It’s not that unusual to see an older home with a bathroom originally designed to have just a bathtub with no shower. Often, these are also right in front of a window too, making it that much more fun, right? (See this post.)
This bathroom was built with just a tub, but a shower head was added later. The problem was that the upper walls were still just painted drywall. The homeowner asked me to extend the old bath surround up to the shower head with matching white tile.
Before laying the tile, I installed Schluter Kerdi over the drywall. It’s a waterproofing membrane that will protect the drywall from moisture. It’s the same material that is often used when tiling a shower (See this post). It also saves the mess of tearing out dryall and replacing it with cementboard in this case.
I was prepping to lay out the tile when I realized that those old tiles were not exactly the same size as my new ones. The old ones were 4 3/16″ while the new tiles are 4 1/4″. This is only a 1/16″ difference, however, this is enough to really mess up the grout lines and change the entire layout. I called Louisville Tile to see if they still made tiles of the smaller size and they said I wouldn’t be able to find them anymore. The solution- cut a 1/16″ off of every tile!
Thankfully, the height of the tile was fine because I wasn’t matching any old tile on the sides. I just had to cut off 1/16″ from one side of each tile. I set fence on my tile saw the right dimension and set out to cut close to 200 tiles. (Not that I was counting, right?)
With that figured out, the tile went in very quickly, and I was on my way. I grouted it with unsanded white grout and sealed it after that. As expected, you can tell where the new tile starts, but at least the walls will stay dry!