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Old 07-26-2006, 01:42 AM   #1
Tap2112
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Marble stone tile over Cultured marble slab shower walls

Hi all,

New member here, hoping someone can help me out. I did a search to see if my question had already been asked and found a similar question but that one was for countertops and mine is for walls, so I will ask the question with my specific details included.

I have completely remodeled my master bath (except for the shower walls), including granite floor, new vanity with granite top, new toilet, reglazed fiberglass bathtub, etc. However, now everything looks so nice that my 20 year old cultered marble shower walls pale in comparison. I was thinking of using marble tile, or possibly granite, but wanted to know if I could tile right over the cultured marble slabs since they already provide a water tight barrier. That would save considerable time and cost as well as demolition.

If it can be done, I assume I would have to scuff the slabs a bit first to assist in the morter adhesive. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:49 AM   #2
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Covering the cultured marble walls is not a good idea. They are probably stuck up with construction adhesive either to drywall or directly to the studs, and there is no way to know how well they are adhered.

You should consider removing the cultured marble and then either fixing the drywall or installing new drywall and Kerdi, or using a cement backer board as a substrate for the new tile. Of couse, you should protect your newly-refinished tub with old blankets and plastic before you start. Take a look at the Liberry shower thread to get an idea of the various ways to build your surround.

Then come back here and ask any questions that come up.
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply, Jeff. So let me understand better...is the main problem the fact that the existing cultured marble may not hold the weight of marble tile given it's poor adhesion method? Or is it something else?

My house is supposed to go on the market for sale in 8 days and I am really in a time crunch. If what I am hoping for CAN'T be done, then I will make other arrangements, but I am afraid the time to demo and rebuild the walls then laying the tile will push me back so far that I won't meet my deadline.

Can I use long masonry screws (into studs of course) to better adhere the cultured marble to the sheetrock to make my project feasable, or are there other complications of tiling over cultured marble that I am not even aware of?
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:56 AM   #4
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Well, there are a few problems,the surface needs to be scarred up, and soap film, and waxes or polishes need to be removed.Also,as Jeff mentioned the glue,yes screwing into studs(if you don't hit a water pipe, or electric) or crack the fiberglass,would help.But most cultured products tend to warp and bend,and they're not as stable as you would want,but i would say it may hold up,a 50/50 proposition.You could cut the stuff out ina couple hours, but i know you're under a time crunch,but it is a slow market, and you do want the most money, and curb appeal,if you cut it out and prepped it, a tile guy could do it in two days.
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:45 AM   #5
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Well, I screwed in the cultured marble with hardybacker screws and the walls seem very solid now. Much more so than before with just the construction glue. I bought some 50 grit sandpaper for my palm sander to scuff up the surface but it still is much more smooth than I would have expected. Any suggestions on scarring up the surface sufficiently?

In addition to sanding, is there anything I can use to prep the surface better for the thin-set? I am a little afraid the mortar won't stick well enough on the walls.
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:53 AM   #6
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Successful Install

Tiling over the cultured marble turned out to be a success. I used Hardybacker screws to secure it to the wall and then scuffed it like nobodys business using a belt sander (40 grit). I used premuim marble/granite mortar and it all went smoothly.

Here are some pictures...
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:54 AM   #7
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Finished pictures

Here are a few more pics, including the finished product...
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:37 PM   #8
skmscarcliff
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Thumbs up love it

Hi I know this is many many years later, but I have to say I love the transformation of your shower! This is exactly what I've been considering doing and I wasn't sure if it would work out so that's how I ended up here. We have almost the exact same design of a faux marble surround from many years ago... this house was built in 1968 but i don't know that this shower was built then... but it's apparent it's really old. the faux marble definitely doesn't fit the house anymore after many other upgrades throughout the home. It just needs some upgrades in the surrounds and replace the carpet with tile downstairs and redo the weird texture on the downstairs walls, paint a few other walls and this house would be really nicely upgraded and modernized. Hoping to try to get this done while my husband is away so he can be surprised by how beautiful everything is by the time he gets home I just question whether I can really do this myself... but now I know, with the right tools and materials, I can at least do the shower and tub surrounds and really make a difference in there. Thanks for posting the pictures and the process, so others like me can learn from your experience. I hope my project, when I get around to it, Turns out just as nice as yours did. I'm going to choose some different colors though since my bathrooms are so tiny i need to go with lighter colors to make it feel bigger than it is! your bathroom's already pretty big. Looks beautiful.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:46 PM   #9
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Samm!

We absolutely live to help DIY folks. And rarely do we attempt to put the brakes on anyone's aspirations. But please realize that the DIY'er did this work directly against the advice of seasoned pros. In the time the last person spent screwing the marble to the studs, and sanding the walls twice with two different sanders, the walls could have been taken down and new cement board put up. What was done was a "quick fix" for a house scheduled to be sold 8 days after coming onto the forum for help.

There are absolutely pitfalls to taking shortcuts like this and hesitate to give you what seems like a thumbs up. I know how incredibly surprising this would be to your husband if you were to transform the walls while he was gone. But tiling generally takes a lot longer than anticipated. And I'm guessing that even taking a shortcut like leaving the existing walls up wouldn't make up for the time needed to completely tile the walls. Would you rather be 1/2 way through a project when he comes home with questionable longevity? ...or, would you rather be 1/4 of the way through the project knowing that your work will likely last 50+ years?

It's your house, your time, and your money. There are no tile police. You certainly can do as you like. But I would encourage you to consider removing the cultured marble walls and installing an appropriate tiling substrate rather than tiling over what you've got. We are more than up to the task of walking you through any and all steps.

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Old 11-30-2015, 08:04 PM   #10
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What Bubba said. Take it down and do it right. I've seen many cultured marble showers installed without a pan liner, just trusting the caulk in the corners to hold the water back.
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Old 11-30-2015, 08:42 PM   #11
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I would say most emphatically, don't do it!

For one thing, we don't know how long the OP's job has lasted, I would not count on it.

Second, as has been mentioned, cultured marble showers that look all nice and water tight, well, they may not be. If I could send the smell that was under mine to you, you would understand. When I took mine out, it has the most awful pool of soap scum, hair, water, and unidentifiable material you can imagine under it. It is works, but if you start over and use drywall and Kerdi and a mud pan with a Kerdi drain (or any other accepted method) you will know you have a shower that will serve longer that you will care!
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