I'm confused how to begin tiling and adjusting the first row. Do I need to grind all the tiles from 2,3 to the end so they can be leveled with number one? Or if I raised number 1ittle bit to level with number 2 will be easier but then I will have a little bit bigger gap from the tub side?

Please also notice that number one also need to be ground from the right side (as it's like this without a spacer) The spacers used is 1/16".

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  • you'll have a bead of caulk around the tub where it meets the tile so there could be a little discrepancy in the length of the tiles. Grinding might chip the tiles. Are you dead set on the 1/16" spacing? 1/8" or 3/16" would give a little shifting in the tile lineup.
    – JACK
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 22:49
  • I already bought the 1/16", but what will be the difference for the 1/8" I dont get it, as it will make the tiles hight but the leveling will be the same..they wilm still need grinding to level,what I'm missing here.
    – Chad
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 23:39
  • 1
    The bottom row of almost any tub tile job comprises tiles that are all cut to fit. It's a novice mistake to assume it will go otherwise. I'm not sure what grinding you're talking about. I'd think you'd be using a wet saw for the tiles, no?
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 23:45
  • 1
    2 and 3 together do not look good
    – jsotola
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 2:22
  • @isherwood - I have tiled A LOT of tubs/showers. I can count on one hand how many of those jobs I cut the bottom row. If you are doing that then you didn't set up the tub/shower right or didn't prepare for your install. I would be cutting an install unless there is a vertical stagger like the picture above or some diagonal configuration. I wouldn't recommend cutting the bottom row as a best/normal practice.
    – DMoore
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


I do not set the bottom row first. I start with the second row and tile on up.

I use a ledger board ( a straight furring strip or 1x2 ) at the correct height so that the bottom of the tile of the second row is slightly lower then the height of the tile that will be the first row. You need to figure out the correct height to place your ledger board. Make sure you do not leave to big of a space, check all around the perimeter. Use a level to mark that line so you can place your ledger board level.

Doing it this way insures that you start level, plum and true. ( because the lip of your tub is not ) Hopefully your walls in the corners are plumb and true but they frequently are not. ( make sure you do not leave a sliver of a space to fill at the corners )

The next day when the tiles are set you remove your ledger board and do the bottom row, custom cutting the bottom of each tile to match the angle of the tub lip and leaving a small gap for caulking.


Here is the thing - if you wanted it OCD perfect then the tub should have been level. I for one would not cut the tile with that small of a difference. Alaska Man has the right method with furring strips but I am going to answer your question how I would do it.

Within reason - 1/8" for sure - I would widen the gap of the first couple at the bottom to meet with a level row one. That is my answer.

1/16" is very small spacers for that big of tile. You better take your time and triple check your alignments and please start with your most plumb corner. However there is nothing wrong with 1/16" gaps - it is just they are very unforgiving. Also just because your tiles are at 1/16" doesn't mean your gap to your tub has to be that.

And honestly if you had a true 1/16" gap to your tub that is really too small. Caulk will sit solely outside your tile and it will need repair more often. Even 1/8" can be too small of a gap.

The other part of this is that you would not be cutting an inch off. Shaving 1/16" from that big of a tile... that's tough to it straight with no nicks with the best tools.

  • Thanks but I had to start before reading the suggestions,i had to cut the tiles from below to level them all and it worked almost fine with all,but I'm wondering now shall I start tiling vertically from the middle#3(buttom to up) then to the corners(1&5),I'll be using a leveling system,the reason why I'm asking from the middle as the board is not perfectly leveled, the corners is going slightly inside,so with the leveling system it will be leveled with the middle one having bigger gap behind the tiles in corners which i will have to add more thinset in the corners(make it thicker)?is this ok?
    – Chad
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 23:34

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