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jgibbs 06-05-2012 10:51 PM

Retrofit ceramic tile corner shelf in shower
Install tile shelf in existing ceramic tile shower.
I am installing a ceramic tile corner shelf on an existing ceramic tile shower wall. I've researched this topic online. It seems there are two general methods discussed in DIY websites: 1) Set flat back shelf on surface of field tile using foam tape and silicone caulk; 2) Set "new" install shelf (i.e. with beveled rear edge) into a cutout in the field tile. Here are my questions:

1) If I caulk it to the surface of the field tile, will it be strong enough to hold up if someone slips and uses the shelf as a support?
2) I want to grout the joint to match the existing shelf and field tile, so I don't really want to use caulk, but I don't really want to cut into the field tile. Is there some other better solution?
3) In general, what do you think of surface vs. inset mount when doing a retro install? Should I steer clear of surface mount altogether?


oh'mike 06-06-2012 05:21 AM

Neither method will provide the support need to stop a human from falling--

A flat backed corner caddy glued to the surface with silicone and taped in place until the silicone sets is the best method .

Use a color matched caulk on the exposed seams after the silicone is set,if you wish.

Cutting the wall tile in order to use a lug back dish will be a huge risk and very likely will damage surrounding tile and disrupt the waterproofing behind the tile---Mike--

jgibbs 06-07-2012 01:46 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I'm confused. What is a "lug back dish?" Is that one that mounts on the backer board with screws? If so, that is not what I intend to use. What is the difference between a "corner caddy" and a corner shelf (my term)?

I've attached a photo of the existing shelf and the shelf I bought (both by Daltile). What I initially thought I would do was cut a notch in the field tile (using my angle grinder and a 4" diamond tile blade) as if I were setting the corner shelf in a new install on top of the previous row. I would set the shelf with thinset and grout around it. My assumption was that this would be stronger than caulking it to the surface of the field tile because it would be resting on a row of tile and held in tight with grout.

Is this a bad assumption? Am I likely to crack the tile? If I cut into the concrete backer board could I fill and seal it with something?

oh'mike 06-07-2012 05:28 AM

Sorry for the confusion---

The caddy (corner shelf) in the top picture is a 'lug backed' one--that is for new construction--

Making that one work would require cutting the existing wall tile right in the corner---
A highly risky move with little benefit--

Use a flat backed one and silicone it to the tile--hold in place with tape until the silicone is set.

I've installed dozens of those over 20 years with out one call back--so it works for me--and I believe it will work for you too.

Blondesense 06-07-2012 11:29 AM

Ditto what Mike said.
Look for a waterproof silicone adhesive, not a silicone caulk.

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