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Old 09-20-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


My home was flipped on the cheap by investors about 5 years ago. It's a 100 year old rowhome missing one of its mates (torn down long ago), so one of the exterior walls is simply brick covered with stucco on the outside, and drywall on the inside. There is no insulation whatsoever on this wall. The longest side of my bathtub/surround abuts this wall.

The morons who flipped the house installed new drywall over the old drywall (which may in fact be over plaster, I have no idea), then put a cheap shower surround over that. Of course, the surround is badly cracked and the drywall behind it is growing mold. I would like to demo the whole thing, insulate as best I can, install a moisture barrier, and then tile over cement board. However, there is no room for insulation without framing out the wall, making the bathroom practically unusable in its current layout. What a mess!

Any recommendations to make this work? I'm a young homeowner without much experience, and this would be my first DIY tile job. The further I get into it, the more I wonder if I just need to demo the whole bathroom and start from scratch--of course I don't have $10-20k to play with.

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Old 09-20-2009, 02:30 PM   #2
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


Unfortunately your BEST option IS to take the entire exterior wall down to the bare framing members. Insulate properly, drywall, tile backer, and tile. Naturally the other shower walls would be done too. Might not have to "completely" demo the rest of the bath. Hard to say, sight-unseen.....

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Old 09-20-2009, 02:37 PM   #3
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


Thanks, BJB. The issue would be finding the room for insulation--I don't think I could fit batts in there without framing the wall out 6" or so (and losing valuable bathroom space). Do you think I could get away with a layer of rigid foam insulation, or spray it into the narrow cavity between the brick/lathe and drywall? Much appreciated!

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Unfortunately your BEST option IS to take the entire exterior wall down to the bare framing members. Insulate properly, drywall, tile backer, and tile. Naturally the other shower walls would be done too. Might not have to "completely" demo the rest of the bath. Hard to say, sight-unseen.....
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:17 PM   #4
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


There should be wood stud framing there. Brick is a "veneer". There should be a wood framed wall, some type of exterior sheathing, then the brick. In which case you could use batt insulation. Unless the "common wall" between buildings was brick or more likely concrete block with brick veneer (for fire code). You may be looking at concrete block on the interior wall and the brick outside. IF that's the case, you would still be best off (in my opinion) to take the exterior wall down to the basic framing/concrete block and start from there. Use furring strips (glued and screwed to the block) and rigid or spray foam insulation to achieve the max R-value possible if it's block. Use the correct R-value batt insulation if there is wood framing.....
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:39 PM   #5
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


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There should be wood stud framing there. Brick is a "veneer". There should be a wood framed wall, some type of exterior sheathing, then the brick. In which case you could use batt insulation. Unless the "common wall" between buildings was brick or more likely concrete block with brick veneer (for fire code). You may be looking at concrete block on the interior wall and the brick outside. IF that's the case, you would still be best off (in my opinion) to take the exterior wall down to the basic framing/concrete block and start from there. Use furring strips (glued and screwed to the block) and rigid or spray foam insulation to achieve the max R-value possible if it's block. Use the correct R-value batt insulation if there is wood framing.....
Again, thank you for your helpful response. The common wall is just plain old brick, nothing extra there. I've seen another room along the same wall after it had been gutted, and it's just brick with wood furring strips and framing. So I could potentially fit some foam board insulation in there, but probably not much more. I am not sure what kind of moisture barrier I'd need, either.
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


I'm sure you'll get more responses offering more enlightenment. If the space is that small, would you consider deleting the tub and just get by with a nice custom shower?? Have a seat installed so you can sit and relax. That would give you the space for insulation and probably some extra storage shelves/cabinet on one wall. Just a thought....
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


You could use an insulated backer like one of these.
http://www.marmox4u.co.uk/marmox_50m...cker_board.php
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:57 PM   #8
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


Possibly good advice if the shipping isn't too much and the cost (now that the dollar isn't worth much) is reasonable. Of course there may be a distributor on the "states"....
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:20 AM   #9
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Installing tile over uninsulated wall?


They are not cheap, as a 4ft x 2ft x 2ins is £35 pound ( not sure of current exchange rate). The ad does say free shipping over £75. They are usually fixed to brick or block walls with adhesive, as with most insulated drywall boards here. They could be available in the USA, although their target market is small old row houses with solid brick 9 inch walls, which make up about 25% of our housing stock. I thought Philadelphia had loads of them after watching Rocky.

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