Tub maintenance, eventual remodel [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-14-2003, 02:31 PM
I've been reading this forum for a couple of weeks now and finally am ready to ask my questions. Thanks to the participants for all the good content.

First, a little background: my house was built in '49 and has a single bathroom. The bathroom has a tile floor and tiled walls to roughly 48". The tub is built-in porcelained cast iron with tile walls up to about 7'-0" above the floor (mud over lath). The tile in the bathroom itself (walls and floor) is generally in pretty good shape, with the exception of some grout discoloration and a few hairline cracks. The tub is in pretty good shape too. The walls in the shower/tub are a different story, so here goes:

We've been in the house ~3 years, and the owners prior to us had these walls "re-tiled." What I've recently figured out is that this consisted of laying new tile over the original. And now the new tile is beginning to separate from the old, with the new tile on each of the 3 walls acting like a single sheet and flexing off the old tile in spots, the worst is along the long wall and is about 1/16" at the top of the wall in the middle.

I haven't sealed the grout and the caulk at the wall/tub joints isn't in good shape. So I think that the least I need to do is caulk these joints and hopefully slow the process.

My first question is how long the shower needs to be out of service (i.e. dry) to do the caulking. Since it's our only bathroom, it obviously gets a good bit of use. But there's some chance I could fit it into a weekend trip out of town to allow some time for it to dry fully. Also, what kind of prep should I do?

My next question concerns what to do next. Obviously, I have no idea of the condition of the tile underneath. I've toyed with the idea of pulling down a few tiles where they're coming loose to see what the old tile looks like. Any guesses on what the pain and suffering from rehabilitating the old tile could be like, if it's even possible?

And finally, if we decide to get this part of the bathroom re-tiled, my read is that the forum would say to leave the mud/lath in place and tile over. How long might that take to demo, prep, and re-tile?

Thanks for your input.

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John Bridge
01-14-2003, 06:23 PM
Welcome aboard, Sludge. :) Please give us a first name.

My thinking is that if you try to remove a tile or two, many more will follow. Sounds like only grout and friction are holding things together. For caulking to hold, the joint has to be completely dry. This might take a couple days after you've removed the old caulking.

Obiously, the P.O. had a reason to cover up the old tile. I'll bet they didn't wash all the soap and scum off prior to doing it, though. It's possible to go over existing tile, but it has to be squeaky clean.

Re-tiling might entail saving the mud bed, but it might also mean removing it if it's rotted. Don't know. Re-tiling, though, is going to take you a week. Are you on good terms with the neighbors? :)