Beautifully tiled bathtubs allow us to take pride in our bathroom.
But this project begins with one very important step:
Examining your tub’s stud walls.
This tutorial will help you determine if your studs need to be shimmed or sistered.
Why is this important for you or your contractor to do?
If your wall isn’t properly shimmed the great looking tiles that cost you a bit of money will end up looking terrible.
I’ll share why Rob (my brother-in-law) and I used wood lath to shim out his bathtub walls.
This is probably the most important step in any bathtub tile installation.
And even if you’re hiring a contractor you’ll want to understand how it should be properly performed.
Bathtubs Lips and Why They Matter
In the last tutorial I shared how we installed an Americast bathtub.
And this involved securing the tub to studs by using roofing nails.
The tub lip sticks out from the stud by about 3/16 of an inch and the nail head increases this depth even more.
If you or your contractor install cement board over the lip/nail head then the tile on the bottom portion of the tub will be crooked in relation to the tile on the back wall.
This provides an unwanted and unprofessional look.
And once the tile is in place the only solution is to tear out the wall that was improperly installed.
This in turn adds aggravation to your bathroom remodel in the form of extra time and money.
I don’t want anyone to deal with this kind of headache and that’s why I’m sharing these tips.
Now, your contractor might advise you to just add the cement board above the bathtub lip/nail.
This is a definite possibility if your tub fits perfectly against all of the studs on the three walls it’s adjacent to.
If your contractor insists on doing this I would check to make sure the lip of the tub on all 3 sides is flush with every single stud before they install cement board.
What’s the Solution?
The solution is very simple and doesn’t take a ton of time.
Rob and I added lath to all the studs in the tub recess.
The lath is about 1/4 of an inch in depth and comes in 8 foot sections.
The cost for a bundle of 8 is roughly $2.99 (Yah, it’s cheaper than a box of Cheerios!)
You can attach the lath to the studs using small 1 inch deck screws or exterior galvanized finishing nails.
I’m a glutton for punishment and decided to use the finishing nails.
Unfortunately we only had 2 1/2 inch nails but it didn’t take long for me to install the lath to the studs.
You don’t need to use a 2 1/2 inch nail, 1 inch is a good length and even that might be a tad bit too long.
We obviously didn’t install the bathtub yet in these photos.
You can attach the lath to the studs before or after the tub is put in place.
The lath needs to be secured on all vertical studs and horizontal headers.
This will make sure the cement board rests evenly and plumb on the three walls in the bathtub recess.
So, now you have the wall studs in the bathtub recess bumped out.
And this will allow your new tile to be set properly and look pretty for any visitor to your home.
The next step in this great bathroom adventure has to do with picking the correct backer board for your tiles.
I’ll share this info in my next post along with what type of material to choose for the surrounding walls in your bathroom.
If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.