How to fix this? (Shower wall tile)

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Old 08-31-16, 02:59 PM
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How to fix this? (Shower wall tile)

Hi! I have an area of tile in my shower that has been gradually pulling away from the wall. No water has been leaking into the basement below, so I'm assuming the tile is adhered to a concrete backer board and the the water that's been getting behind it is running down the front of the board and coming out under the bottom row of tiles at the tub's edge and back into the tub.

The section that is pulling away is 4 tiles wide and 3 tiles high. I need to remove this section of tiles and the old backer board and replace the board. I then need to replace the tiles. The big issue is that although I don't love the tiles (they came with the house), I need to re-use these same tiles, as I don't have any extras and the whole bathroom is tiled in the same tiles.

Another issue is that the soap dish is actually attached to 4 tiles. Can I use a hand held grout saw and try to remove those 4 tiles as one large section? Also, what's the best way to remove the old mastic or thin-set from the tiles?

In the pics, you can see the gap (covered in clear tape).

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Thanks!
 
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Old 08-31-16, 03:11 PM
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Are these vinyl tiles??!! Sadly they have no place in a shower area. I am glad you are not in love with the tile design. About the only way to correct it is to remove all the tile and wall fixtures, check to make sure you DO have an adequate backer behind them, and if not remove all that and install a proper backer, then redo the area with ceramic tile. We can walk you through it.
 
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Old 08-31-16, 03:15 PM
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Most likely a much larger area is compromised. You're only seeing the worst. If you're very careful you can remove the soap dish and attached tiles without breaking them. Remove as much of the tiles as needed until you are certain that you have solid cement board. Remove enough tiles so that you straddle studs. This may be harder than it sounds. You can scrape the tiles to remove most of the mastic but I doubt you get it totally off. But that may be OK. A flat grinding disk can help remove much of the mastic, but don't be to aggressive.

If you're successful with removing the tiles, then we can address the problem of properly repairing the wall.

Send pics as you proceed.
 
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Old 08-31-16, 03:42 PM
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Thanks guys. Chandler....I should have stated it in my post, but these are ceramic tiles. Norm201....Good to hear that I don't need to get all of the old mastic off. Are there chemicals that make it easier to remove? Also, will a hand held grout saw do the trick for removing enough grout to allow me to pull the tiles apart?

Thanks again for your help, folks!
 
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Old 08-31-16, 04:21 PM
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Also, will a hand held grout saw do the trick for removing enough grout to allow me to pull the tiles apart?
If it were me I'd be willing to do it. If you can "saw" out the grout to the point that you're hitting the backer board then you should be able to squeeze a hack saw blade between the tiles and cut out that section.

I said that scraping the old mastic is possible and it will be time consuming. You will want to remove as much of the mastic so that you can nearly see the underside of the tile. Then very carefully using a file or the edge of the sanding disk cut grooves in the left over mastic so that the new thinset will have something to grab on to.

Here's the problem...The work you are going to go through to reuse those old tiles will likely cost more in time and effort than buying new tile and replacing all the wall with hardiboard and new tile. Yes, it will be a major re-model, but I think it will be the better choice. Tiles can be had a low cost if you look for bargains. And besides today's style wall tiles are in the 9" to 12" to even 14" squares size that will make the job easier and the room look bigger than those small 4" squares.
 
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Old 08-31-16, 04:43 PM
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I just made a repair on my brothers shower with exactly what you have. Lucky they installed Red Guard to protect the wall from water. You might not be so lucky. I could remove the mastic with a stiff brush and warm water.
 
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Old 09-01-16, 12:55 PM
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Until you remove the tile and see what is going on behind the tile you will not know how to make the repair or one can be made. All we can do is guess at what you have. Remove the tile and tell us what you find behind them. Post some pics.
 
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Old 09-01-16, 01:08 PM
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Mastic is not rated for a wet location. If that is what was used, then you "MAY" have a chance of getting the tile off the wall. If thinset was used, the chance of getting the tile off the wall is close to zero. If it was me, and I have done this, is to remove the whole wall and replace with a complimentary tile that works with the ones you already have.

Use an oscillating saw with a thin grout blade to remove the grout. You must isolate the tile from the grout or you will have blow out of the adjacent tile when you try to remove them. If I was asked to bid on the job your describe, I would probably decline. I have done dozens of updates to commercial baths in hotels where we remove colored soap dishes and replace with white. Also remove colored towel bars and bullnose and replaced with white. Removing field tiles would be in pieces only and the soap dish is jack hammered off after isolating it from the tile grout.
 
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Old 09-01-16, 08:21 PM
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Thank you everyone for your input and info!!
Replacing the tile on the whole wall was suggested but that tile runs up all walls in the bathroom, plus the ceiling as well. I've thought about trying to change just the shower tiles, but not sure that would look right.

When I push against the tiles that are tenting outward, they move easily, so I know they will probably separate from the backer board easily as well.

Not sure if I'll get to it this week, but I will post pics once I get the tiles removed. Once the tiles are removed, if I only need to remove the section of backer board in that section, any tips on cutting backer board in that situation?

Thanks again!!
 
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Old 09-02-16, 05:51 AM
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Based on the look of your tiles, I suspect there is only drywall behind the tile.
 
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