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Old 08-01-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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shower/tub surround prep. question


Hi , well i bought a 3 pc. surround today from Home Depot, nice one for $209. I started taking everything down, my shower door, fixtures, when i tried to take down my soap dish (the kind that is recessed in the tile) i noticed a lot of very loose tile. So i said no biggie i will take down the loose ones and just re mud them up. The bottom tile were there when i bought the house over 10 yrs. ago, and the top tiles (gray) i just put up about 3 yrs. ago.
As you can see in the pic. i had to remove a lot of the old tile. They were all loose and came off the wall really easy. I didn't think it was a good idea to put a surround over the loose tile.
Now i have a little problem as you can see. All the tile still on the walls are in good shape, solid. Underneath the tile is cement board i might add.
My question is can i buy some sort of 1/4 " board and just cut and glue or screw??? to the cement board to make a flat surface. Now i am sure the water was coming from the tile, it was in bad shape. Any suggestions???
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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I'd recommend tearing down the old tile and attaching new cement backerboard directly to the studs. That will leave you a nice flat substrate to attach your surround to.

Covering water-damaged walls up is not a great idea. You're always better off getting all the damaged material out of there. If the old backerboard was getting water in it, you can rest assured that the studs behind it got water in them too (unless there was a moisture barrier installed back there).

Be sure to properly seal the new surround before using it!

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:40 PM   #3
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Well, in spite of the fact that I see lathe (chicken wire) behind the soap dish and knowing full well that lathe is more difficult to take down that many other wall coverings, I will not hesitiate in agreeing with kctermite and say take it all down.

Sure, it'd be easier to chip away at your tiles, clean the plaster, put up some sort of 1/4" board (if they sell that) the put your surround on top of that. But you would be covering up a potential problem and that's not something I would do, nor do I recommend. It may take you another 2-3 hours work from here, but IMO that time will give you piece of mind. Mold? gone!

You may be lucky and get most of the mold off but chances are better you won't. And they'll be back.
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Old 08-01-2008, 09:36 PM   #4
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For the record, they do make 1/4" cement backerboard. Don't take that as a recommendation though.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:38 AM   #5
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After taking down some more loose tile, i am convinced the right thing to do here is take down the back wall and side wall, put a new water valve in because it is old. Had my contractor over to see what he thinks. I showed him the surround i bought from HD and he said it will leak after time. He convinced me to go to some local kitchen and bath shops that sell cultured marble surrounds. So that's what we're going to do for now, buy a good one and i will return everything that i bought.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:13 AM   #6
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Well, if you're going to cultured marble, there's another big reason to take it down...walls behind cultured marble have to be true, straight, level, flat (any other adjectives I can think of?) and at 90 degrees to each other in order to make the fitting easier. If they're off, it makes it tough...

That's the sort of imperfection surrounds will hide better than rigid polyester/marble panels will. Make sure the colour of the walls is suitable for the panels you buy (viz: a dark wall will show through some light panels).

Good luck! Tell us how it went...
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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all the old tile on the bottom were glued on, not in thinset. probably why i was having such a hard time with water. anyway i am taking down the tile now, the old tile is easy to remove , the new tile (silver) , which i put up in thinset are very hard to remove. what is the easiest way to remove the tile????
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:28 PM   #8
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If the tiles were "glued", the setter probably used a tile adhesive, commonly known around these parts at least as "mastic"; mastic is an organic-based material that dries by evaporation of a solvent. Now drying this way requires an air space to dry into, which tiling onto a wall usually doesn't provide - the tile surely doesn't. Therefore tiles stuck with mastic take days to dry, literally. I mean, who's go that amount of time?

What's worse is that mastics as I said are organic-based adhesives. When they get wet, they degrade (revert back) to their original form, ie. a paste. When that happens your tiles usually fall off by themselves! Experienced tilers don't use mastic in wet areas, although the containers say you can...

Easiest way? Mechanical. ie. hammer and chisel or hand-held electric chipping hammer. If you're taking down the substrate (ie the wallboard, or cement board, whatever) I take it down - tiles and all.

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