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Old 07-16-2009, 10:36 AM   #1
Cadsuane
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ONE stubborn tile won't stay stuck to the wall!

Hello all! First I'd like to say how much I appreciate the time everyone takes to share expertise and experience to help those of us with home repair and remodeling projects. Thanks!

Here's some background before I ask my question. We took a bathroom down to the studs to remodel it, so everything in the bathroom is new except the tub and the mirror. I installed greenboard everywhere except in the tub/shower enclosure, where I installed hardibacker over the roofing paper stapled to the studs.

We used waterproof laticrete adhesive to attach 6" tiles to the wall. We waited 2 days for the adhesive to dry, then grouted. Waited two more days for that to dry, then caulked with 100% silicone. I decided not to use grout sealant. Two days later we started using the shower. This was in January 2009.

About a month or so later, we noticed a tile at the bottom of the middle wall coming loose. We scraped out the old adhesive, brought the dehumidifier into the bathroom and dried the area and reinstalled the tile, again waiting 48 hours between steps before putting the shower back into use.

When it happened a second time, I did some research. The tub has a lip that curves up behind the tile. In my research, I discovered that possibly I should have cut the tile so it came closer to the rim of the tub and then not caulked the lower horizontal edge where the tile meets the tub. This would have allowed whatever water got behind the tiles to percolate down to the edge of the tub and flow into the tub. I figured since I'd both not used grout sealer AND caulked the tub/tile seam, I was trapping moisture back there which was weakening the adhesive. (Why is this effect only showing on the one tile though??)

We cleaned it out and replaced the tile again. This time I left the caulk off the area below the tile, so I knew it wasn't wicking up standing moisture. It came off again.

Cleaned it out and replaced the tile again, and decided I'd better apply grout sealant this time. I figured with the grout sealant keeping the water from permeating through the grout, I could re-seal that bottom seam. This last attempt was about a month ago. By golly, the darned thing has come loose AGAIN. Does anyone have an idea of what the heck is going on and what I can do to fix it once and for all?

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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Hi Tina, welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadsuane
...We used waterproof laticrete adhesive
Please tell us exactly what product you used.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:17 PM   #3
Cadsuane
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Laticrete premium multi-mastic adhesive. There's a "15" near the product title as well.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:53 PM   #4
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A pic might help.

Is the tub lip completely behind the wall or is it hanging out some?
Is this tile directly below the plumbing?
Does the tile have some wiggle room below it? ie cut tight to the tub or a touch loose?
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:39 PM   #5
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This first picture gives some perspective of the layout of the shower:

Name:  Bathroom1.jpg
Views: 606
Size:  44.2 KB

The tile in question is at the bottom of the vertical row below the left-most full colored diamond tile.

This second picture is a close up of the affected tile. The caulk is holding it in place.

Name:  bathroom2.jpg
Views: 575
Size:  29.3 KB
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:56 PM   #6
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Did the stuff you use come in a pink bucket? Its good for outside the shower, mostly areas where tile remains dry. But hardibacker does absorb alot of moisture and those tiles are smaller, and the mastic may have had a chance to work, but its your gamble. In the end Mastic is bad though, and thinset is the recommended setting material for inside a shower. You may try to get a bag of thinset or a small carton at a true value or ace and mix it up with water and try to set it with the thinset. Make sure you scrap all the old mastic out first.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
scuttlebuttrp
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You said you had to dry it out? How wet was it behind the tile?
Does the board feel solid behind the tile?
Is that window sill level side to side and sloping out towards the tub?
Siliconed that area in the window good?
Does the tub bottom feel solid when you stand in it?
If you put a straightedge on that wall perhaps you see a slight gap. Say 1/16". Then fill the tub with water. W ould the gap behind the straight edge grow?

I think I asked before; is the tub lip flush with the face of the wallboard? Does the wallboard come over the tub lip?
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:43 PM   #8
Cadsuane
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Rick: it's a white bucket with a black lid, pink and black writing on it. I'll get some thinset for the reinstall, thanks!

Royce: The cement board was dark grey instead of light grey when I scraped off the adhesive. It was wet but not sopping wet. I put the dehumidifier in the bathroom until it was light grey again.
The board behind the tile feels solid.
The windowsill is level side to side. I did angle the windowsill tiles slightly toward the tub. The level placed vertically against the wall under the window near the bottom of the tub leaves no gap.

Were you thinking that if the tub was right against the tiles it might be shifting and pressing against the tiles and loosening them?

Silicone in the window area is good now. First caulking job in that area was done with an older tube of caulk we had that was the paintable kind (which isn't 100% silicone, right?). It shrank when it dried and there was a small gap under the windowsill, so I cleaned it off and replaced it with silicone.
The tub feels solid when I stand in it.

The wallboard comes over the tub lip, aye. Both the cement board and the tile are on the inside of the tub.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Were you thinking that if the tub was right against the tiles it might be shifting and pressing against the tiles and loosening them?
Exactly.

Your getting moisture in there. If weight placed in the tub makes the tub bow and the lip is tight against something like the board or tile, the pressure could along with the weakend mastic cause the tile to pop off.
Is the grout around the other tiles near this one cracked?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:02 PM   #10
Cadsuane
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I am seeing signs that the grout in adjacent tiles is cracking, yes. Sounds like my tile won't stay on since water was able to get behind the tiles during the time we used the shower without grout sealant and has collected behind those lower rows?

Now that my whole tile wall is done with mastic, what are my options? I had black mold in that bathroom and we went through a lot of work to get it cleaned up. I don't want to go through that again! Could I take off a couple of bottom rows (or just the tiles that come off easily) and readhere them with thinset?

I bought some thinset this morning for both bathrooms. My other bathroom is tiled as well. I don't know how long it's been tiled, perhaps the life of the house (39 years). I am in the process of chipping out the old grout to regrout and seal the tile in that bathroom. I'll definitely use thinset when replacing the tiles that have come off as I've been removing grout.
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