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Old 04-04-2009, 12:58 PM   #1
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Repairing a Bad Tile Job


My shower was tiled about 10 years ago. My husband is constantly caulking the shower. I was cleaning it today and the caulk was coming apart. Underneath, was a disgusting buildup of mildew. I removed all the caulk in the shower and saw that some of the tiles are not even flat against the shower. It almost seems that when this workers tiled the bathroom, the tiles did not fit, or they were coming off the walls while drying. Is there any way I can fix this? Also, on the seams of the shower around the corners, there is no grout. I do not know if I pulled it off while removing the caulk or there wasn't any there in the first place. I don't want to fuss at my husband, since he hired the workers and he is already knew they did a screwed up job. I do not mind labor, I can handle that. I guess what I am asking is, can I grout the places that are gapped, and the places that have the tile sticking out from the wall? Can I re-grout the whole shower over what is there? Do I need to remove those tiles that are not flat against the wall? If so, can I re-use those tiles and put them back on? Any help is appreciated. Thank You.

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Old 04-04-2009, 03:09 PM   #2
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Repairing a Bad Tile Job


We run into this situation every month. It has most to do with the construction of the whole system, not with the quality of the products nor perhaps the quality of the workmanship. It has to do with waterproofing. Showers in the millions are built just like your one, and one by one they're falling apaprt.

Water has somehow gotten behind the tile, mold has grown and has fed off the wallboard. The only solution to your problem is to take down those walls, including the wallboard and tiles, and pitch it. Go right back to the studs and start from there.

Then: new drywall, new waterproofing membrane, thinset and tiles. grout with standard non-sanded grout and seal the grout. Cement board can get in there somewhere but depends on what waterproofing system you adopt. We can advise on the specific details of each system down the road...

You're not alone..nowadays, we build showers to last 40 years, not 10.

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Old 04-04-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
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Repairing a Bad Tile Job


I don't know if you're in as dire straits as ccarlise suggests but won't know for sure until you provide a little more info.

Mold and mildew will grow under caulk in wet areas.

First, are these tiles loose at all? Give them a good thump with your hand. Push on the shower walls, especially down low to see if there is deflection.

If the tiles aren't loose and the walls don't move when you shove on them, it could just be a sloppy tile job.

The lack of grout where the walls meet could be any number of things. Maybe there was none to begin with. Sloppy work in one area usually means sloppy all around.

Or, after ten years of expansion and contraction every time someone took a hot shower, that grout might have crumbled out. It's probably why the caulking started.

Yeah, you can grout the gaps and grout can be beveled in where the tiles are sticking out. You may have to re-grout it sooner than later because it could fall out again.

You can re-grout a shower, but that's a lot of work. To do it right you have to get enough of the old grout out for the new to "grab." Grout is a filler, not an adhesive.

Other than that, you'll have a hell of a time trying to remove part of the shower tiles and re-do them. It's often better in that case to tear it out start fresh like ccarlisle suggested.
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