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Old 07-13-2006, 04:32 PM   #1
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Strange Wall Material Under Shower Tile


I was removing some tiles from the shower wall. They had begun to buckle and I suspencted some water was getting under them. The building is rather old (turn of the century,) and under the tile there was a thin layer of paint/plaster that had definitely seen some moisture. Under that was this grey material that initally looked like cement, but when I put a putty knife to it, it just crumbled like it was dirt! Does anyone know that this is, or more importantly how to prepare this surface to recieve tiles? Again, it's a shower, so moisture is an issue.

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Old 07-13-2006, 08:24 PM   #2
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Strange Wall Material Under Shower Tile


In this era many were still building their own homes. Also they hired recent immigrants for this type of work, each had their own way of doing things. No building codes back then.

I could take a few guesses on what was used to set the tile (not that it matters) what ever is underneath it is anybody's guess. I could well be a mix of cement, horsehair, asbestos, local clays and anything else. Horsehair and asbestos were commonly used as binders.

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Old 07-14-2006, 06:21 AM   #3
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Strange Wall Material Under Shower Tile


It sounds like you have plaster and lath.
this must be removed because it will not hold the tile.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:44 AM   #4
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Strange Wall Material Under Shower Tile


I think there is eventually terra cotta bricks (hollow) under all the grey stuff. I understand that durock (sp?) is a good material to mount tiles on in a wet area, but in this situation, attaching it to the terra cotta could be tricky. Can I apply cement or some other hardening substance to the wall as a mounting surface for the tiles?
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:50 PM   #5
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Strange Wall Material Under Shower Tile


How is the current material attached?
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