How to Make a Skirt for a Tub Surround

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A freestanding tub can serve as a functional addition to your home and can add to the aesthetic value of your bathroom space. However, you may want a tub skirt to conceal pipes and give your bathroom a clean, finished appearance. Although you can purchase tub skirt kits from home improvement stores and online retailers, you can also build custom skirting for a tub with common carpentry materials and tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Miter saw
  • 4-inch wood screws
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Cement backer board
  • Utility knife
  • 1 1/3-inch cement board screws
  • Thinset mortar
  • 4-inch ceramic tiles
  • Trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wet saw
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Caulk tube
  • Caulk gun
  • Scissors
  • Measure the distance from the floor to the top of the tub and measure the tub's width and length.

  • Cut sections of 2-by-4 lumber 4-1/2 inches shorter than the distance between the floor and the top of the tub with a circular saw. You need one post for each corner of the frame and one for each 16 inches of frame length and width. These sections will form the posts for the tub skirt frame.

  • Cut four sections of 2-by-4 lumber 4 inches longer than the length of the tub and four sections 4 inches longer than the width. Miter the ends of the sections at 45-degree angles with a miter saw. These sections will form the top and bottom frame plates.

  • Place two length and two width sections in a rectangle around the tub. Insert 4-inch wood screws through the corner joints with a drill equipped with a screwdriver bit to form the bottom frame plate. Repeat this process with the remaining length and width sections on top of the bottom frame plate.

  • Lift the top frame plate and stand a post at each corner between the top and bottom frame plates. Insert 4-inch wood screws through the posts into the plates at 45-degree angles. Stand the posts at 16-inch intervals between the corner posts and attach them with 4-inch wood screws driven at 45-degree angles.

  • Score 1/2-inch-thick cement backer board sections with a utility knife to fit the sides and top of the frame. Snap the sections along the scored lines on the edge of a sturdy table or workbench. Attach the backer board sections to the sides and top of the frame with 1 1/4-inch cement board screws.

  • Use a trowel to apply thinset mortar to the back of a 4-inch ceramic tile then tap it onto the bottom corner of one section of cement backer board with a rubber mallet. Attach additional tiles in the same manner along the bottom edge to complete the first course. Add additional courses until you reach the top of the frame then repeat this process for the remaining sides of the tub skirt. Cut the tiles, as necessary, with a wet saw to fit the top course and corners.

  • Attach 4-inch ceramic tiles to the top of the frame and cut them, as needed, to fit with the wet saw. Allow the mortar to dry for at least 24 hours.

  • Press grout into the seams between the tiles with a grout float. Remove any excess grout with a damp sponge as it begins to dry.

  • Load a caulk tube into a caulk gun. Snip the tip of the tube at a 45-degree angle with a pair of scissors. Apply a bead of caulk between the tub and the top of the skirt, as well as along the floor around the skirt. Let the caulk dry for at least 24 hours before using the tub.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use corner tiles, which have rounded edges on one or two sides, for the edges of the skirt to give it a more finished appearance.
  • Wear work goggles and gloves, while installing the tub skirt, to prevent injuries.

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