Due to tight schedules, many times the tile installer is called to get on the job quickly and to complete the work in a short period of time. While this is not unusual, precautions must be taken to protect the surroundings. When the project involves installing tile in a bathroom, whether it is new construction or a remodeling project, it may be the responsibility of the conscientious tile professional to protect the fixtures, especially the bath tub.

The first step in this process is to closely inspect the tub for manufacturing defects, chips and scratches beforework is started. If work is begun without notifying the owner of any of the above conditions, the installer may be responsible for the cost of repairing or possibly replacing the tub.  Make this review process a “must do” for each project.

If any defects are found in the inspection process, the safest way to communicate this fact to the owner or builder is to always do so in writing. A simple email noting these conditions is sufficient and ensures that the customer doesn’t contract convenient amnesia in the future and forget what was said.

Protecting the tub can be done in one of several ways. Start by damp wiping the surface to remove any construction dirt or grit. Allow the surface to dry and cover with a protective layer. This could be a clean heavy-duty drop cloth or a furniture pad that conforms to the tub shape and is taped to the tub edge to keep debris from getting underneath.

There are also manufacturer-produced options that are made specifically for this purpose. Heavy-duty cardboard units cover the entire tub from wall to wall as well as the front face. Many times these products can be salvaged and reused on the next job.

Liquid coatings also offer protection from thin-set mortars and grouts. These products are applied either by spray or brush and are allowed to dry to provide a tough finish as shown in the photo. Once the installation is completed, the coating is simply peeled away and discarded.

The use of tub protection is not only a common sense, potentially money-saving choice, but it builds consumer confidence beyond expectations by demonstrating concern for the customer’s property.