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Discuss How should my bathroom tile be laid out? in the Tiling Forum area at

  1. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

    Hi all,

    New to the forum - thanks for having me and sorry for the long first thread.

    I’m having my bathroom retiled (after a hilariously bad tile-job by another company - more on that later) and am hoping for some advice on how to lay out the tiling on one of the walls. It’s being done by a professional tiling company but I’d like to be able to specify how I’d like the tiles laid out because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I know that if I leave it to someone else to decide, I'll always wonder if I should have made a different decision.

    The tiles will be 24x12” and will be horizontally placed. I’m leaning towards a vertical stack pattern rather than broken joint or 1/3rd joint, etc as that seems to be the fashion out here. The tiles are rectified porcelain concrete-effect, so a modern tile in a modern bathroom.

    But I’m struggling to reconcile a number of detail issues.

    The wall in question is the head-wall for the tub. It has a 30” wide tub with shower controls on the wall over the centre line of the tub (so the controls are centred 15” from the side wall). But the tiling area is 33” wide to allow for a slight overhang for the shower curtain to sit on so the centre line for the tiled area is 16.5" from that wall. So the shower controls are centred over the tub, but are not centred within the tiled area...

    If I use a vertical stack pattern, should I:
    A. Centre a tile on the shower controls and use a small filler piece on either side (one of which would be 3” wide and the other being 6” wide)
    B. Centre a tile within the 33” wide area and use identical small filler piece on either side (both of which would be 4.5” wide). This would make the shower controls “off centre” in relation to the middle tile by a few inches.
    C. Place a full tile against one side of the 33” area and then use a 9” filler to complete the row using only 2 tiles. This would have the shower controls way off centre in relation to any tiles.

    Obviously I can’t have all of these 'wishes':
    1. The tile centred on the 33" wall area to allow even filler pieces each side.
    2. The shower controls centred over the tub at 15" from the side wall, for symmetry for the tub filler spout.
    3. The shower controls and tub filler centred on the middle line of a tile.
    4. Only two tile pieces per row (i.e. no small filler pieces)

    What would folks on here recommend? The shower controls and tub filler cannot be moved and I wouldn't want to, even if they could. I also don't think that the 33" tiled area can be shrunk down to 30" to match the tub width - I believe that the 3" overhang is standard best practice.

    Attachment PDF showing a schematic of the situation. Obviously once I make this decision, that'll dictate the rest of the tiles on this wall.

    Next question will be about where I place the first row on that wall: at the ceiling, on the tub deck, at the floor level...

    Thanks for reading and sticking with it!

    Attached Files:

  2. Tile seller

    Tile seller Active Member

    How about this?

    Pic attached

    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Paul C.

    Paul C. Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler

    Personally for the sake of even cuts and a focal point, I would centre off the section above the bath. But that's even dependent on where the rest of the cuts in the room would fall.

    You could centre the joint with the shower valves but that would leave a nasty slither cut down the left hand side which would look awful.......

    unless you had something that was approximately bath to ceiling height that you could simply wang right in the corner in front of it to hide it, cuz then it would be perfectly acceptable??? like..... a thin tree in a pot? or an inflatable sword-fish?
  4. Waluigi

    Waluigi Top Contributor

    Vertical stack pattern and centre the valve/bath tub.

    For me anyway. Sometimes you have to be in the room though to get the feeling. Focal points vary depending on what you have in the room. Some rooms you can discard all the rules of tiling because it just doesn’t look right visually.
  5. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

    Thanks for the replies, folks. Much appreciated. Couple of thoughts:

    1. The tub sits right in the alcove so there’s only a 1” rim in that corner - way too small to put anything on to hide the corner tiles from tub to ceiling. And I just sold my last inflatable swordfish. ;)
    2. If the left tile in the stack is cut at 18” wide and the right one at 15” wide, not only is the stack itself unsymmetrical by a visible amount (I don’t think you’d notice 17” on the left and 16” on the right, for instance) but as soon as you factor in the shower controls, a bather would see that the grout line would look strangely off-centre where it hits the shower controls.

    We’d ruled out the 50/50 brick pattern overlap and are moving away from the 66/33 overlap too because it looks a little old fashioned to tastes over here (I’m an English expat in Vancouver, Canada). Stacked tile seems to be the way to go here these days - especially with large format tile.

    It seems that we either have to:
    1. Forget about the shower valve position and only focus on the tile in relation to the wall itself. Which would suggest a 16.5/16.5” symmetrical stack and we’ll have to accept that the grout line will hit the shower controls off centre. OR
    2. Forget about the wall area and centre the tile grout line on the shower valve.

    I have attached 2 PDFs showing these layouts, with the rest of the wall and window included.

    All thoughts appreciated.


    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  6. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

    Sorry folks - those PDFs are huge. I'll drop the tile texture next time...
  7. Tile seller

    Tile seller Active Member

    Grout line centre of the valve looks best to me.
    It's also,(as the valve is placed) centre of the bath too then.
    I think your notice where the grout line sits more than the tile length either side of it.
  8. Localtiler

    Localtiler Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler JOTM Winner Top Contributor

    This is very comprehensive! I hope you don't rub the tiler up the wrong way.
  9. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen Metro specialist & forum entertainer! Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler JOTM Winner Top Contributor

    Are you an engineer by any chance...?
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

    I’m an architect, hence the diagrams.

    In terms of rubbing people up the wrong way, I have a new policy after being too trusting and having too much faith in people to make sensible decisions: anyone who interprets clarity and specificity as an irritation isn’t someone I want to be in the position of paying to work for me.

    I’m already having to redo this tiling job because I put too much faith in the guy who did the last install. Attached is one example of where he ignored instructions to limit the foot wall to two tiles per row and instead doggedly stuck to an exact 1/3rd overlap...

  11. Waluigi

    Waluigi Top Contributor

    Yes those slithers would irritate me.

    Personally I would welcome these decisions to be made on my behalf when I came to tile a room.

    I’ve worked out the tiling with customers a few times and it takes a long time to empty your brain out and explain why things are done a certain way. Also sometimes it’s good to get a customers perspectives
  12. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

    Exactly. I’m totally happy to listen to the thoughts of the professionals - they know a lot better than I do, which is why I’m on here. :)

    I’m also happy to take 100% responsibility for the decisions that are made when it comes to details - as long as I’m given a chance to hear and understand them first.

    The last tiler was clearly out of his depth and/or rushed the job. So the new tiler has specifically requested that he and I run through all the decision points together so that we can agree on everything so there’s no surprises for anyone. It’s taking a chunk of my time to do that but I’m more than happy to trade my time for a well-done job - especially if it reduces stress on all sides.

    I’m going to post photos of the current tile job shortly so I’ll put a link in here. I’m more than happy for everyone to offer their opinion as to whether I’m just being fussy. :)
  13. Waluigi

    Waluigi Top Contributor

    Decisions should be made together, sometimes.

    You can soon tell the types of customer that employ you purely for you to make the decisions as the professional and those who take an interest and then those who need to know every last cut.

    It doesn’t really bother me although sometimes it can take a disproportionate amount of time to work things out. Usually it’s many decisions throughout a compete refit so can slow the job down.
  14. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith Active Member

  15. Waluigi

    Waluigi Top Contributor

    Yes it’s dissapointing when you see stuff like that.

    I visit a lot of domestic properties and find poor tiling in the vast majority. Most run of the mill tilers don’t have high standards.
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