Tiling a Tub Deck

What You'll Need
Adhesive or tile mastic
Tile sealer
Tile cutter
Tape measure

Tiling a tub deck is actually quite a simple job. The most important thing to have is patience and common sense.

Step 1: Doing the Mock

Before you start tiling, it would be a big help if you lay in the tiles for practice. This way, if you don’t like the pattern, you still have a chance of changing it. You’ll also get a chance to know where the tricky parts are. Remember that tiles must have gaps between them. You can use spacers to keep them equal or you can keep the gaps very small, just enough for the grout to fill. When you’re happy with what you see, you’re ready to start tiling a tub deck.

Step 2: Checking

A tub deck should have water resistant drywall along the walls and above the tub deck frame. Make sure that the joints or gaps between the drywall are perfectly sealed.

Step 3: Marking the Layout

Start measuring to get the height and center of the back wall. You will be able to calculate how much tile you need. Watch out for the bottom row and the corner columns. Make sure that the bottom layer of tiles will have no cuts necessary. Simply move up the layout to be able to use full tiles. For the corner columns, adjust layout to maximize tile usage.

Step 4: Applying Adhesive

Apply adhesive or tile mastic onto a portion of the back wall by using the trowel’s smooth edge. Because laying in small tiles takes longer, apply the adhesive or the tile mastic onto a smaller area. Adhesive can be applied in long stripes but tile mastic must be troweled by the notched side to make ridges for better adherence. Do the same process to the deck surface. Start with the nosing and work your way towards the back and down to the floor.

Step 5: Starting to Tile

Start tiling at the corners or intersection of your layout markers. Press onto the tile, making sure that it’s in line with the markers you’ve set. Use tile spacers if you need them. Prioritize the area with full tiles. Make a gap between the bottom row of tiles to make room for caulk at the corners.

Step 6: Cutting Tiles

Measure and cut tiles to fit into the remaining areas. Place a full tile against the area to mark the cutting line. Put it in the tile cutter and carefully align it with the blade. Secure the tile from moving. If your cutter has an adjustable fence, use it to secure the tile to the cutter. If necessary, drill in holes for plumbing fixtures on the tub deck.

Step 7: Applying Grout

When the tile mastic or adhesive allows, mix grout and liquids according to its specifications. Smear the grout across the tiles with a rubber trowel. Get in between the gaps. Wait 10 to 20 minutes before you start cleaning it with a damp sponge.

Step 8:  Buffing and Applying Caulk

Clean the tiles with dry cloth the next day. Lastly, fill caulk into the joints between the tub and the tub deck tiles.