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Amateur tries to re-build shower wall. (my quest)

Amateur tries to re-build shower wall. (my quest)


Old 05-02-19, 07:03 PM
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Question Amateur tries to re-build shower wall. (my quest)

So, youíre humble narrator is replacing a single shower-walló how hard can it be? Well, in my case, it can take years, LOL. I started this project 2 or 3 years ago and itís just not going anywhere, partly because of my excuses of not enough time, or Iíll do this later, or thatÖ

Well, I would LIKE to try to work on this a little bit each day (if I can) and hopefully get this damned thing fixed by the end of the month. No more excuses! And so, letís start with the prologueó

A number of years back, I noticed there were some tiles getting a bit loose. These were tiles at the bottom which extended down past the tub and touched the floor. I THOUGHT that perhaps the water that I leave on the floor from my feet or sprinkling from a hose perhaps was pooling against the edge of the tub corner and being soaked up through osmosis.

But the problem was worse than that. Because one day after having a shower, I walked downstairs into the OTHER bathroom (which I almost never had used in this house), and I then noticed there was water dripping through, quite a bit in fact.

This lead me to conclude there maybe was a pipe leak inside the actual shower wall in the upstairs.

Well, as you can see, I tore apart the whole shower-wall, assuming Iíd be fixing a plumbing issue, and then be good to go. Only to find out, that nothing leaks. I did many tests time and time again, no leaks at all. What I am 99% sure happened, is a seal must have been compromised near the shower wall, probably where it connects with the actual tub, and then water would get wicked up like hell behind the wall and then drip into the washroom downstairs.

IĒm pretty certain as the bottom part of the shower wall was pretty warped from water damage. The upper part of the mud-wall was pretty good though. And let me tell you, cutting through that mud wall was AWEFUL, and enough to make me want to hire a professional. However, I did want to do this project as a LEARNING experience as well.

My goal is to repair this wall myself, and learn first hand the process of getting it down pat, as well as all the tiling Iíll look forward to.

I am not looking for something permanent here, just a proper job, and my tiles do not even have to match. Iíll then re-tear [sic] it down perhaps in a few years (assuming itís still holding, lol), and then re-do the other 2 walls around the tub at the same time. Iíll take what Iíve learned doing this current job, to make it all look like a million bucks the next time around.

So, with that adoÖ Iím curious for peopleís expert opinions. I have found out that there is so much conflicting information on the internet, you can find the good, and the bad with any search. I was originally going to get some green-board because it is easy enough to work with, and our local laws allow itís use to be used for bathrooms around tubs. Though I have seen a lot of other people say donít use green board use the cement board!

If itís only a temp project, does it really matter much? As long as there is no leak anyhowÖ

Iím a bit worried on how IĒm going to make a proper seal (not with the tub), but with the pre-existing tiles on the side-wall, and also the ceiling. Iíve never even had to do a corner-bead in my life, though Iíve seen them done.

At the moment, Iím tired of having to use the shower downstairs, and would like to fix up this crappy tub/shower unit up here before another year ends of rolling by. No more excuses!

So, to re-iterate. Cement board or greenboard to get started? Iím going to take a while guess here, and assume cement is the way to go. But that will be a real problem in trying to cut out holes and such into it, I imagine. Maybe Iím just over-thinking this.

I should probably try to re-spray some anti-mold again in certain areas just to be safe.

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Old 05-02-19, 07:39 PM
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Cement backer board. Green board is not up to the task in a wet environment like a shower wall.
Old 05-03-19, 07:07 PM
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Thanks stickshift..

So, with the masses spoken, it appears that cement board is the method of choice. Though this will have to cause a change in plans, and hence I was doing some re-view on working with this instead of the Ďgreen stuffí earlier today.

In addiction, I made a trip to Home Depot for examination, and glad I did. They made a misprint on some of their details on the web site. At the moment, Iím thinking Instead of the 4íx8í sheet, I may just grab a couple 3íx5í sheets. Sure, this may require more taping, (and possibly less integrity?) but it would be much easier for me to move, pick up, and hang myself, not to mention Iíll have to do a lot of work on this with drilling out holes etc.

Looks like the 3íx5í was only found placed on the top of Home Depotís inventory racks, Iíll have to get someone to bring her down to floor level one of these days soon.

Iím going to have to re-think the next few days on how to join new cement board, to a wall-edge that already is titled, and make sure itís water-tight.
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Old 05-05-19, 05:14 PM
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This weekend's findings have solved a little bit of a mystery for me.

There was a small brown box collecting dust underneath an old workbench here. I had always assumed it contained tiles for the upstairs bathroom, and after some analysis I wasnít too sure until now., After getting rid of the dust and cracking the box open, sure enough, there were over 60 small tiles inside which had been left over from one of the previous owners of this house.

There was a date which went back to 1992, when a previous repair job had been carried out in the exact same location. Now I am left to wonder, if their repair job failed to really fix the issue, or was the cause of the current pending issue. LOL

Contents of this box are:
  • 62 Tiles (New Flat)
  • 3 Tiles (New Bullnose)
  • 1 Tile (Original)
All are sized 4.25Ēx4.25Ē
However! The original tile is 3/16Ē while the newer ones are 1/4Ē thick.

This does indeed explain a mystery I had been wondering about. After close analysis, the new tiles are pretty much all white, while the original has a little bit of brown tinting. It seems this was the closest they could come to a match for a repair job. And this also makes it easy to identify which tiles are new, and are original. Becauseó

It also explains why some tiles were noticeably sticking out quite a bit on the lower walls around the tub. The extra thickness is part of the culprit here.

Unfortunately, due to the small size, the count is nowhere enough to fill a whole wall. To keep things simplified, I have been told by a constructor a while back that no one really tiles with stuff this small anymore, and to go with larger sizes, which I may very well do after shopping around.
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Old 05-11-19, 06:39 PM
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I wouldn’t say “nobody” uses small tile. That’s your aesthetic choice.But, larger tile is more popular these days. A larger tile may be porcelain. That’s harder to cut: you'll need a wet saw.
If you're updating the tile, maybe consider updating the shower fittings too?
Old 05-12-19, 04:29 AM
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I know you want a quick fix to this, but really you already said you may want to remodel the whole thing later on. I suggest skip the quik fix and redo the whole thing now and do it right. You;ll learn a lot more and end up doing a better job.

And yes, cement board is the only way to go. I also agree with large tiles.
Dan1973 voted this post useful.
Old 05-12-19, 06:22 PM
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The size of the tiles doesn't matter, a close match to the existing would be appropriate at this time. Given that, small ceramic tiles will do nicely.

Use Durock 1/2 inch for your cement board and it must be installed with durock screws for it to hold properly. You mentioned an old mud wall. You may have to fir out the studs to duplicate the same tile placement relative to the existing walls.

When you hang the cement board, you are going to have to turn off the water, disassemble the tub spout and supply handles. Tape the seams on the cement board with a fiber tape and embed with thinset. Only use thinset that is mixed from a powder, never use a premixed product in a shower install, they are not rated for wet locations.
Old 05-21-19, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the posts guys. I didn't know about the rule to avoid premixed thinset. But I have not got to that stage yet.

Now, as for recent developments, I got side-tracked after noticing my utility room (which I did not check up on all winter) had an issue with condensation, and I found black mold running down a couple of concrete walls.

I ended up using the concrobium stuff to combat it. And also used their new stain remover. Unfortunately, their stain remover was only partially a success, so I'll worry about de-staining that room later.

Back to the reno job... some (bad) news. I decided to check on a loose tile on the side-wall to the tub. The loose tile was near the top, not the bottom as ironic as it may seem. And then the worse news, this would also not be a single-tile patch up, I was able to manually pry off 1/3 of the tiles from the top of the side-wall with just my own fingers!

As soon as I got lower than that, the thinset is almost like concrete, and I can't even pry the tiles off without manually breaking them painstakingly. I even bought an oscillating saw with hard-scrapers, and that won't even do the job for me. So I defaulted to hammering in scrapper tool for the time being.

For some unknown reason, on the whole upper region where the tiles all practically fell off, the thinset stuck to the back of the tiles, but separated from the wall. I'm not sure what caused that, perhaps they failed to do something during the original install (didn't mix well enough?).

So I will have to do tiling on at least 1.5 walls at this point...

Will try to pick up a 2n'd cement-board this weekend, as I'm going to need it anyhow. And perhaps a few more tools...

Oh, I'll need a corner bead as well. I've heard it said for bathrooms one should go for a bead made out of plastic or fiberglass instead of the metal ones.

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