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

2675 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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Well, we're on our way to a new surround...

Hi All,

So, we've ripped out most of the surround. I need to take the fixtures off the remaining wall and then we'll take that wall down as well.

We've thought about putting up concrete backer board and tiling it again, and I've also thought about getting one of those plastic or fiberglass surrounds.

I know the plastic and fiberglass ones aren't as "classy" as tile, but quite honestly, we just want a functional bathroom. It doesn't need to be beautiful. But maybe there are other drawbacks to plastic/fiberglass surrounds?

And while we've got the surround out, I've thought about ripping the tub out as well and putting in a new tub. It looks like we can get a fiberglass, direct-to-stud tub and tub surround kit from Home Depot for about $450. I tried to find it on their website but couldn't locate it.

The tub is working now... I just keep having this feeling of dread that if I put in a new surround now, then I'll get something wrong with the tub in a few years and wish I had just gone all the way when I replaced the surround and put in a new tub as well. But perhaps that's irrational? I guess tubs are pretty long lasting...?

Anyway, I'm interested in feedback from folks here. I've actually already picked up this plastic surround, but I could always return it and opt for something else, like a complete fiberglass tub/surround kit.

It's probably worthwhile to clearly state where this bathroom is going: our home, which is an old farmhouse, has an in-law suite that was added on. We have been renting out the in-law suite to a newly-married couple that is friends of ours. They will be leaving shortly and we have already lined up another couple. This bathroom is in the in-law suite. Our general intention is to offer young couples that we know and trust a great deal on rent as they are starting out their lives together.

So, while we want to provide a nice place for them, I also have to say that for most of these folks, they aren't going to care too much whether or not their bathroom has got this type of surround or that type of surround. All they care about is that they've got a decent, working bathroom on their apartment. And if it was a question of raising the rent to "cherry out" the place, or having it "plain", I think all of them would say "give us a plain bathroom please."

After all, if you were just married, I think you would be focusing on other things besides your tub surround, yes? ;-)
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It's probably worthwhile to clearly state where this bathroom is going: our home, which is an old farmhouse, has an in-law suite that was added on. We have been renting out the in-law suite to a newly-married couple that is friends of ours.
Oh, and another important detail: the couple that's in the apartment now are away from home right now, and will be back here on Thursday. They are very understanding and would be happy to use a shared bathroom in the main house until the bathroom is fixed, but we still are really pushing to get things fixed up and finished by the time they get back.

So, that was one of the other things that got me thinking about a fiberglass tub/surround. Seems like that would go in a lot faster than a tiled surround.
The tub that's in there is metal

The tub that's in there is metal--cast iron, I think?

How would I go about ripping it out? It is probably screwed down somewhere, or just glued in place, or what?

Also, if it *is* a cast-iron tub, what do we get by ripping it out and replacing it? I mean, are my fears about possibly having a problem with this ancient tub valid, or do these old metal tubs last forever anyway?
Also, to clarify, when you say "acrylic" you're referring to a fiberglass body that is "acrylic capped"? Something like this:

Is that right? Or is an "acrylic surround" something else?
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