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Old 09-18-2007, 08:57 AM   #1
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Removing shower tile


I'm doing a shower remodel for my girlfriend. The existing tile (to be removed) is mounted on what looks like cement board. But it's not Durock. It's older, but something similar. It looks to be about 1/2" or 5/8" thick. I didn't have a chance to take pictures, but my question is more historical. If they remodeled this bathroom in the late 60's or early 70's, what would they have used for a backing before gluing up the tiles? A friend told me about something called Fat Mud that they used to use. Anyone ever hear of it?

Also, any tips for removing the tile without damaging the underlying board will be helpful.
TIA

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Old 09-18-2007, 12:38 PM   #2
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Removing shower tile


Take this for what its worth)what you paid for it),,,I am just a DIY NOT a contractor.

The time you spend and unsatisfaoctory results of taking this off the back board,,,isnt worth it.

In just a few minutes you can be down to bare studs and ready to put up new cement board or backer board and have a smooth good surface to work with. have NO idea how to get all the fragments of mud off the exixting board.

You can then use the space to cure any existing electrical or plumbing problems too. Hardly a project goes by that doesnt have THOSE!!!

never saw a bath from that era that didnt have too few outlets(or NO GFI's) and too crappy of pipe to change a couple!!

By the way,,how is the "BASE" in this shower?? MOST of that era were also inferior!!

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Old 09-18-2007, 12:47 PM   #3
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Removing shower tile


The "shower" is actually an enameled tub that has tile around three sides. The shower head is at the end of the tub where the drain is. I can easily put up new cement board if necessary. I was just hoping that there might be a short-cut. I'm going to see what happens with a cold chisel and replace the wall if necessary as a last resort. Only the area around the tub/shower is being re-tiled. The rest of the bathroom has already been painted. The tub is recessed. This was sort of a last minute decision, "Oh, I'd like to remove the tile too."
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:44 PM   #4
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Removing shower tile


She must be the best girlfriend, ever. I don't think
I've ever heard the phrase bath remodel and last minute decision in the same sentence.
Ron
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:59 AM   #5
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Removing shower tile


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
She must be the best girlfriend, ever. I don't think
I've ever heard the phrase bath remodel and last minute decision in the same sentence.
Ron
True. But it's a remodel on the cheap. She painted the walls, bought a new cover plate, new shower curtain, etc. And decided she really liked the outcome. Then there's this yellow tile with a black tile border around the shower/tub. Suddenly, the tile has to go. She's going to tear into it with or without my help so I figured I might as well try and make it go as smoothly as possible. We all know, when the lady is unhappy, WE are unhappy. That's why men invented BEER. Except I don't drink (no reason) so I'm screwed. I'm better of just getting it done quickly. Hence, my original question.
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:16 AM   #6
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Removing shower tile


I don't think it's worth the trouble. Best case scenario is that the tile all comes off, taking some of the thinset off with it, and leaving some behind on the wall.

Then what are you going to do with the resulting uneven surface? You can't hang new tile on that. You'll have to tear out the backerboard anyways. You'll save time and spend no more money if you just tear out the whole wall.

The place you should spend money, is on the shower valve. If the shower was last remodeled in the 60's, you'll have a 2-knob shower valve, and that's a) a pain in the butt to get the right temperature, and b) a scalding hazard. While you've got the wall out, you should replace that old valve with a single-knob Symons Temptrol, or similar. It'll cost about $200, but you'll never be able to do it in the future, without tearing out your new tile. Now is definitely the time to get it done. You'll be spending a few hundred on tile anyways, so why not do this mini-remodel right?
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:35 AM   #7
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Nate,
I don't disagree with you about the time/hassle. I can put another coat of thinset to smooth out the wall board underneath and give me a nice flat surface to adhere the tiles. The wall board behind is about 1/2" thick, at least.

As for the shower valve, that is definitely out. She's on a very tight budget and not willing to spend the money. Tiles are only $0.16 ea so this project won't cost a lot, except for time and sweat. If I need to replace the wall board, I already have extra pieces of Durock that I can use. So money saved there too.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:26 AM   #8
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Get a new girl friend.

This one is training you. You will never have a minute of peace.

Your honey do list will be like a never ending story.
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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Removing shower tile


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
Get a new girl friend.
My manners being what they are, I can't respond to this in a public forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
This one is training you. You will never have a minute of peace. Your honey do list will be like a never ending story.
As for this comment, it goes both ways. She helped me work on my house. Ever see a woman wear a respirator and bust up lath and plaster with a sledge hammer? ... then she'll go out and work two jobs and raise two kids ... BY HERSELF!!! I don't mind helping out once in awhile.

'Nuff said.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:07 PM   #10
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gshock, I am sorry that my attempt at a little humor was not taken as such.

R&R tile at tub alcove is rather messy and best done long before curtains and paint.

If the walls in the house are plaster/ tub surround tile is original about six foot high with bull nose edge .. this fat mud.. or portland rich heavy scratch coat might be set in wire mesh. The tiles unless water damaged from the back side will not chip or chisel without heavy wall damage.

If drywall and if tile is as described above / this could be double green board with a rich mud coat.

This project will not be quick, easy, or cheap. (like some dates I've had)

protect your tub, consider what Nate & others have advised.

Good luck
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:23 PM   #11
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Removing shower tile


On the other hand Gshock, since you don't sound like you want a big project, I wonder if it might be better to consider leaving the tile in place and seeing if you can get it refinished. I've heard people tell me this is posible, although I've never seen it myself.

I just don't see much chance for you to do this project without replacing the wallboard, and if that's something you really don't want to get into, I'd rethink doing the project.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:49 PM   #12
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Have that tile expoxy coated and be done with it. Let her spend $500 and be done or you can spend $3500 of your time.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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Removing shower tile


HI there, maybe you should consider just placing the new tiles on top of the existing tiles, this will make the job so much easier. Assuming that you are using ceramic tiles they can be installed on most any type of surface as long as it is smooth, clean and even.

Kathleen H

Last edited by Ed the Roofer; 09-26-2007 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 09-26-2007, 02:33 PM   #14
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Now that sounds like a recipe for disaster. I vote for professional tile reglazing. Tile over tile might work on something like a tile table or something but on a shower wall? No way.
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:32 PM   #15
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As someone who just did a shower floor replacement - and had to rip out two bottom rows of tile to do it - my advice is: Redo the whole thing. yes, it IS possible to do partial replace, but it'll be HELL. I ended up with good results, but when I look back at it, I really wish I redid entire stall.

I'll give you a quick run-down.
1. Trying to pry the tiles from backerboard with a chisel. Trying not to damage tiles I plan to retain. ZERO success. I swear this thinset was stronger than tile itself. Tile breaking, chipping off under the chisel, and attempts to dig deeper take half the cementboard with it.
2. After spending half a day reducing a grand total of 3 tiles to tiny chips, gave up. Sealed the shower with plastic sheeting, put on overalls, respirator, gloves, goggles, earmuffs, and attacjed it with a masonry blade in a grinder, leaving about 3/4" of the 2nd row in place. Slow work. After 5 minutes, you put your hand in front of your face and you can't see it. Have to wait for dust to settle.
3. Finally, cut all around, and used hammer and crowbar to break out tile + cementboard.
4. Spend a full day caaaarefully taking out the remaining 3/4" tile slices and thinset. Cementboard somewhat damaged, but I did not worry much.
5. Jigsaw with carbide blade, cutting out replacement sections of cementboard. A bead of concrete adhesive applied to bottom edge of old board and to studs, cementboard sections installed and screwed in. Then, taped the seam and worked it with thinset mortar. I am still not sure how it will perform. Might have to retile in a couple years anyway.
6. Installed tile.
7. It was immediately apparent that I'll need to regrout entire stall - old dingy grout up top would look extra ugly above new white grout near bottom.

The thing is, once you spend all the effort trying to remove just a small section of tile, you will not be wanting to do the right thing and just demolish it all and installl new backer and tile.

I know what the right thing is now. Second bathroom on the line - I am taking a sledge to it and starting fresh.

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