tile layout above bathtub

robinleJuly 27, 2013

We are going to use 12X24 tiles above and around the bathtub which is 60" long. There are three walls around the bathtub and the tile will go all the wall up the wall. It can be used as a shower. The tiles will be stacked. We are also going to carry these tiles into the bathroom and go up 48" on the wall. There will be a small border of glass mosaics going through it. It was designed to me with a 12"X24" tile on each side above the bathtub and a cut 12"X24" tile approx. 12" tile in the middle of the two 12X24 tiles. When I went to order the tiles the person taking the order said the usual way above the bathtub is to have two 12X24 inch tiles then the 12" tile then on the next wall would start with the other part of that cut tile which would be 12" and then carry on with more of the 12X24 tiles. This way it looks like it wraps around the wall.
What would you recommend when using 12X24 tiles. Is it better to put a full tile on each side and the cut smaller tile in the middle or start at the back left corner and work your way around?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm a little confused. Are you laying these vertically? Have you sketched it out to see which way YOU like it?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did sketch it out. I planned on the tiles laying horizontal. The bathtub is 5' so I figured for the sketch two and a half 12x24 tiles would go above the bathtub. The entire wall above the bathtub would be this pattern not staggering the tiles but stacked above each other. I am now thinking maybe I should put the tiles vertically on the wall. Then above the bathtub the tiles would be five of them. The 12" part of the tile would be next to the bathtub.Does it give the bathroom a different look if I put 12x24 tiles vertically? The bathroom is being completely redone. The mosaic tiles are glass and there are glass 4x4 tiles as the backsplash behind the vanity. I tried to post the sketch but unfortunately I am having trouble scanning it. Thank you for help

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It will look quite different if you put them vertically. It's totally up to you which way to do it. Have you looked at houzz to see different examples? Whichever way you do it, center the tile (or grout joint) on the back (long) wall. Since you're doing stacked and not running bond, I wouldn't worry about wrapping the corner, unless you prefer it that way. Most likely you won't get exactly whole tiles across the back wall. 12" tiles aren't typically 12" (that's just a nominal measurement), and then you have to take into account the grout joint width. Also, the 60" measurement is likely the rough framing size. Then you have to add the wall material, which will reduce that size. So, you'll probably be trimming tiles.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am doing a 12x24 horizontal tile too. The tile is not a true 12x24. This is one layout like you described. I probably will not be using this. But instead a variation of a running bond. Anyway this is to show you the symmetry that can be achieved with tile. It is all about symmetry, You don't want to stick small pieces in the middle of the layout unless you are trying to do something specific, artistically. It sounds like you want to install the tile in the most efficient way possible. That should not trump symmetry though.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I second catbuilder on you want to center the tile on the long wall (make it symmetric) otherwise your tiles on the adjacent sides will look odd.

We have 12x24 tiles in the new shower we did. Initially I wanted them vertically all the way up the 8 ft wall but at last minute I changed my mind and did it horizonally. I am glad I did. Our shower already dominates the room even with horizonal tiles and I can't imagine how overwhelming it will look compared to the rest of the room if we went with vertical. If your bathtub isn't very tall, visually vertical tiles may make it look very short.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With a stacked pattern in large format tile, our goal is to have a symmetrical back wall. The side walls? You usually want them to be mirror images of one another, but the layout design doesn't have to be centered/symmetrical.

One other idea?

Have a full 12x24 tile centered on the back wall. On each side of that have an 12x18 tile. Wrap the cut off 6" piece around the corner onto each side wall. Finish each side wall with a full 12x24.

If you prefer to keep all the large tiles together, then keep the pattern on the back wall the same, an 18" tile, a 24" and another 18".

But on the side walls, have a full 24" tile come out of the corner, and finish each sidewall with the 6" offcut.

With a few sketches, you'll find a pattern that appeals to you. It's your eye that is important.

When people have trouble visualizing a tub surround, for a typical sized surround I'll sometimes recommend they cut a piece of paper 10" wide by 5" tall. With a scale of 1" of paper equals 1' of wall, that paper encompasses the two side walls and the back wall of a typical tub surround, with the walls tiled 5' above the tub. Adjust the dimensions as you need to for your situation.

But for that typical surround, using a 10" wide by 5" tall piece of paper?

With the paper in a landscape orientation, measure in 2-1/2" from the left and right sides of the paper and draw a vertical line. Those two vertical lines represent the two inside corners of your tub alcove. You've now divided the paper (from left-to-right) into a 2-1/2" wide side wall, a 5" wide back wall and the other 2-1/2" wide side wall.

Draw your tile pattern. Crease and fold the paper on the vertical "corner" lines that you drew earlier, fold each "side wall" upwards so you have a "U" shaped piece of paper. Stand it up on edge and it'll represent the three walls of the tub surround.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I want to thank everyone for your help. I am going to try different design ideas and draw it out on paper. Just deciding between the 12X24 tiles being vertical or horizontal has been a hard decision. We are going to put them horizontal (24" wide and 12" heigh). We are having the three walls around the bathtub tiled to the ceiling. We are going to have tile on the rest of the bathroom only half way up the wall. We are running a glass mosaic strip around the room in the tile. By the vanity I plan on using 4x4 glass tiles that match the glass in the glass mosaic strip.I have posted the first drawing we had. I am going to take everyones advise and work on it. I greatly appreciate everyones help and all the great advise I have gotten. If you have any ideas to help me please let me know your ideas.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have done a nice job of centering the tile side to side on the back wall. And it looks like you've centered it top to bottom with relationship to the floor, the back of the tub, and the ceiling height. You don't want to wind up with really skinny pieces to fill in at the top or bottom.

The ends, I don't know how I'd like how you laid it out. Do a more exact drawing to see what that looks like, if you start with whole tile in the corner. Then compare it with a drawing where you have the tile centered over the tub ends, then continue on into the room as your wainscoting.

Thanks for posting the drawing. They are so helpful.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enduring is right about needing to avoid skinny pieces on the top or bottom. If you start out with a full 12 inch tile on the top of the tub, you will have 96-20 inches to fill to the ceiling. Which will be 72+4 inches which might just be perfect with your 4 inch glass mosaic strip. Just make sure though you won't end up with like 1/2 inch space on top due to uneven ceiling etc. Measure all around the tub to make sure the distance works. We had that problem in our house and had to rip out some tiles and add extra glass mosaic to compensate.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Measure and draw, measure and draw and measure and draw again ;)

I wish I would have spent more time laying out our bathroom wall tile. I did draw it up a few times, but then we changed our minds at the last minute and I didn't think everything through. We did vertical brick joint on the back wall (split the 12x24 in half to 6x24) to match the floor. And we did horizontal 12x24 on the side walls. We ended up with some small tiles at the top of the back wall. I wish we would have centered it so that we'd have the same small piece at the top and bottom. But oh well!! And regarding the side walls, I thought I wanted the grout line to match up with edge of bathtub. Well, now I wish we would have centered on the wall and worked outward.

Luckily nobody has noticed but me so far! This is our guest bathroom and we plan on doing our master in the next year or so. I definitely will be more picky on our master ;)

Good luck!

Here is a pic of our wall tile

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 3:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What is really new in bathroom renovating?
Although I'm more a retro/classic kind of person, I'm...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Prevent damage-remove and apply polish to your fingernails/toenails
I am concerned about damage to porcelain floor tile...
Looking for Dupe to RH Nolan Sconce
Has anyone run across sconces that look similar to...
Jill Wood
Kerdi Shower Part Deux
Here's Part Deux. The original Kerdi Shower thread...
Starting from dirt- literally! A basement bath DIY Adventure pt2
Ok, since Garden Web puts a limit on the length of...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™