeling, I rarely find an older tub that is level and set properly to accept tile started directly on the tub. I therefore, return after and the last tiles that are set are the ones along the tub. Each one is measured and cut independently of the one next to it for a custom fit. It should also be noted that the edge of the tub near the skirt usually has a radius to it. By installing your tile such that the bottom edge of the tile takes into account that radius you can easily transition to the thin wall tile that will finish the install. It means the first row is set low by around 1 1/4". If you are in an alcove and using bullnose, then this is not an issue as the bullnose will encompass the radius area.

I like to center the tile such that on the long wall, there is an equal tile cut at both left and right walls. Similar to tubs not being level, rarely are the walls plumb either. Old tubs with mudbed walls could be massaged until plumb regardless of what the underlying framing looks like. For the most part, shims and furring strips can help, but starting with less than a full tile in the vertical plane will allow for adjustments to out of plumb walls.

If possible, plan your plumbing rough ins so that the land on a grout line for the spout and handle. It will eliminate the need for expensive diamond bit tools to make cuts in the center of tiles.
 
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Old 11-23-14, 06:38 AM
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As most of the people here stated, tiling seems to be the preferred method because it looks richer and in the long run holds up better for cleaning and longevity. Although tile grouting does need re-doing in some cases after a long time.

You can start your tile any place you want (center is preferred then work your way to one corner or a complete row). What's important is that you strike (use a chalk line) line level and plumb very accurately both horizontal and vertical. Test lay tiles to each end & top to bottom to make sure you have equal size on ends. Use spacers to maintain grout width. Do not eye it. I used blue painters tape to help hold tiles in place as I layed them, but if your thin set is mixed correctly its not really necessary.

I've posted this several times before but you can look at my bath remodel and get an idea of what I'm talking about. You'll want to scroll down to where I'm applying tile to the bath walls.



https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=C4A58...703C56D6F!2510
 
 

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