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Old 10-14-13, 01:13 AM
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RotoZip Trainee/DIY Rookie

I cut a 5"x4" rectangle into a tile on a shower wall in order to prepare it for the mounting of a tile soap bar holder. Unfortunately, after making the cuts and prying the cut tile away, the drywall crumbled apart, leaving me with nothing but insulation for that 5"x4" back area.

Obviously, I need a solid backing in order to secure the soap dish with ceramic tile adhesive and adhesive caulk, but all I have is one stud on the left of the cut. There is nothing else to secure a repair piece to. I have included a photo of the work area to this post. Since there will be overlap of the soap dish edges and uncut tile, can I proceed with packing a big glob of the tile adhesive between the back of the soap dish and the insulation, then a healthy bead of adhesive caulk on the overlap areas? Any help with ideas to best meet my objective is appreciated in advance.
 
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Old 10-14-13, 03:55 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Sad to say, the construction of your shower unit will fail in short order due to it being on sheetrock rather than concrete backer underlayment. You have opened a hole that will most likely be the way for water to enter if it isn't sealed properly.

Here's a repair method among many, I am sure. Cut two pieces of plywood slightly narrower than the hole is tall and about 4" longer than this hole is wide. Have PL 8x adhesive and sheetrock screws handy, along with a driver. Screw the boards together leaving a 1" gap between them in the form of a cross. Daub the ends of one of the boards with the PL8X and insert it into the wall behind the sheetrock and hyper extend it so you can return it on the other side. With half of the cross on the outside, rotate it in the same position as the under board and lightly tighten the screw until the back board contacts the sheetrock. Once this has dried, remove the screw. You now have a backer to apply a new piece of sheetrock to. Cut your sheetrock and screw it to the plywood backer.

Seal the edges of the sheetrock with caulk, tape off the face of the tile really good and apply RedGard to the sheetrock and all around the perimeter of your hole. This is to prevent water infiltration. Once it is dried you should be able to apply your soap dish.

Stay tuned as there may be more less insane methods of doing this.
 
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Old 10-14-13, 07:15 AM
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I'd like to ask what is on the other side of the wall? There is insulation, so is it an exterior wall or just a soundproofed bathroom? The insulation is unfaced so I hope it is just soundproofing.

If an interior wall, I would be inclined to open up the other side and insert a horizontal block nailed to each of the studs flanking opening. Once in place, I would insert a 1/2" piece of Cement Backer from the tub side. If you want any chance of the soap dish not falling out, you need to adhere it to cement board not drywall. Use a dry mix of Thinset not a ready mix as it is in a wet location. Finish it off with copious amounts of grout color matching flexible caulk that completely fills and seals the depth of any gap between the dish and the surrounding tile. Then pull and massage the bead of caulk to look good.

You are going to have to be a stickler about keeping an eye on the seal around the soap dish. Particularly if it is in the direct stream of water area of the shower. Moisture will eventually seep behind if you are not careful and the whole wall will disintegrate from behind. And yes, I have had to repair whole walls because of similar installs.
 
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Old 10-14-13, 10:40 AM
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A possibly "insane" method:

If this were my repair I would fix the hole as suggested previously but then I would use a stronger adhesive than ordinary caulk or thinset to hold the soap dish in the hole. I'm assuming it has a flange. Run a thin bead of OSI Quad Caulk around the flange--enough to squish, but not squish out. Then once cured run a bead of standard adhesive caulk around the perimeter to seal and for better aesthetics.

In my somewhat limited experience Quad Caulk can't be ripped apart.

For safety's sake regardless how you attach it, don't mount a soap dish that also has a hand-hold (aka washcloth bar). I wouldn't trust it.
 
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Old 10-14-13, 11:32 AM
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If you do a web search for "recessed ceramic soap dishes" you'll see they fit in the hole requiring no backing. They're cemented in with either grout or thinset, even plaster of paris. of course they will need caulked in or waterproofed around the edges. We have used them many years ago even on drywall applications, I was surprised they still make them, they were used for mainly wire lath/mud job installations. I'm just throwing out another solution
 
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Old 10-14-13, 01:15 PM
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He is not installing a recessed soap dish, as he has already stated that he needs a solid surface to attach to. I assume this is the type of dish that is being installed.

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Old 10-14-13, 01:56 PM
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like i said, just another solution
 
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Old 10-14-13, 07:44 PM
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I appreciate all the suggestions. I started to jerryrig a back surface today, splitting wood in the process, but I'll get there. Thankfully, it's the rarely used guest bathroom, so it is not in need of immediate use, nor will it be exposed to daily water flow.

Let me be clear, when I said I need a backing, that was an assumption based on past projects dealing with mounts onto drywall. The soapdish is a recessed soap dish (see attached image). My interpretation of tileguy's feedback is that it is possible to meet the objective without manufacturing a support piece behind the work area.

My plan was to use the ceramic tile adhesive in the picture along with some adhesive caulk to set the dish into the tile. The plan was built around the assumption that I would have/need a support piece behind the wall to which the tile adhesive could bond, thus cementing the soap dish in place. Bottom line question, is it necessary to have the back support piece, or are the products to be used sufficient for the long-term hold without a fabricated back support? Thank you again for all the feedback.
 
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Old 10-15-13, 06:14 AM
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If you google the terms mentioned by tile guy you will see that a "recessed" soap dish literally sits completely inside the hole and does not extend out past the shower wall but for the thickness of the flange. Yours sits completely outside the tile wall and the center of gravity thus will exert a lot of force on the flange. The flange on yours is there to conceal the hole in the wall, not to secure the dish. Your dish is held in place by the bond created between the backer board and the backing of the dish that sets inside the hole. You need surface area to hold yours in place.

FYI- an adhesive that sits for years inside a tub and never cures is not, IMO, the best choice to adhere your soap dish. Also, if you read the fine print, you will note that ready mix adhesive is not for use in a wet location (i.e. shower). Portland based cements, from a dry mix, that set up by chemical reaction would be my first choice. Concrete vs Glue - there is another active link on a similar topic (ceramic towel bar holder fell off) that used glue with disastrous results.
 
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Old 10-15-13, 09:51 PM
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Thx Czizzi. I misunderstood the recessed part for some reason. I will go with a cement solution. Makes sense. That tile adhesive does state it is usable on shower walls just not shower floors. Does that change your opinion, or should I target the cement solution exclusively?
 
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Old 10-16-13, 07:45 AM
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Does that change your opinion
Nope -

Here is a link to your adhesive's detail sheet at Custom Building Products

AcrylPro® Ceramic Tile Adhesive | Custom Building Products

Under Limitations Here are 2 bullet points of note with regard to your installation

"Recommended for interior use only. Do not use for steam rooms, shower floors or underwater. For those installations, use CUSTOM® Polymer-Modified Mortar Systems."


Custom Polymer-Modified Mortar Systems are Dry Mix Thinsets!



"Do not use to install fixtures, ungauged natural stone, gauged stone thicker than 3/8" (9.5 mm), transparent glass tile, Saltillo pavers or lug back tile on floors."


Specifically states Do Not Use To Install Fixtures
 
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