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Old 12-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #1
Macs
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Re-tile over conventional mortar bed?

I'm looking for some advice from those more experienced.
I've got a bathroom to re-tile for cosmetic purposes. The original tile still looks strong, no cracks. Was originally installed in the thirties so it's mud set walls and floor.

My question is can you usually just remove the tile and thin set new tile over the existing mud? I assume there will be some repairs to the existing beds and some joints to tape. Is this a sound approach or should I assume I'll have to tear out everything down to wood and start over?

Thanks
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:23 AM   #2
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Absolutely. I do it all the time. That's one of the best substrates to lay tile. The only thing i hate is that in the shower they always tiled below the shower head and I don't like the fact that it's too low. So I have to do extra work and build out the section a little to tile above the shower head or to the ceiling. You probably also want to change the shower body and put new plumbing.

They really didn't use thinset to bond those tiles. They kind of just pressed them into the wet mortar. They pop right off with a cold chisel and hammer.

Also spray the mortar before setting the new thinset and tile because if you thinset on the dry mortar it will suck the water out of the thinset too fast.

On the floor, if height is not an issue, just tile right over the tiles. Or you can chisel the tiles out to save a quarter inch.

If you plan on demolishion to the studs, prepare yourself for quite a demo job.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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IF you are talking about re-tiling any portion of your shower it should be demoed out completely and re-built in my opinion. No way I would put a dime or any effort into building on top of a 70+ year old pan, mortar bed, plus all the old plumbing/drain/trap/vent.

If you are just talking about the dry area in the bathroom, then you can go over the old mud bed and/or tile as long as its in good shape.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:55 PM   #4
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I agree. If it's a custom shower base definitely rip it out. I should have been more specific in that I would only use this method on walls with a tub and the floor, but not a shower pan.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:03 PM   #5
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I am no pro, but I got the same advice, and it worked out great. I actually skimcoated the surface with versabond after spraying the old bed with water as Gabe said. That was to fill in any divits and damage incurred from removing the old tile, also to have a nice flat surface to lay the new tile on. It worked out quite nice. I did not repair or move any plumbing so it was not that difficult.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:33 PM   #6
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Thanks - that helps
It's a tub shower, so no shower pans.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:53 PM   #7
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Might wanna seriously consider changing out the tub's mixer plumbing valve and pipes during this project if its old. Perhaps you could replace it from the backside of the wall so as not to disturb the mud wall you're attempting to save. At no other time will it be as simple to replace. And if your current mixer valve has two handles, consider how a replacement will most likely have a single handle in the middle of the wall.

...much easier to replace now and be done with it for years to come.
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