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Old 11-23-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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Need help with re-tiling project


Hello handyfolk,

I have a 1950s-era house that I was unable to sell and had to rent out. My long term renters have just moved out. Apparently at some point they broke the soap dish off of the wall in the shower and attempted to caulk it back on themselves, resulting in swelling of the wall that tells me there's water in there. So...I'm pretty sure I need to rip out the existing tile surround, replace the insulation, cover with a vapor barrier, install some kind of waterproof sheetrock, do some other things that I'm not sure of, and then re-tile. I need advice on all the steps.

(I probably shouldn't do this myself, but there isn't anyone else to do it for me and I absolutely cannot pay someone else to do it. I'd be one paycheck away from bankruptcy, but I lost my job, so there's no check!)

Here are my most critical questions:

1. What is the best way for a 110 lb woman to tear down a tile tub surround?

2. Can vapor barrier be stapled to wall studs? Should it be?

3. Can I install the special sheet the same way I would put up a regular sheet of drywall?

4. What comes after that? Opinions seem to differ here.

5. How long will this take? Can I do it in a week? I kind of have to do it in a week...

Thank you so much for any advice given, and for your patience with my ignorance.

Good Intentions in Indiana

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Old 11-24-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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Need help with re-tiling project


Sounds like you've got a job on your hands. I'm an investor as well and can only imagine the problems.

I'm an amateur so confirm with an expert before you do the work.

The drywall should be concrete board (?) not regular drywall. If I was doing this (and I've just finished replacing tile in my bath), I'd take out the damaged drywall only as far as you see damage. Make sure the area is cut straight so you can measure the concrete board w/ regular angles like a square or rectangle. Cut the concrete board to fit the space (see if you can reference some drywall book on patching areas of drywall).

Of course tile installation is fairly easy. More than likely you will need a tile cutter (manual). Make sure you get wall grout (without sand).

The biggest obstacle is making sure the concrete board is straight underneath it all.

Make sure you use a silicone caulk to seal, seal, seal around the tub!!! Even a little water behind the wall can cause great damage over time.

Before you do anything, please get additional advice. All the best!

momof2labs in Fairfax, VA

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Old 11-24-2009, 10:11 PM   #3
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Need help with re-tiling project


Thanks Momof2labs, I really appreciate your info. I definitely want to make sure that I don't do anything that is going to let more water get into those walls! I've been asking around at hardware stores and amongst friends and I've gotten some pretty good advice. The project seems much less horrible now than when I started. The damage does not extend beyond the long wall of the tub, which makes it a smaller adventure & blessedly I was able to get some ceramic wall tile and non-sanded grout for free. Thank you for the tip about silicone caulking around the tub - really important!
Hopefully I can post a success story here soon
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:38 AM   #4
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Need help with re-tiling project


1. 3# maul and a wonderbar, glove/dust mask/safety glasses.
2. Yes and yes. If an outside wall, insulate also.
3. Never drywall under tile, always backerboard, hardibacker or cement board.
4. after backerboard is up, seal joints with mesh tape and thinset, then install tile, grout, take a shower. Oh wait, install the new plumbing first...shower valve and drain. The old drain is either too clogged, too small or both, replace it with 2".
5. It takes as long as it takes. If not full time or there is a lot of tile cutting, it takes as long as it takes.

If you don't feel comfortable with the plumbing, have it done right. Nothing ruins a new bathroom more that having to tear some of it out to make repairs.
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Old 11-25-2009, 07:13 AM   #5
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Need help with re-tiling project


Thanks Just Bill! The demo was a lot easier than expected, since the wall was pretty mushy in a few places, which made it easy to get started, and from there the bar worked great! Today I'm replacing the insulation, stapling in a vapor barrier and hopefully putting in the backer board, but I still need to do a little research on that. Hardibacker or Durashield, or is Durashield just a brand-name for hardibacker board? Also, some people/articles seem to leave out the mesh tape step. What is the purpose of the tape? Thanks!

GoodIntentions

Last edited by Goodintentions; 11-25-2009 at 07:14 AM. Reason: corrected myself
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:45 AM   #6
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Need help with re-tiling project


best way for 110# woman to tear down wall is to throw 210# man at it
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:48 PM   #7
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LOL, I've got about 400# of renters I'd like to throw at it, for sure!

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