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Old 09-08-2012, 06:23 PM   #1
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Repairing 1950's loose shower tiles


We just bought a 1950's ranch house, and a few of the tiles "felt loose" after playing with them, quite a few starting coming off.

The wall behind the tiles is plaster and solid, with no "soft spots" etc.
Can we just clean the thinset/mortar off the walls, and apply thinset and set the tiles back?

I have rehabbed quite a few houses and am familiar with tiling, but I usually have my contractor do the tile, so I just wanted to make sure I was doing it the right way, and also since this was repairing old tiles, not new installation.

Also some of the quarter round tiles that are on the bottom edge of the tile where it meets the tub have come loose. These tiles are set on top of the 4x4" white tiles, do I use mastic/thin set for these as well?

Any advice / input is appreciated!
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #2
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Repairing 1950's loose shower tiles


#1 There should not be tiles directly over plaster in a wet area without a waterproof membrane over the plaster. Tile board would have been even better.
#2 Someone used mastic not thin set. Mastic turns to mush when it gets wet.
#3 Looks like someone used the wrong toothed trowl when spreading the mastic.
#4 There never should have been 1/4 round at the bottom of that wall. It allows the water to get in behind it. There just should have been caulking. The tiles were suppost to be set just above the tub.

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Old 09-08-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Repairing 1950's loose shower tiles


@joe - The whole house is plaster, and it looks like the shower area is too. Are you suggesting to demo the the whole shower area to install concrete board?

It looks like the the original thin set / mortar that was installed 60 years ago? It does not look like any major damage has occured, just some deteriorated thinset.

Also, what toothed trowel should I be using on this? thanks for the responses.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:43 AM   #4
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Repairing 1950's loose shower tiles


That looks like an old solvent based mastic----it has become brittle and lost its holding power---

If you are looking to restore the original 'retro look' ---I am not sure what to suggest---modern mastics will re emulsify when they are exposed to moisture--so thinset must be used---thinset will make for a thicker bed and push the replaced tiles proud of the existing tiles---

I suppose you could remove the whole wall full of tile----clean the tiles---water proof the old plaster area with redguard or Hydroban--then thinset the tiles back on---

Not much likely hood of you getting all the tie off without breaking something in the process.---Mike---
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