remove and re-install tile over existing walls? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-25-2011, 05:40 PM
I have a tiled shower area that is leaking through the pan and into my basement. It was built in the 50's and I am guessing that the builder probably used metal lathe and mortor for the walls behind the tiles. Every aspect of this house was built to a level of perfection and standard like I have never seen before.

I am wondering if I could simply remove the exiting tiles, leave the walls intact and then install schluter kurdi, mortor, and re-tile. I'm thinking the waterproofing would solve my leak issue, and as long as there is no mold inside the walls (and I'll check that from the back-side), I wouldn't have to rebuild the walls, sloped floor pan, and curb.

Is this a bad idea for a reason I am missing?
Peter in MI

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07-25-2011, 06:37 PM
Welcome, Peter. :)

Sounds good on paper. In real life you might find it a little different.

You must still change out your drain to use the Kerdi system with it's proprietary drain. That's gonna require some cutting of the floor to remove the old drain and such.

In a 50 year old house I wouldn't even consider changing that drain without changing at least the trap, too, and then as much of the cast iron pipe as I could gain access to.

I am wondering if I could simply remove the exiting tiles, leave the walls intact...There's your second problem. I'd be wonderin' that, too. Only way you can make that decision is to try to remove some of the tiles and see what happens. Sometimes they'll come off, but more often those tiles will have become one with the wall mud, as it were.

Personally, I'd approach it as I do any shower "repair." Remove everything that's there and start over. But it does seem sad sometimes to tear down those old mud walls. :shades:

My opinion; worth price charged.

Houston Remodeler
07-25-2011, 09:09 PM
What CX said plus,

When you go to chip off the old tiles, you'll get a few off then find the ones coming off are chipping the ones staying on. Then you'll crack a few. Then curse. Then come back here and read the "Shower Construction methods (" thread from the library.

The next problem you'll have is getting the waterproofing from the floor to get behind the tiles on the wall to a satisfactory height. I don't know of an elegant way to do that nifty little feat.

07-25-2011, 09:15 PM
Great advice. Thanks.
I should have said I planned on using the Schluter drain, and replacing the trap and all the drain pipe back to the stack.

I'll see how it goes when the tiles are off. If it looks unworkable, then I'll be going all the way back to the studs and joists.

I bet the mud walls in there are an inch thick, so not just the waste of throwing them away, but the work to get them down and out of there!

Again the advice is very much appreciated.
Thanks again.


07-25-2011, 09:52 PM
If you determine early on that you're gonna need to remove the walls, Peter, treat yourself to a little Felker FHS-4 wet saw or similar. Cut the walls into manageable sections before you ever pick up a hammer or pry-bar. You can thank me later. :)


07-26-2011, 06:57 AM
If this is a house with goo old plaster walls and tile with 1/4 round I'll almost bet them there mud walls are 1&1/2 to 2" thick