I don't know of any residential construction process that requires more people than installing and tiling a whirlpool tub. As a tile setter, I'm among the last in a long line of tradespeople involved, including framers, finish carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and drywall finishers. With so many people on a project, it's not unusual to encounter sequence problems. Adding to the complexity, jetted tubs have electric pumps and other mechanical systems that require periodic service and maintenance, so planning for future access is important.

With help from my plumber, I've learned how to get a good tile job with minimum disturbance. My approach also provides hidden access panels that allow the pump to be serviced. I know it's possible to install a tub without going backward or undoing someone else's work, but in my world that never seems to happen, so this is how we deal with a...

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