Tub to ceiling subway tile...
We put these bright white bad boys up one 3x6 tile at a time. Worth it? Totally! I think it came out to 25 rows of tiles, but let's look at the wins, losses and hints of the hole job before you decide if you want to put tile in the DIY column.
- You must seal the wall. You can either put up a barrier behind the concrete board or you can paint it on.
- Get everything squared and leveled before you start. This takes a lot longer than just dropping the tub in and relying on the folks who threw the wall studs up sometime before I was born.
- Grab T spacers.
- Get all the tools you need and lay them out before you start. Clean the area of other items so it's just you and your tiling needs.
- Take a break every now and then. For DIYers this is not a one sitting project.
- Make sure your mortar is mixed properly. Not too wet, not too dry. The ridges left by the trowel should keep their shape without pulling off when gone over in the opposite direction.
- For DIY amateurs, it's best to have a partner.
- Recheck level along the way.
- Try not to fight with your partner when you are mad at the tile/tub/wall/mortar/tools/etc.
- Painting on the sealant was pretty quick.
- We bought the slightly more expensive (negligible amount) tile spacers. We grabbed the T spacers so once the first row is level, everything else falls into place nicely.
- Having New Guy doing the cutting while I did all the tiling sped up the process quite a bit.
- It looks great!
- I got to buy some new toys, including a diamond hole bit thingy... no clue what it's actually called and the packaging is long gone. Expensive, but super cool.
- We only painted on the sealant because we didn't bother to look up how to waterproof the shower until after the cement board was up and jointed. So we had no choice... and the stuff ruins a paintbrush and smells like a million sharpies have been shoved up your nose.
- We should have started the tile at the outside edges. I don't think the professionals have to... they probably start in the middle like we did... but we are not tile cutting pros. So... right...
- We did not have a diamond bit or hole cutter, so we left a few tiles out one day... then the tiles in the row directly above sagged. My fault.
- The wall was not square, the tub was slightly off level, the cement board did not line up well with the tub edges... remember the hint? It's a lot easier to fix on the front end.