Tile layout and where to start

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Old 05-22-15, 07:36 AM
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Tile layout and where to start

I am putting up wall tile in a bathroom. The wall I am concerned about has the tub spigot wall, toilet and vanity. I want 1 row of tile (tiles are 8x20) across the top of the vanity as a backsplash. That row will be the top row behind the toilet too.

I want that row to run right across into the tub. The question is how do I do that?

I can measure from the ground up (and add spacing), but am concerned if I am off a little it will be messed up (I don't want 1 tile plus a little strip above the vanity or to have to cut the top row).

Can you actually lay wall tile working down? Would I need to keep using a ledger board for each row?Name:  15438.jpg
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Last edited by michaeljc70; 05-22-15 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Added pic to clarify
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Old 05-22-15, 09:04 AM
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Are you going floor to ceiling with the tile or stopping part way up? If going all the way to the ceiling are you doing it just in the shower area or behind the toilet and vanity as well?
 
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Old 05-22-15, 09:13 AM
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The proper way is to have equal parts of a tile at the top/bottom and both sides. Start at the middle of where your tile will cover. Lay out and adjust so that equal amounts of tile border each edge. As far as actual laying goes some people start in the middle and work their way to each edge while others will start at an edge or corner. If you must have a full tile at the bottom or back splash then only go up as far as you can and still have at least a 1/3 tile at the top. This should still look OK. If that does not work you can add an accent strip about 3/4 up the wall as is common today. That will give you some adjustment to get you a full tile at the top.
 
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Old 05-22-15, 11:43 AM
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Your key areas to hit are the tub lip, the counter top lip and the floor. Optimally, you would have a 360 degree laser Level that shoots a beam all the way around the room. Absent that, a 6 foot level that you can place on the counter top and stretch all the way over to the tub wall would get your measurement over to the tub area. Looks like your vanity has a lip on it at the edge that needs to be taken into consideration. What you don't want is, as you said, a sliver cut anywhere in the mix. This includes vertical cuts as well.

Give us the height of the tub and the height of the vanity. Will also need the exact width of the tile and how big your grout line will be.
 
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Old 05-24-15, 11:15 AM
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Are you going floor to ceiling with the tile or stopping part way up? If going all the way to the ceiling are you doing it just in the shower area or behind the toilet and vanity as well?
Everything will tiled to around 42" except the tub area which will go to the ceiling.

I understand that you want to avoid a sliver of tile at the top and bottom of all tiled areas.

Obviously, I can calculate everything and start at the floor behind the toilet (between tub and vanity). However, if I am even slightly off, it will look messed up at the top of the vanity.

Assuming I calculate everything out and won't wind up with slivers anywhere, how would I approach tiling?

I see 2 options: 1) start at bottom and hope your calculations are dead on or 2) start with top of vanity...going across into tub and work downward using a ledger board.
 
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Old 05-24-15, 11:42 AM
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I usually start with the 2nd row above the tub to install my ledger board. The ledger would be set to just less than a full tile from the tub so that each of the 1st row tiles is custom cut to fit (whatever your actual measurements are). Then work you way around. Keep your level with you as you go, don't just rely on the tile to go up straight. It will drift and sag on you, or your tiles may be slightly out of square. Also, rely on your level initially, don't assume the tub is level, may times it is not. Measure your ledger from the lowest point on the tub if it dips in one direction. Short is, if ledger is perfectly level, and countertop is perfectly level, you should not have a problem. But resist the urge to just start somewhere with a full tile. It is more work, but easier in the end.

I like to do a story board, which is lay the tiles on the floor end to end with your spacers in between them. Then pull your tape measure across the whole length and write down every number measurement for each tile on a piece of paper. Then reference those measurements as you triangulate your starting points so everything is balanced. I do this for both top down and left right measurements.


I would also see if you can get a hold of some stickier thinset. I prefer Ultra-Lite by Mapei. Products It is will help you when you get to the working down to finish the wall parts with less sag. If you mix it stiff, is acts almost like an instant grab glue. Mix in small batches as it tends to set up faster than regular thinsets. And, I know it wasn't mentioned, but steer clear of any thinset that comes ready mixed as they are not rated for a shower application.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 09:55 AM
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I carefully measured and calculated things out. If I start with the 1 tile above the vanity and go across I wind up with:

-3.5" of tile at the floor behind the toilet area. This area will be hardly noticeable.
-2.5" of tile at the top of the tub.
-4.5" of tile at the ceiling in the tub.

The whole tiles are 8" high. Though not ideal, I think that is okay. I think anything less than 2" would look odd.

The easy alternative is to just tile the tub and put the 1 tile high backsplash behind the vanity, skipping behind the toilet. I think with the continuity though between the backsplash going behind the toilet and into the tub would look a lot better though.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 12:46 PM
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Anything 1/2 tile or larger will look OK. Anything less will look odd. If you can't get that to work out then make sure anything less than 1/2 tile will be at the bottom or an area than can't been seen or your line of site is not drawn to it. Again as I mentioned earlier you can compensate with an accent strip about 3/4 of the way up. See following pic.

 
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Old 05-26-15, 03:32 PM
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I decided to just tile the tub surround and leave it at that rather than complicate it and wind up with a small strip in the tub.

I do have a question. I know it is common practice to do as czizzi says and split the difference between the bottom tile and top. If I am going to have 7.5" left over after full tiles (using 8"H tiles), why would I split that in 2? It makes no sense to me.

I am cutting 2x as many tiles (at least horizontally), and am going to have 2 strips of small tiles rather than full tiles and one row of almost full tiles.
 
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Old 05-26-15, 03:57 PM
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If tiling the tub only, then re-read my initial post on that. Start a ledger just slightly less than a full tile up from the tub. That way your custom cut along the tub will appear to be a full tile. There are no boundaries for where to stop the top of the tub, so you can stop that anywhere a full tile lands.

Assume that you are only tiling the tub and the sink backsplash will be independent.

You also need to figure where you are going to stop the tile across the small walls of the tub and carry it to the floor. Need to have at least 1 1/2" or the sliver will be too small IMO. Most likely this is bullnose tile that will carry to the floor.
 
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