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Tile repair question--looks like the backing behind the tiles has some issues

2679 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Bud Cline
Hi All,

We've got a bathtub/shower where some tiles were coming loose. I pulled out the loose tiles, ready to scrape the old mortar out, and put new mortar in to re-attach the files.

Well, this is what I found. You can see that the concrete backer board (where it exists) is crumbling to pieces, then there's plywood off to the right, and then there are spots where is no backing at all! The backing is completely missing in the corner (on the righthand side), and between the concrete backer board and the plywood.

By the way, the plywood was black with mold--I sanded a lot of it away. But I thought I would pause and come here for advice. Can I mortar this up and put the tiles back, or am I just asking for heartache later by doing that? Do I have to (gulp) rip all the tiles out in this quadrant of the shower, put up new backerboard, and then re-tile it?

Thanks for any insights!

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I don't see any cement board anywhere. I do see old old drywall that is crumbling. I also see at least two prior repairs and a shower surround that is well past its usable life time. Time to say good bye to that shower.
I'll tell you what I would do. Now keep in mind I'm a guy that does tile work and builds tile showers for a living. I've been doing it for almost thirty-five years and this is how I have supported my family for that period of time. I AM TILE.:)

Having said all of that I can tell you given identical circumstances I would install a new acrylic tub and matching acrylic surround and be done with it. Don't cheap-out though that would be the big mistake.:)

That approach is really the more practical and cost-effective thing to do in this case.:)

That's the opinion of a guy that loves tile.:)
Also, if it *is* a cast-iron tub, what do we get by ripping it out and replacing it?
The cast iron tubs can go forever but the finish that is on them does not. If the blue has worn out its welcome then now's the time to change it. If you like the blue then keep it. You will never duplicate the original finish of the cast iron tub if the day ever comes. Those porcelain finishes can not be duplicated in the field.:)

Also, to clarify, when you say "acrylic" you're referring to a fiberglass body that is "acrylic capped"? Something like this:...
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