Repairing plaster behind shower tile

Old 08-17-16, 01:35 PM
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Repairing plaster behind shower tile

I'm in a house built in 1969. Some walls seem to be plastered - the exterior ones it seems. Anyhow, I have a shower stall (no tub) in the master bath. The bathroom is a fresh remodel done before I purchased the house about 3 years ago. Luck me, they tiled over the existing tile.

Now, the soap dish on the wall became loose and fell off. Behind it you can see where the old tile is at the bottom (it's white). They apparently removed the tile directly behind the soap dish to make room for the soap dish itself - it's resin and has a backer plate attached to its back that's about the width of a tile. Behind the soap dish is a sort of brown plaster. It was actually in not terrible shape; the only mold is on the actual tiles sticking up at the bottom (see pic). It was, however, cracked and a bit crumbly. I attached some photos of what it looked like when the soap dish came off and then I went ahead and removed the loose plaster using a oscillating multi-tool. I took the loose tan colored plaster off down to the base of darker colored cement (you can faintly see it in the last pic - its in horizontal rows). I'm assuming it's attached to some lath and it appears to be in good shape - not cracked or loose, quite solid.

Now I'm left with this void, however. It's about 3/4" deep. What sort of plaster should I use to fill the void and how should I go about attaching the soap dish to it? I'm thinking about using durabond plaster to fill it and then let that dry and attach the soap dish with polymer enriched thinset mortar.

I could also stick some hardee board to it using the thinset and fill the void that away (it'd probably take a very generous layer of thinset on the front and back to fill the void however).

I have neither the time nor the money nor the inclination to tear out the entire bathroom. I suspect it's poorly constructed but I'd like to make do as best I can for the time being. The folks at the big box store were idiots - the most knowledgeable swore it was dry wall (it isn't) and wanted me to cut down to the studs and screw on a piece of hardee board.

Name:  behind soap dish.jpg
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This is it after the soap dish came off.

Name:  behind soap dish plaster removed resized.jpg
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This is the hole after I cut out the loose plaster.
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Old 08-17-16, 02:21 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Ugh. The only real solution, in my mind, is to rip it all out and start over. Are you up for that or do you just want a half-a$$ed temporary work around?
Old 08-17-16, 02:42 PM
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I'm going to have to half ass it. The mold situation does not look bad so I think it's ok to cobble it back together. The thing is, it at least looks good. If it were dated I would consider a remodel..

The misses also desperately wants a tub in the future. I'm not sure how that'll ever fit but when I figure that out then I'll do a remodel. In the meantime I need this serviceable for another couple years.

What do you advise?
Old 08-17-16, 03:45 PM
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I'm not sure if the tile damage is only located on the one diagonal tile or if it extends to the adjacent tiles. It could just be dirt or adhesive which could be cleaned easily. If that is the case, you could possibly purchase a similar or decorative tile in that size, build up the back with thinset until the tile lies flat in the opening. Then grout it. That's the 1/2 way to do it, but it may last until you can do your remodel.

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