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PT143 06-23-2012 04:41 PM

Re-tiling shower, gaps between wall and tile?
We discovered loose tiles in our stand-up shower, which led to the removal of the entire small ledge at the end of our shower where shampoo bottles and stuff go, along with two rows of tiles along the side of the shower. We had to remove all of the green board because it was crumbling; however, as we've tried to reconstruct the small ledge with the new backer board we've also discovered that nothing in the shower is level or square. As a result, the wall extending downward from the small ledge, once the backer board is installed, leaves really large gaps.

Not to mention sorting out the whole "grout vs. caulk" thing, is there something in particular we should be doing to eliminate those gaps? Or would grout/caulk do the trick? I've tried to post photos but the server is really slow today.

GRATEFUL for your input!

joecaption 06-23-2012 06:02 PM

Going to need those pictures.
A few rules, there never should have been any form or sheetrock in the wet area.
Caulk any place the tile changes direction or meets a dissimiler material.
Never use mastic, only thin set.

Never use the premix out of the bucket thin set.

oh'mike 06-23-2012 06:04 PM

Post a picture if you can--sounds bad---

That soap niche needs waterproofing--which is why the original work failed.

Bonzai 06-23-2012 06:10 PM

Grout is not a means of waterproofing. Sealed grout is also not waterproofed by the way (sealer is to help prevent stains). Technically using green mildew resistant drywall in a shower does meet the MINIMUM building codes in some locations, however many professionals will advise that it is far from a good idea ... regardless of location. I will go as far as to say it is lazy & shows no knowledge of modern building best-practices.

Can advise further once see the pics. Your location would also help so can provide appropriate info.

PT143 06-24-2012 08:51 AM

Photo complications
Thanks - These are helpful, if not worrisome responses. I'm not able to post photos despite downloading new software and trying several routes. If you are interested enough to send me an email message to the following email, I will happily respond with photos for you to review:

Thanks again!

wkearney99 06-24-2012 09:23 AM

Posting pictures it easy. Just use the website. Easy as can be. Just upload from your local drive and then use the text links they provide to put links to them over here in a post. No need for software on your computer.

As for the shower, when have water that's gotten in the drywall behind the tiles you're pretty much screwed. The water wicks and spreads through the material, making it soft, further loosening more tiles. Meanwhile providing a festering breeding ground for mold. The solution, horrible as it sounds, is to pull down the wall and put up one done properly. Put up appropriate tile backer board, seal it, apply the tile with thinset (mixed on site, not from a tub) and then grout it (also mixed on site). It's really not that horribly complex of a job, just a bit time consuming. But once you get going it the process is pretty straightforward. There's a great tiling forum website for this kind of stuff:

Trying to fix what you've got is pretty much NOT going to work. The longer you avoid fixing it right the worse the water and mold damage is going to be.

PT143 06-24-2012 10:02 AM

Thanks - now with photos!
Thanks for the suggestion! Much easier than uploading straight to the website.

See below for photo link - I included some before, during, and "after" demo pictures too so you all can see what we started out with. You'll see in here under the "special corner" photos what led us to our initial confusion - we realized it would be more tricky than removing and replacing cement board/tiles.

At this point I'm wondering if we shouldn't just pull the entire wall/shower down, as well as maybe just hire a professional. There doesn't appear to be any damage other than what we've pulled down. We'd hoped to simply repair the damage ourselves and learn some stuff in the process, but now I'm feeling like we just want to move on with our lives!

wkearney99 06-24-2012 10:53 AM

You're on the right track regarding demolishing the whole thing and starting over. It's really not beyond medium DIY skills to do it. It'd be helpful to have more of an overview picture to better understand just how big a job it might be.

From the looks of those wood pieces I take it there's shower bench? Those are notorious for problems. Schluter makes a good fabric product (Ditra) designed to be laid over stuff like that, as a means to provide a moisture barrier. There are other products too. You set it in thinset (on top of backer board), smooth it out and let it dry. Then lay tile as usual on that. The key is making sure the edges of it are appropriately sealed, giving any water that might get to to it a clear path down to the drain.

The problem with just patching it is you're still left with the rest of the wall and potential problems that will develop there. It's also possible that fixing it the right way won't sit as flush as the stuff up there now. That'd look bad and might leave a lip, which could be a problem for water.

A temporary fix might only serve to bring back the same stress again, and again, until you get it done right.

cube17576 06-27-2012 08:17 AM

The bench and niche should not be perfectly level. You want them to slope in towards the direction of the drain to help shed water. The faster and easier the water can get to the drain, the less time to soak through the grout and ruin everything behind again.

JohnFRWhipple 06-27-2012 08:21 AM

Drywall has no business in a shower renovation. No matter who says it's OK or how you waterproof over it.

That shower looks really bad. I'd be starting from scratch. You might be able to soak and clean the tile and reuse them...


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