What Lies Beneath

No matter what the finish, it looks best and lasts longest when it's applied or installed over a properly prepped surface. Here's how to do it.

Finishes diagram
Illustration: Ian Worpole

Prepping Drywall and Trim diagram
Illustration: Ian Worpole
Prepping Drywall and Trim

Tile tub surround diagram
Illustration: Ian Worpole
Tile Tub Surround
1) Cement backerboard (1/2-in.)
2) Epoxy-covered screws (1 1/4-in.)
3) Fibermesh tape (covered with thinset): Prevents cracks along backerboard seams
4) Thinset mortar (troweled flat): Waterproofs backerboard
5) Thinset mortar (combed with toothed trowel): Sticks tile to substrate
6) Glazed tile
7) Polymer-fortified grout: Seals tile joints
8) Copolymer sealant: Seals inside corners and tub-tile joint

Tile floor diagram
Illustration: Ian Worpole
Tile Floor
1) Construction adhesive: Secures backerboard to subfloor
2) Cement backerboard (1/2-in.)
3) Epoxy-covered screws (1 1/4-in.)
4) Fibermesh tape (covered with thinset)
5) Thinset mortar
6) Floor tile (stone or ceramic)
7) Polymer-fortified grout: Resists cracking

Tile backsplash diagram
Illustration: Ian Worpole
Tile Backsplash
1) Moisture-resistant wallboard (1/2-in.)
2) Thinset mortar (troweled flat)
3) Thinset mortar (combed)
4) Tile (ceramic, glass, stone, or metal)
5) Polymer-fortified grout (sanded for large joints, unsanded for tight ones)


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