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How to Tile a Tub Surround: 3 Steps to Success

The beauty and function of modern tile makes it a perfect choice for your bathroom design. Tile adds visual depth and color, and is also resistant to moisture. To protect the space around the bathtub, which is a prime area for spills and puddles of water, you should learn how to tile a tub surround. Here's what you should know about the process.

Photo features American Olean Infusion tile on the tub surround.

Step 1: Pick a Base Tile

Selecting a tile is the first step to designing the perfect tub surround. One option is to simply match the current floor or shower tile to provide a clean, streamlined, and consistent look. Another alternative is to coordinate the tub surround with your existing tile but use a different size or shape. For instance, if there's an oversized floor tile, try pairing it with smaller tile on the tub surround to generate a cohesive design. Alternatively, you may opt for a completely different material for your bathtub surround. For example, using a colored tile on your tub surround can visually lift an otherwise neutral bathroom.

Step 2: Measure Accurately, Account for Trim

Tiling a tub surround can pose more of a challenge than working on a flat, square floor or wall area. The curves and corners of bathtubs call for exact tile measurements and the use of trim tile. Tiles may also need to be cut to fit around tub fixtures, so before you purchase tile, determine the amount and type of trim tile that's required to complete the job.

Step 3: Add Accents According to the Layout

Bathtubs are often used as a design focal point. Large tubs can anchor your design and center the room's layout. Recently, modern showers have taken some attention away from bathtubs, or at least given them a rival in terms of attention. Freestanding soaking tubs are also gaining in popularity, and can be set in front of tiled accent walls to add drama and attention.

Given these new trends in design, your bathroom layout may ultimately determine how you accent the tub surround. Do you want to match the tub surround with the shower tile? Or will your bathtub serve as the primary feature in the room? Incorporating glass mosaics or decorative accents into the tub surround will draw the eye to this area of the room, or you may choose to incorporate the same accent tiles in the shower and vanity backsplash to balance out your overall design.

As modern bathrooms have changed, advanced tile options have been designed to meet your updated specifications. If you're wondering how to tile a tub surround, follow these three steps. When you're ready to view the latest suggested patterns and colors, head to an American Olean retailer.