Setting tile on steps


Active member
Sep 17, 2021
Orange County, CA
Moved from here.

I love that smaller it on the point with space between each tile so it is an accent instead of a straight line side by side.
Kimkats, with accent tiles placed 1.5’ apart (1x1 in a 9 tile diamond) on steps, Baja shelf and long bench, when would you think they should be laid? Before plaster or day of?

With the pool being demoed, the new steps and Baja are level with a flat surface, but the chipped out steps/benches are bumpy and uneven. Im concerned those tiles will be harder to level. Do you know how they do it ahead of time? Just lay them on mortar bed or do they do anything else to make sure they’re level. Trying to think ahead so I’ll know what is best practice.

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Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
The mortar bed should help level them out. When to put them on is really up to your PB. Some like to do it way ahead of plaster some do it the day of plaster. It really depends on the availability of the subs is my bet.

I would keep a close eye on the tile setters to make sure they really know what they are doing to make sure the tiles ARE level and will not be higher than the plaster when it gets done. I would also make sure they do NOT use grout around the tile. The plaster should be used instead when it is done.
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Michele K

New member
Nov 14, 2021
Southern California
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
My PB has been trying to convince me out of the trim tile since the beginning. He says they fall off and don’t look good and likes the clean look of the pebble sheen. I really like the finished look with the trim tile. I am Inatalling one row of 2”x1” of porcelain tiles. He quoted me $25 a foot and neglected to say linear. I thought it would be a couple hundred dollars. I buy the trim tile and now that we have shotcreted even though my contract said Gunite he wants to charge $1600 as it is linear feet. I have 60 linear feet and one row of tile on steps and benches of 13x27 pool with a submerged spa. It seems excessive since the tile guy said it only takes a couple of hours. Any thoughts?
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