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We just tiled above a new tub--our first time. We started the bottom row 1/4" above the vertical flange on the tub. This left us with 1+" of gap between the flat tub surface and the bottom of the tile.

How should we have done it instead? We thought we were following instructions that would allow the tub to expand and contract without screwing up the tile, but aesthetically, something ain't right. Is there a clever way to fix it?

scene of the crime

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  • Oh, you have rectangular tiles. Then the answer is simple. DrewJordan outlines it for you in his second paragraph.
    – isherwood
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:37

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What you should have done instead is leave a 1/4 inch gap between the backerboard and the vertical flange, and let the tiles hang down past the vertical flange to 1/4 from the horizontal tub deck surface. That keeps everything nicely separated while allowing water to flow down past the flange.

At this point you need to remove the bottom row of tile. If you can find the same style tile in a rectangular shape that will come down far enough, go for it. Other options would be a completely different (but complementary) tile for the bottom row, or a thin decorative row between the second-last row and the fixed (lower) bottom row.

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  • Yerp, sounds about right. I've attached a pic. I can't quite picture the aesthetics--I'm open to any options, but how would it look to use two rows of the blue squares (there are 4 rows near the top) as a spacer above the bottom row? Or to use two rows of shortened (2"+2" instead of the current 3") white tiles at the bottom? THANKS.
    – Phil Esra
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:37
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    I'd lean toward a "soldier course" at the bottom--a row of vertical tiles.
    – isherwood
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:38
  • @isherwood, using the same white tiles but rotated vertically?
    – Phil Esra
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:41
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    @PhilEsra absolutely. It'll end up looking like a design decision, and nobody but you will know the difference.
    – DrewJordan
    Mar 8, 2016 at 19:48
  • Except all of us that read this. But we won't tell anyone. 😉
    – ArchonOSX
    Mar 8, 2016 at 21:02

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