Laying out your tiling job before starting is the KEY to a perfect tile job. Follow these few simple tips and when you’re done, you’ll be glad you did.

A portion of this information was excerpted from the Feb 2008 issue of The Family Handyman

DO mock up and measure a row of tile on the floor to determine the layout. Be sure to use the spacers in between tiles before you measure. Make adjustments to get wider tiles in corners.

DON’T leave a skinny strip of tile in the corners or along the edges.

DO treat each of the 3 walls separately.

DO draw level (horizontal) and plumb (vertical) lines on the walls to guide you during installation.

DO adjust your vertical layout (center of the back wall of the tub) to leave the widest possible, same sized, tiles at each corner.

DO locate the starting level (horizontal) line above the tub surface a distance equal to the height of one tile minus 3/4”.

DON’T start the first row of tile by resting it on the tub or shower. This will cause problems keeping your tiles lined up since most tubs and showers surfaces are not level.

DO screw a straight board to the level line and start tiling by stacking tiles on the board.

DO tile above the board then remove the board and cut the tiles for the first row. Leave 1/8” gap between the top of the tub and the first row of tile to allow for caulking.

DON’T stop tiles even with the end of the tub on the side walls. This leaves the wall on outside of the tub vulnerable to water damage.

DO plan the tile layout so a column of tile extends past the end of the tub at least 2 or 3 inches.

DON’T tile directly onto drywall for tub and shower walls. Replace drywall with “FiberRock” or concrete backer board.

Other Hints:
# Keep tile clean as you go, don’t let mortar dry on the face of the tile.
# Clean up if you will be off the job for more than 30 minutes.
# Wear gloves when applying grout.
# Use only a damp sponge when cleaning tiles after grouting. Water is not good for grout.
# Wait at 12-24 hours after laying tile to begin grouting.
# Fill your tub with water before caulking; this will prevent cracking of the caulk.
# Use the experts at your local tile shop to answer questions and give advice.