If you need to know how to fill or seal gaps in bathrooms between a basin or bath and the wall, there are two ways of going about the job — you can use quadrant tiles or bath sealant.
Quadrant ceramic tiles are particularly suitable for sealing a wide gap against a tiled wall and will also hide any damage to the bath rim. They are easily cleaned but are liable to chip or crack if something is dropped on them. Also, if there is a lot of movement in the bath, they may lift. (If this happens, the tiles should be taken off and refitted).
The tiles are available in a range of colours designed to co ordinate with most bathroom suites and are sold either individually or in kit form —each kit contains enough tiles and adhesive to edge a standardsized bath on three sides. There are three types of quadrant tile: straightedged, mitred (for corner fitting) and roundedged (for outer corners). You may prefer to use a siliconebased bath sealant rather than ordinary tile cement when fitting the tiles, because it remains flexible and therefore tolerates slight movements in the bath itself.
1. When fitting quadrant tiles, always work from the bath corners inwards. Begin by cleaning the bath edges \and adjacent walls thoroughly. Then apply adhesive to the two flat edges of a mitred tile and position the tile in one corner.
2. Apply adhesive to a second mitred tile (or roundedged if appropriate) and place it in the corner at the other end of the bath. Work towards the centre from each corner.
3. When the gap between the Advancing lines of tiles becomes too small to take two complete riles, carefully measure and mark the centre point. Using this point as a guide, cut two tiles to An equal length to fit into the remaining gap.
4. To cut a quadrant tile, score it with a tile cutter.
5. Then hold the tile firmly in one hand end, with pliers or pincers, snap off the scored end. Alternatively, use a hacksaw to cut halfway through the unglazed side: turn the tile over and tap sharply.
6. When a line of tiling is complete, trim away surplus adhesive with a sharp knife and rub the tiles clean with a soft rag dipped in white spirit (or appropriate solvent).
Bath sealants, either acrylicbased or siliconebased, do not set hard like plaster or tile cement, but remain flexible and can therefore tolerate slight movement in the bath or basin without cracking. They can bridge narrow gaps, but if the gap to be filled exceeds 10mm in width, plug the space with a backing material such as plastic foam before applying the sealant.
Compared with silicone sealants, acrylic ones are cheaper, easier to apply and take longer to set (so mistakes can be rectified), but not all brands are suitable for use on acrylic baths.
Generally, silicone sealants have better adhesive properties, greater resistance to mould and are more elastic — but they are twice as expensive.
Silicone sealants are available in various colours to match most bathroom suites, but all brands of acrylic sealants are available only in white.
7. Before applying the sealant, thoroughly clean and dry the edge of the bath or basin. Then take the tube of sealant and cut the nozzle to size (slightly larger than the width of the gap).
8. Hold the tube firmly at an angle of about 45° with the nozzle touching either side of the gap. With an even pressure, move the nozzle forwards, squeezing the sealant well into the gap.
9. Smooth off with a wet finger (acrylic sealants) or with a dry spatula (silicone sealants). When using silicone sealants, work quickly as they set within 5 minutes. Both types of sealant can be trimmed later with a sharp knife or blade.
As you apply the sealant, try to make it curve slightly in pro file to allow for water runoff —a rag dipped in the appropriate solvent will help here. TIP: For a real first class cut mark the line along the wall with masking tape. Peel off as soon as you finish before the sealant is fully set.