repairing tile shower wall using original tile


Old 10-14-00, 02:34 PM
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A portion of tiled shower wall has collapsed. the sheetrock apparently was wet. The tiles did not break. Can the old tiles be reinstalled with the old adhesive on them?
If not, how do you clean them?
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Old 10-14-00, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Katy (Houston area) TX USA
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Hi Ken,

It's not worthwhile to try to save the old tiles. If you scout around you can probably find the same tiles still being sold. (If they are 4 1/4 in. wall tiles).

You have what we call in the trade a "sheetrock shower." Don't you just love your builder?

In our business we don't repair sheetrock showers. We tear them out and redo them using metal lath and cement mortar (the way they should have been done to begin with), but I will tell you how to repair your shower.

First of all, the damage extends several rows of tile above where you think it does. So remove all the tiles up to a point where the sheetrock is still solid. Then cut out the sheetrock altogether and replace it with 1/2 in. thick cement backer board, available at either a tile supply or at Home Depot, etc. A couple brands are Durock and WonderBoard. A better one is Hardi-backer.

This part is important. Do not cut the old sheetrock off even with the last remaining row of tile. Cut it about two inches below. Then when you install the backer board adjacent to the sheetrock, a row of tile will bridge the two materials and keep things from "flopping in the breeze," In other words, the tiles will hold everything together.

When you tear out the sheetrock, check for rotten wood framing. You cannot remove these framing members, but you can screw new pieces to them, shoring them up. If there is none now, install flat blocking between the studs where the walls join the floor of the shower. The blocking will keep the lower portion of your repair from "flopping in the breeze."

Set the tiles with thin set mortar (the white one, formulated for wall tiles). When the tiles have been set, grout with wall tile grout (no sand). At the "cold joint," where the wall meets the floor you might need to use caulking instead of grout to hold that together.

Allow the repair to cure four days and then seal everything with a penetrating tile sealer. Let it dry overnight and you're ready to go.

To maintain your sheetrock shower and make it last as long as possible, check out:

If you have more questions, launch another post.

Good luck,


[This message has been edited by John Bridge (edited October 14, 2000).]
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