Help! Restoring a Mud Wall for tiling? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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12-29-2016, 06:09 AM
Hey folks!

I am new to all of this so pls be patient with me.

I am attempting to redo my bathtub myself. I just bought a co-op and the previous owner had one-piece tub surround on top of the existing tub and tiles.

Somehow, a small drip from the tub spout caused water to pool between the original tub and tubsurround and it eventually buckled.

Long Story Short....i had to rip out everything, including the tiles on the walls.

What i am left with (pictures attached)

Longest Wall (on side of tub) : appears to be a bud wall. Cement applied to metal mesh. Tiles were adhered directly on wall and were pretty difficult to remove. Wall still feels solid. Wall still has ALOT of old thinset on it that is difficult to remove. 12" from ceiling is not cement and was not originally tiled.

[LIST] Rear wall: Tiles were adhered to cement board. Metal Studs on one half of this wall seemed to have been installed. The other half of wall has a "new" metal mesh with some sort of adhesive or thinset on top of it.

[LIST]Front Wall with shower head: Mud Wall. There seems to have been a bit of water damage on this wall. Cement closest to shower head was wet and crumbling. Mesh is also rusted. This area (1/3 of wall) was torn out.
Realized later tgat there are NO studs in this wall...only 3 skinny rusted metal floating beams. The beams are not affixed to any base. The closest base would go all the way to the foundation of the apartment.

Plan A:
I need to redo this job for low cost and quick turnaround and moderate construction. I dont plan on stating in this apt forever but i dont want any water issues later either.

Replace rear wall with CBU by nailing to studs on one side and using adhesive on other side.
Long Wall: Attempt to smooth thinset off of wall (currently attempting to use grinder and diamond blade). Add 1/4 wonderboard on top of nud wall with thinset and cenent nails, tape joints and add redguard, then tile. .

Front wall: First plan was to take down this wall until we realized there are no studs. Would it be possible to affix cement board on top of what is left of the wall using construction adhesive, then redguard and tile??

Plan B:

Rear Wall: Replace rear wall with CBU.
Long Wall: smooth thinset off. Apply Skim coat of cement or thinset to even out wall,redguard, adhere tiles directky to cement.
Front wall: Attempt to replace just the section of the wall that was removed by either replacjng mesh wire and adding cement.....or replacing mesh wire and adding CBU just tothat section........then skim entire wall.....redguard.....then tile.

Plan C: (least favorite option):
Tear down all walls. Replace studs (not clear in how to do this without clear foundation), add vapor barrior, cement board, redguard, then tile.

Also...I decided to just have the tub refinished instead of replacing as I heard there will be some plumbing involved for the latter option.

I'm just looking for any advice here. Is there any plan above that would work ? If you had a tight budget, what would you do ??

Thank you in advance!!

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12-29-2016, 08:10 PM
Plan C. Tear it all out and start over. You don't need a vapor barrier, only a moisture barrier like the Redgard you mentioned.

01-04-2017, 03:59 PM
Thanks for the reply Davy!

Any specific reason to tearing out the walls? It just seems like a much bigger job that way.

Also, Regarding the wall with the shower head, there are no studs behind that wall and the it looks like the upper and lower foundation goes all the up to the apartment above me ( which may be really difficult to get new studs in).

Is it possible to replace the missing piece of the mud wall with new mesh and cement? Then either skim coat all the walls with thinset to level it....OR attach 1/4" cement board to the existing walls for a smooth surface?

I appreciate the help.


01-04-2017, 08:18 PM
Keep in mind that we view it a little differently than you do. We have to stand behind our work so we aren't looking for the easiest way to do it. Instead, we look for the best way that will have the best results with the least risk of problems down the road. I would bust it all down and mud it all back instead of patching in large areas like that.

I'm not use to seeing a wall that studs can't be added to so I can't say for sure how that needs to be taken care of. Maybe horizontal blocks can be fastened between the studs to have something to fasten to. Or bust it all out and use cement board in place of the mud.