Step 3: Start Tiling

Start tiling
Photo by: Webb Chappell
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Set the first tile at the intersection of the two layout lines. Press the tile tight to the wall, making sure its edges are flush with both the horizontal and vertical lines.

Continue setting tiles in both directions along the two lines, working out toward the end wall and down to the tub in a stepped pattern.

Set only full tiles in each course.

Many tiles have small nubs on the edges to keep them evenly spaced at the proper width for grout. If your tiles aren't self-spacing, use plastic spacers to maintain consistent joints.

Tip: Make sure to leave space for caulk between the bottom course of tile and the tub.
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    Tools List

    • notched trowel
      Notched trowel,
      used to apply tile mastic
    • grout sponge
      Grout sponge,
      for wiping tiles clean
    • rubber trowel
      Rubber trowel,
      for applying the grout
    • drill
      Drill with diamond-grit hole saw,
      for drilling holes in tile
    • tile nippers
      Tile nippers,
      used to notch tiles to fit around plumbing
    • margin trowel
      Margin trowel,
      used to mix mortar and grout
    • tile cutter
      Tile cutter,
      rents for $15 to $20 a day
    • two-foot level
      Level and straightedge
    • drywall knife
      4-in. drywall knife,
      to embed joint tape in mortar
    • caulk gun
      Caulking gun with siliconized acrylic caulk

    Shopping List

    1. GLAZED CERAMIC TILE

    2. LATEX TILE MASTIC

    3. UNSANDED TILE GROUT

    4. CEMENT BACKER BOARD

    5. BACKER BOARD SCREWS

    6. FIBERGLASS-MESH JOINT TAPE

    7. THINSET MORTAR

    for skim-coating the backer board



    8. LATEX-BASED GROUT ADDITIVE

    to strengthen the grout