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Old 02-05-2011, 07:09 PM   #1
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


HI

I'm trying to replace my very old tub and tiles shower with a new tub surround. I am in the process of removing the old tile. It appears that the tile was not attached to backer board. Instead it looks like they strung wire across the studs and just packed all kinds of cement into the wire and put the tile into that.

When I try to chisel into the tile, there is no wall to pry against to remove it, the wire just bends.

Has anyone seen something like this and have any suggestions how to get this tile out?

Thanks

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Old 02-05-2011, 07:46 PM   #2
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


Smack that with the side of a hammer to knock out the plaster and concrete---cut the wire with tin snips ---that's always just a hard messy scratched knuckle job---

Wear a mask-----Have fun---Mike---

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Old 02-05-2011, 08:42 PM   #3
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


So just whack away at it. Would a bigger hammer help or is there a reason it would do damage?

Right now I'm using your basic 16 ounce general use hammer but I thought about getting a 2.5 pound one to make it quicker.

I'm also trying to chisel from the outside but the cement and plaster is so thick the tiles aren't just breaking loose and falling out like some videos I've seen.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:33 PM   #4
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


Those were tough walls---use the force you need---BFH-(Big Friendly Hammer)--Just don't make a mess of the wall on the other side----Mike----
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:52 AM   #5
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


You can try and smack up the wall on the edges then with the wire cut it and see if you can pull the wall off as a sheet. It is worth the effort since i have only had that happen once lol! Every other time it is a messy but fun job breaking like 3 tiles at a time then moving to more.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:28 AM   #6
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


You should take the wall material off in layers from the bottom up. The tiles and the little english muffin sized pieces of concrete will pop off with the hammer blows and some levering action with a pry or crowbar. If you have diamond lath on the studs, use a crowbar to cut the verticals from ceiling to tub and remove it in sections. Leather gloves, eye protection, dust mask and covered skin will reduce the bleeding. The lath will slice you like a tomato. You might need 2 pairs of heavy leather gloves to get through the demo.
The fun part is where the lath overlaps at the ceilings and is 2 layer thick. If you want to keep the ceiling, you'll find a grinder a good tool to cut cleanly through the lath.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:20 PM   #7
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


Thanks for the tips, guys.

It looks like there is regular drywall behind the wire mesh. I didn't realize it as the plaster/cement, tiles, wire and dry wall have all kind of fused together.

I am making slow progress with a chisel and trying to get between the wire and the tiles and break them out.

I can't cut the wire and pull it down because the cement is so thick (thicker than the tiles) it is attached to the dry wall too.

Do I need to worry about keeping the dry wall? Or can I just use a sledge and bust the tiles out? I thought the surround just attaches to the studs and provided its own support.

Also, what is diamond lath?

I am a complete newbie at remodeling so I appreciate them patience and advice.

Thanks!

Last edited by STEELER929; 02-06-2011 at 12:22 PM. Reason: typo/spelling error
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:23 PM   #8
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


I just started the same thing, well 2 weekends ago. I did as everyone here said, BFH did the trick, I used a blacksmith's hammer and just HIT in sections. Wearing big boots is recommended too. Was so heavy getting the entire shower out. My builder went STUD-BLACK PAPER-CHICKEN WIRE-2" CONCRETE FLOAT-MORTAR-TILE. I don't see how such a burly process is cheaper than using a backer board?? why do builders do it like this? and I am an example that this method certainly is not waterproof!
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:54 PM   #9
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


Quote:
Originally Posted by stiksandstones View Post
I just started the same thing, well 2 weekends ago. I did as everyone here said, BFH did the trick, I used a blacksmith's hammer and just HIT in sections. Wearing big boots is recommended too. Was so heavy getting the entire shower out. My builder went STUD-BLACK PAPER-CHICKEN WIRE-2" CONCRETE FLOAT-MORTAR-TILE. I don't see how such a burly process is cheaper than using a backer board?? why do builders do it like this? and I am an example that this method certainly is not waterproof!
This was the building process used for a long time. I've seen it in houses built in the 1880's on Long Island. I don't know how far back it goes.
Concrete backer board is a relatively new process.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:04 PM   #10
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


Quote:
Originally Posted by STEELER929 View Post
Thanks for the tips, guys.

It looks like there is regular drywall behind the wire mesh. I didn't realize it as the plaster/cement, tiles, wire and dry wall have all kind of fused together.

I am making slow progress with a chisel and trying to get between the wire and the tiles and break them out.

I can't cut the wire and pull it down because the cement is so thick (thicker than the tiles) it is attached to the dry wall too.

Do I need to worry about keeping the dry wall? Or can I just use a sledge and bust the tiles out? I thought the surround just attaches to the studs and provided its own support.

Also, what is diamond lath?

I am a complete newbie at remodeling so I appreciate them patience and advice.

Thanks!
Strip the wall to the studs. There's no reason to save anything and the clear room gives you a chance to inspect the structure.
Diamond lath is a product used to hold masonary products to the wall, such as, stucco and plaster base coats.
Do a google for a picture( or wait for a more savy computer guy to post it).
Ron
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:06 PM   #11
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


So don't worry about damaging the dry wall behind the wire?

I will google search for the diamond lathe.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:05 PM   #12
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Removing shower tile when chicken wire was used as backer board


That stuff that looks like drywall is actually gypsum lathe--1940's till present---came to used after the days of wood lath----Mike---

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