Tub, Backsplash, & Countertop Tile Layouts

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Laying Out Your Pattern

These illustrations are intended for reference only and may not apply in your case. Every job is different and there are an infinite number of ways to layout a ceramic tile installation. You should look over every illustration listed here to gain a better understanding of how a ceramic tile job is laid out. Before you begin installing the tile you should know where each tile and cut is going to fall.

Ceramic Tile Countertops

Figure 1, Ceramic Tile Countertop Pattern

This example shows a island countertop that has been centered on all sides. This layout will look great so long as your cuts around the edge are 2" or greater. Use a square when you mark your lines and check regularly for squareness.

Figure 2, Countertop Pattern

This example shows a cornered countertop. In most cases you can start with a full tile A on the outside corner. If not you can try to center the tile as described in Figure 1. Use a square when you mark your lines and check regularly for squareness.

Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Illustration Of Backsplash

Step 1

On back wall measure the distance from the left edge of cabinet or countertop to the right edge of cabinet or countertop. Take this measurement and divide by two. Mark the wall accordingly. This will be where your vertical center line will be. Now you must find out the size of your side cuts. Take two tiles and walk them side by side from your mark to the cabinet or countertop edge. Subtract the width of your flush cap. Typically, you would want a cut that is two inches wide or greater. If you are satisfied with the size of the cut use your level and a pencil to draw a line down the center of your back wall. If you are not satisfied, adjust the position of the vertical line until you find the location you prefer. In this drawing we used a spit center vertical line half the size of the tile.

Step 2

To find the horizontal dead center of your wall measure the distance between the cabinet and the countertop. Divide this figure by two and mark your wall accordingly. This will be where your horizontal line will be.

Step 3

Use your level and a pencil to draw a horizontal line on back wall.

Step 4

Place end of level on edge of cabinet or countertop and draw a leveled vertical line from cabinet to countertop. A bullnose flush cap will be installed on the inside of this line. Start installing your tile where the horizontal line intersects with the vertical line.

Kitchen countertops and cabinets come in all different sizes. If your cabinets are wider than your countertops or vice versa you will have to decide where to end your tile with flush cap. Generally, you would end your tile flush with the countertop edge. Because cabinets and countertops are not always square or level, you may have to fine tune the position of the horizontal line or slightly adjust your tile as you work. If one end of your backsplash runs into a wall you may be able to start with a full tile where your flush cap begins. Remember, the space above the stove is a focal point and will look better if it is evenly centered.

Ceramic Tile Shower Stalls & Tubs

When bubble is centered within vial the line will be level.

Step 1

Check tub on all three sides to see if it is level. If it is level then you may proceed to Step 2. If it is not level find the lowest point on your tub and mark wall above it. Stack about four to eight full tiles vertically at low spot of tub. Trace the top of the uppermost tile. This will be where your horizontal line will be.

Step 2

On back wall measure the greatest distance from the left wall to the right wall. Take this measurement and divide by two. Mark the wall accordingly. This will be where your vertical center line will be. Now you must find out the size of your side cuts. Take two tiles and walk them side by side from your mark to a side wall. Typically, you would want a cut that is two inches wide or greater. If you are satisfied with the size of the cut use your level and a pencil to draw a line down the center of your back wall. If you are not satisfied, adjust the position of the vertical line until you find the location you prefer.

Step 3

If your tub is level you may start in the middle of back wall otherwise proceed to Step 4. Stack about four to eight full tiles vertically on back wall resting on tub. Trace the top of the uppermost tile. This will be where your horizontal line will be.

Step 4

Use your level and a pencil to draw a horizontal line on back wall and wrap the line around on side walls.

Step 5

Place end of level on corner of tub and draw a vertical line from tub corner to ceiling. You will start with a full tile on the inside of this line. A flush cap or mud cap will be installed on the outside of it.

Figure 2 - Backwall 59 1/2 WD" - Sidewalls 31 1/2" WD - Tile Is 4 1/4" x 4 1/4" - Backwall Tile Is Centered Horizontally, Full Tile Off Tub Vertically - Full Tile Off Tub Edge On Sidewall Horizontally, Full Tile Off Tub Vertically.

Always tile the widest wall first, in this case the back wall. Tile the spaces above the horizontal guide line and then tile the lower spaces. Start installing a row of ceramic tile to the left of the vertical guide line and then finish the row to the right of the guide line. Once the back wall has been completed tile the side walls in the same fashion. Check your tile with a level regularly and adjust as necessary.

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