How to Install Tile Board Around a Tub


Installing tile board around a bathtub is the first step in tiling a bathroom wall. A flat, uniform surface is essential to a professional-looking tile project. Since the area near the tub is prone to soaking, use cement board, which has a cement core covered by a fiberglass facing. Water will not damage cement board even if the tile joints eventually leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Cement board
  • Utility knife
  • 1-1/2-inch galvanized deck screws
  • Drill
  • Fiberglass-mesh wallboard tape
  • Thinset mortar
  • Wallboard knife
  • Inspect the wall studs and replace any wood that shows signs of water damage.

  • Measure the area around the tub where you will be installing tile. Figure a 1/8-inch gap between each tile board panel and a 1/4-inch gap around the edges of the installation. Mark placement lines on the wall studs.

  • Cut the tile board to fit the area around the rub. Score the fiberglass layer on one side with a utility knife and snap the panel along the scored line. Cut through the other side’s fiberglass layer to complete the break.

  • Attach the tile board panels to the wall studs at the marked placement lines with 1-1/2-inch galvanized deck screws every 6 inches. If an attachment point falls near the edge of a panel, drill pilot holes along that edge to prevent crumbling.

  • Cover the seams between the tile board panels with fiberglass-mesh wallboard tape.

  • Mix a small batch of thinset mortar. Fill the gaps under the tape with the mortar, leaving a thin layer on top of the tape. Allow the mortar to cure for two days before you begin installing tile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Building codes in some areas require you to install a waterproof membrane between the framing and the tile board. Check your local code requirements.
  • Using power tools to cut tileboard may result in silica exposure via excessive airborne dust. Even in large projects, scoring the panels with a sharp utility knife is the best method for cutting tile board.

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