Shower tile situation

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Old 12-15-16, 04:30 PM
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Shower tile situation

I have an issue with my shower floor. The grout that was in place when we moved in, almost a decade ago, started cracking. I removed the old grout and regrouted using a premix. That didnt work so good, even after being left to dry/cure for seven straight days. So I pulled that grout and used some Tec unsanded.
That seemed to go pretty good until Tuesday morning when I noticed the grout had cracked along the edge of the tile bordering the drain. After closer inspection I found the tile was loose. The following images are what I found.

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The "sand" is about 3/4" deep. There is a membrane under it. The "sand" is wet under at least two adjacent tiles. The "sand" seems pretty hard where it isnt wet. Is this something that can be repaired or am I getting ready to rip out a shower? Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 12-15-16, 06:25 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Sadly, you are looking at removing the floor tile, just to find out how it was all installed. There should be no "sand" in that area. There should be a hard packed concrete/sand slope over the membrane.
 
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Old 12-15-16, 06:34 PM
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Thanks for the response. I have been beating up the interwebs for a while now and I am thinking I may be looking at the remains of the mud base. It may be important to note that once I popped the tile out i used the screwdriver I still had in my hand to poke and prod into what I now think was the mud base. I didnt poke any holes into the membrane! Would it work to pull out the two tiles where the mud eroded and just remud it?
 
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Old 12-16-16, 02:38 PM
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You said;
"I have been beating up the interwebs for a while now and I am thinking I may be looking at the remains of the mud base."

Yup, that's what it is alright. It's a poor example of deck mud, but........

First of all, those are ceramic wall tiles on your floor, probably bathroom floor too. (?) The genius builder and tile guy did that to save $$$ and to keep it simple to match with the walls. Soft bisque tiles have an absorbency rate approaching 20% of its weight in water. Although it was common in the '80's-'90's, most have realized it's not the right thing to do. Porcelain ceramic is impervious and by definition porcelain is rated at 0.5% or less.

The mud right there shouldn't be thinner than 1 " if the mud was mixed & applied right, (doesn't look like a good mix from here). I'd be surprised if the adjacent tiles are firmly set, especially now that these are gone.

I would remove all the mud and do it again the right way using the correct tiles.

BTW, I bet you have no pre-slope under that membrane and I'll bet the weep holes were also plugged when they placed the mud. Just a hunch.

Jaz
 
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Old 12-17-16, 11:34 AM
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Thanks for the response,
Yeah this is in a bathroom. The floor outside the shower is 4" hexagons but I don't know if they are porcelain or not. The shower floor is sloped towards the drain. So your advice for doing it right is pulling it out and redoing it.
Before I commit to that. Can this be repaired? I haven't found any other loose tiles. The ones where the mud had also eroded from (about 1/4") are so solid I am betting ill have to break them to get them out.
I like the one before me, need to watch my pennies (I may be out of a job in a couple months). So if I can get this fixed for now and for less $$, thats the way I need to go. I don't like doing it that way but it is what it is.
Looking forward to yalls responses

P.S. How do I tell a regular ceramic tile from a porcelain one?
Also the mud looks to be about a 1/2" deep at the drain.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 06:56 PM
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Yes of course the floor is sloped towards the drain. You may have been confused by my mention of a "pre-slope". Pre-slope would be under the membrane if you had one. Not a factor now if you're not gonna redo it at this time.

The other reason I said to rip it out is that you originally said it's " thick at the drain, now you're saying it's ". That's very thin and I wouldn't want to be stepping on it. If you had intensions to redo it, I'm guessing it would cost you about $50-60 for 9-10 ft. of 2x2 porcelain, a bag of Sand Mix, a bag of thinset and a bag of grout, and 6-8 hours of your time over 2 days, (assuming you've never done this.) Do a repair and you save the $30-35 for the tiles, the rest is the same. Try it, it might last a while.

BTW, you never said if this is on a slab or a suspended wood subfloor.

Regular soft ceramic is usually listed as ceramic wall tiles and usually 4.25x4.25, 6x6 or could be rectangular. They're also made in hex and oct. to match the wall tile sizes. Ceramic wall tiles are almost always individual tiles, not sheet mounted. If you change your mind you'll find 2x2" porcelain mosaic mounted on sheets. Take a piece of the tiles you now have and place a few drops of water on the back, the water will soak in within a few seconds. (20%). A few drops on porcelain will stay for hours. (0.5% or less).

Jaz
 
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Old 12-17-16, 09:59 PM
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OK, thanks again for taking the time out to answer me. For clarity The tile I removed was next to the drain...on the side away from the drain it was 3/4 and 1/2 on the drain side, so a 1/4 slope over 4 inches.

This is on a wood sub floor. The membrane does indeed look to be laid on a slope, best I can tell from the 4 inch section I can see.

If I do go with a rip out (what I want to do), it looks like your saying just take the mud and tiles out and replace those two...how will that fix the issue of the mud only being 1/2 inch at the drain?
 
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Old 12-18-16, 11:11 AM
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You can't see the pre-slope under the membrane. It's important if you wanna redo this right next time. For a repair, matters not.

"If I do go with a rip out (what I want to do), it looks like your (you're) saying just take the mud and tiles out and replace those two...how will that fix the issue of the mud only being 1/2 inch at the drain?"

You'll place new deck mud and make it thicker as it should be. You'll unscrew the strainer part of the drain. Have you looked to see what that drain looks like? Go to the orange place of Lowes.



Jaz
 
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Old 12-21-16, 09:09 AM
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Ok, so I convinced the boss lady that the time and money would more than likely work in favor of ripping it out and starting from scratch. That being said are there any recommended step-by-steps that you guys would suggest or should I just stick with the plethora of youtube videos? They all seem to follow about the same process. Also, is there anything I should look out for during the rip out? Thanks again for your time.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 09:38 AM
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This guy has a pretty comprehensive instructional blog about installing a shower pan with preslope. It is a 5 part series so read it from start to finish. He is pretty humorous as well. How to Create a Shower Floor – Part 1
 
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