Best size tile for shower/tub alcove

KeithRNovember 14, 2013


I am renovating a master bath in my condo - it currently has a large shower, but I am converting it to a shower/tub combo for resale reasons.

I am installing a Kohler Hourglass tub (60"x32") - while an alcove tub, it allows you to tile the front instead of an apron. I was originally drawn to large 12x24" tile for bathrooms in general, but now am having reservations.

Would doing 3x6" subway tile (ceramic or glass) be preferable? The alcove is 60x32x96.


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Well, I think of 3x6 as more of a traditional look and the 12x24 more of a contemporary look. Another thing to consider is the amount of cutting you will have to do with the large format tiles. If all have to be cut to pieces just to fit, then the large format is pointless. Have you looked on Houzz for images? I linked a search I just did for "alcove tub" and came up with multiple choices. It is a great way to see styles and options. Be sure to look at the multiple pages that are on the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz alcove tub search.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:25AM
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I used 4x12 and love it. Staggered pattern.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Thanks- l have looked at Houzz and I get inundated pretty quickly.

Contractor is saying 12x24, but he could be saying that do to ease of install.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Be sure you see a layout before you approve any tiling. A poster a while back was so frustrated that her 12x24 tile was all cut into smaller pieces to accomodate a mosaic insert. She ended up with only one or 2 full sized tiles on one of the walls. She also had a window that interfered with full sized tiles. Draw it up yourself if you want. But I would think a tiler would have the means to draw up their layout design.

Did you like any of the images that were on the Houzz link I gave you?

I like the idea of 4x12 tiles that Ceezeecz suggested.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Thanks for the recommendation, Enduring- that is a good idea of signing off on layout first.

My favs off Houzz on the subway front are the ones with blue grey or sage glass tiles:

I like the 4x12" glass tiles a lot, but I feel they are too modern and I'm going to be selling this condo soon. Staggered subway seems safer.

on the 12"x24", I had picked out a porcelain tile not quite as nice as this one, but similar design (lines/streaks)

and my new favorite bathroom could be this one- but I'm sure these are Heath tiles which costs a small fortune!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 12:08AM
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Great pictures you've linked to. If you want to post them here, this is how I do it. If there is an "embed" button available click it and a box will come up with large file option or a small file option. I always take the large file option cause I love pictures :) click on the text in the large file and the text will turn blue. Copy this text. Paste the text in this message box on GW. Simple. Sometimes I can't find an "embed" button, so on my Mac, I two finger click on the image and the box comes up.

I am really partial to the this soft blue in both of the post that I copied from your link. I prefer ceramic over glass, but that is a minor point. Glass is more modern to me.

Contemporary Bathroom by Austin General Contractors Greenbelt Homes

This one is very nice, calm, and a safe bet. It is a bath anyone would like. Do you see how the counters don't compete with the tile? I like that. You can use solid surface or natural stone on the counters. If you went with the blue ceramic (my fav) something like this vein cut tile might look pretty on the floor. If this is natural limestone, you have to be very careful with colors. Sometimes limestones can look pink. Also with a natural stone, the sample board that one sees in the shop may look different than the actual stone that comes in the order. There have been multiple complaints on the forum about that too.

Contemporary Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Designers Mike Connell

This is my favorite of these two blues you've posted. I love glazes on ceramic that look like watercolor. How much area are you covering. This looks fabulous on this wall, but to be honest I'm not sold on the floor they used. And I don't like the carrara counter top with the tile. I am thinking a thassos white marble would be nicer to help keep the focus on the glaze of the tile and the pretty wood vainer. But as I look more I do like the carrara used as the jambs around the door and shower a lot. So maybe its the wood that is throwing the scheme off for me. I love the wood, but maybe it would be better used in another room.

Contemporary Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Designers Sutro Architects

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:13AM
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KeithR, another thought about the tile options. Go to the Kitchen forum and ask for help selecting a tile. They are crazy for tile over there and they know every tile out there. If there is a great alternative to the Heath tile that is more budget friendly, they will know. They are the backsplash tile mavens.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:17AM
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We're hoping to convert our shower into a tub/shower also. I saw a photo on Houzz of a tub and shower in the same 3 x 6 subway tile, and it looked very busy to me. I'd use a larger tile if the shower and tub will be the same tile. I also like the look of two different sized tiles. If your home is traditional or an older home, I'd stick with ceramic.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Enduring- thanks. Your comment "This one is very nice, calm, and a safe bet. It is a bath anyone would like." is exactly what I need as I'm selling the place in six months. I will go ahead with the 12x24" tile that is similar to this- I went back to the store and saw the various options and it makes the most sense cost-wise as well as resale value.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Be sure to spend a good amount of time on choosing the paint color. Paint can kill the look, if its off even a smidgen. It is worth it to have someone who can really see color to make the selection. The decorating forum can be very helpful with paint.

Are you going with a porcelain? Porcelain is a very durable product. If you use natural stone on the floor, the deflection has to be to a stricter stiffness than for a ceramic tile. You may know this already. For stone it is a deflection of L/720 where as ceramic type tile is L/360. This is a measurement used to state how much the joist deflects, calculated using length, spacing, and size of the joist. If you're on concrete then your good to go in the deflection department.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:04PM
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