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doublerc 07-01-2011 10:25 AM

Broken Ceramic Toilet Paper Holder - Built in
1 Attachment(s)
I am going to be refreshing an old bathroom in the house, and I am all set with resurfacing the tile and bathtub, however I have this broken ceramic toilet paper holder, and do not have the piece that broke off to re-attach it. I have attached/posted a picture of what this looks like.

I'm wondering what will be the best method to removing the existing one (keeping the surrounding tile in tact) and replacing it with a new one?

If someone could share best practices in removal, surface prep, and installation that would be great. (I was thinking just take a hammer to it and see what happens, but I decided to slow down and ask first lol)

Thanks in advance for your replies!

gregzoll 07-01-2011 10:27 AM

They make tools to cut the grout, or use a dremal. A sharp utility knife works also.

doublerc 07-01-2011 11:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I assume use the dremel tool or grout remover, then pry off the fixture with a crowbar??

Bud Cline 07-01-2011 12:52 PM

The joints are way too tight for a Dremel, don't do that. Use a utility knife and remove as much of the caulk and grout as you can get to. Don't be lazy about it though because this is important. Remove all you can and open the crevasse as much as possible around the perimeter. Then you should find something to make a cut somewhere across the paper holder. A Dremel will work for that purpose. Once you have relieved some of the surface tension...THEN you can use a hammer to break-away at the fixture. Whatever you do don't pry on it if prying includes using a prying tool against the tile you intend to save. Go slow, be deliberate with every blow. You can take that thing out of there without damaging anything but don't rush into it.

That particular fixture is common and you can find a replacement easy enough. The new fixture can be installed using 100% silicone caulk and duct tape after cleaning the hole of all remnants of old adhesive or thinset.

DrHicks 07-01-2011 12:57 PM

Good points made - especially about being very careful. You've only got one chance at getting that off there without breaking stuff.

I'm not as patient as Bud, and would at least try a Dremel Multi-Max (or the off-brand equivalent). Again, just be very careful!

Bud Cline 07-01-2011 01:27 PM

I'm not all that patient either but I have learned over the years what works best and what makes your life miserable and can end up putting all of your wages for a given job in someone else's pocket are two different things that I can actually control.:yes:

As great as the Dremel rotary tool or any of the multi-tools are sometimes just plain ole elbow grease is the best.

I say that in this case because that particular tile is easy to mark with any kind of a metal or metal tool and any of those vibrating tools can easily screw you. Once the marks are there on the surface of the tile they can't be removed for some reason. Even using a utility knife is a hazard.:( One little slip and...........holy crap !!!!!!

Ron6519 07-01-2011 05:56 PM

Some of those old accessories can be pretty deep in the wall. I'd take a grinder and cut an inch or so in, all around the perimeter. This leaves the edges intact. Take the grinder again and cut open "V"'s on the edges, open to the middle. Take a hammer and chisel and tap the edges toward the center. The "V"'s should break off, not impacting the surrounding tile. You can either fill the center or cover the tile space with another accessory. Or both.

Thurman 07-02-2011 12:41 AM

Remove all the grout surrounding the fixture with the best method you have, be it an electrical tool or by hand. Go deep as these did tend to be thicker than the surrounding tile. Notice how recessed it is. Drill a hole, the larger the better, right in the middle of this fixture. Then use a cold chisel or tile chisel to start breaking this fixture up from each corner to the hole, it will be easier than you think. This will allow you to remove the broken pieces from the "pocket" it is installed in with very little collateral damage to the tile surrounding the fixture. When you have it out, remove all the back mastic you can up to the edges of the existing tile(s). You can still buy these fixtures at most tile stores, not the apron stores. I've done a few of these in my years.

doublerc 07-02-2011 10:00 PM

thanks everyone so much for the helpful tips. I am going to take this on in a few days and I will try to post an update on my venture.

doublerc 07-16-2011 12:46 PM

Update to my efforts in replacing this tile
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I told you guys I would post an update, and now maybe you experts can give me some direction on rebuilding/replacing what i've demoed at this point. I took some pictures of my progress and I am going to describe what was going on:

1. Tried the recommendation with cutting the border using the dremel tool, and my results were minimal. (maybe I was using the wrong cutter piece, not sure).

2. I found that my chisel produced better results as the grout border seemed to break away okay.

3. It was recommended to drill a hole in the middle of the holder to break the surface tension... That didn't work out so great, as with my masonry bit it took about 10-15 min to just make a dimple in the surface.

4. and 5. I did use the recommendation of chisel from the outside in, and breaking up the piece. I spent a considerable amount of time and force in this process, and manage to only slightly chip the tile above the holder.

6. I was able to break through the entire piece, but I found more "ceramic" behind and around the piece. I am new to this, so I had no idea what the material was/is and just kept chipping away. after further research on the net, it appears the walls contain plaster and it looks like the holder was set in additional plaster? Maybe someone can clarify this for me

7. I noticed a piece of string inside of the broken up holder area. I take it this was used to mark off the tiling areas?

8. & 9. I continued to break up and clean out the pieces of holder/plaster & "drywall"? until I reached a wire lath. I figured this would be my ending point.

Now the question is, what is the best way to fill in this hole and secure the new holder? Please advise lol

Thanks so much everyone for the help!

Bud Cline 07-16-2011 01:12 PM

What you have there is what is known as a "clincher" type paper holder. And yes it is a plaster wall. First thing to do is to buy your new paper holder (also clincher style) and go from there. I still see some of the old thinset remaining (photos 8&9) and that needs to be removed.

Once you have the new paper holder in hand you will be able to determine if you have removed enough of the old debris by fitting the new holder into the recess.

Once the recess is cleaned and accepts the new paper holder you would use thinset mortar to install the new paper holder and duct tape to hold it in place until the mortar dries.

I suppose someone will come along and suggest you use 100% silicone in place of the thinset mortar, that could work but wouldn't be my adhesive of choice.:)

doublerc 07-24-2011 10:17 AM

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So I managed to knock out the rest of the ceramic from the original holder, and a good amount of any loose/cracking plaster in the hole. Now i have a relatively "clean" hole that is 6 x 4.5 x 1 deep. I purchased a new toilet paper holder, and size-wise it will fit, but it isn't nearly as deep as an inch. It only goes back about 1/4" and the recessed part is only 4"x4". What do I fill in this 1" deep hole with to be able to adhere my new paper holder?

del schisler 07-24-2011 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by doublerc (Post 692528)

So I managed to knock out the rest of the ceramic from the original holder, and a good amount of any loose/cracking plaster in the hole. Now i have a relatively "clean" hole that is 6 x 4.5 x 1 deep. I purchased a new toilet paper holder, and size-wise it will fit, but it isn't nearly as deep as an inch. It only goes back about 1/4" and the recessed part is only 4"x4". What do I fill in this 1" deep hole with to be able to adhere my new paper holder?

the wrong one. They should have one with a flange around 1" so that is will fill up the hole. Take a broken piece to the place where you bought the new one from and let them get one that has the flange aprox that size

Ron6519 07-24-2011 12:56 PM

When you say the hole is clean, what's the hole base made out of?
If there's wood involved, you can screw in a wood blank thick enough to be about 3/8" lower then the tile surface. then get a construction adhesive and apply it to the ceramic and the wood. Place it in the recess and tape it to the wall until it sets.

Bud Cline 07-24-2011 01:03 PM


.......the wrong one.
Well that's not a "clincher" but it will work. YOU MUST USE MODIFIED THINSET MORTAR for this installation. NOT mastic, NOT premixed thinset, NOT brick mortar, NOT construction adhesive, NOT silicone.:no:

Unfortunately modified thinset comes in fifty pound bags. If you have an Ace Hardware in your area they sometimes stock it in ten pound boxes.

Mix it fairly dry. Wet the hole in the wall slightly. Wet the fixture slightly, not dripping wet, just a little moisture. Trowel-on enough thinset into the crevices of the wall-hole and into the holes in the back of the fixture so that when you press them together they will purge thinset everywhere.

Clean up the purging with a wet sponge. Have some duct tape standing by so you can tape the fixture to the wall overnight.

The fixture will want to slip and slide and move around and cleaning up the purges will be troublesome so be patient. Once the purges are cleaned and dug out as best you can tape the fixture to the wall with duct tape. You may have to dry the surrounding wall first to get the duct tape to stick to it if you have been wiping up purges.:)

Leave it over night and the next day gently remove the duct tape and finish cleaning the remaining thinset from the cracks that dripped out or you couldn't get to yesterday. Grout it.:)

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