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heyautonomy 11-29-2019 12:13 AM

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See comment 11 for more photos. I’ve taken the loose tiles out where I can find them. It isn’t too many but they are spread out and you can see the same laying method was used throughout. My better half is telling me to patch it up ASAP so she can use the shower again... what’s is the quickest way to do this. From the looks of things the whole thing will need tipping out and redoing, but not today, or this week or even in the coming months. It doesn’t look like it validates buying an entire bag of mortar... would sanitized grout eco hold it all in place for long?

Davy 11-29-2019 02:58 AM

I'm wondering if you have any left over tiles in case you were to break one or two. The loose tiles you pull up can probably be cleaned up around the edges, the bottoms should be clean since all the mortar is on the floor.

Looks like they were back buttered with thinset when they originally installed them and you can do the same to stick them back. For a quick repair, I would take a small (1/4-3/8 wide) cold chisel and slowly chip away some of the thinset mortar you see. This will make room for more thinset. You can use Speed Set thinset from Home Depot that sets within a few hours and get it grouted the same day. I'd let it set over night before using the shower. I have no idea where to get the grout you mentioned.

heyautonomy 11-29-2019 04:23 AM

Thanks for the recommendation :) can I check some things with you.

1. Would I be filling the cavities with the thin set at the same time?

2. You mentioned breakages... do you think I should rip more up than I already have?


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heyautonomy 11-29-2019 08:35 AM

Ok, so it looks like I should take a few more tiles back wherever they are loose. Take out some of the mortar that is there and then fill it all in with thinset. I’m sure I can’t fill all the gaps and I’ll have to live with the knowledge that there are cavities I can’t do anything about. Thanks for your guidance everyone and I hope I’ve interpreted the advice correctly where offered :)

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Davy 11-29-2019 11:57 AM

Hi Anthony, I would take up all that are loose, hopefully it's not the whole floor. Barely bonded tiles usually don't break when pulling them up, depending how fragile they are. That's why I was asking about having extra tiles handy. Sometimes you're opening a can of worms with this type work. When removing tiles, tiles that seemed to be bonded are now loose due to the hammering/chiseling of the thinset. Most of the time we will cut the grout out first to help get the tiles out and hopefully not disturb neighboring tiles.

If you have left over grout from before, I would throw it away and get a fresh bag.

heyautonomy 11-30-2019 04:27 AM

Thanks Davy, I’ll see what happens when I start chiseling away. I’d rather take up more and fill in more of the voids if I can... I have found two mortars locally that seem to fit the bill. One is a rapid set mix, they say it can be used in high traffic areas after 4 hours. Work time is 20 mins, pot time 40-60. It’s recommended for Swimming pools and submerged areas. The other says it’ll need 7days before the area can be used. Same work and pot lifetimes. That one is recommended for showers. The only significant difference in performance seems to be that the rapid set mortar seems to need a cleaner substrate while the slow set mortar seems to set to anything that isn’t oil based. Is this difference generally true for rapid and slow set mortars?

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heyautonomy 11-30-2019 07:23 AM

A good deal of the grout is just falling out, particularly where the cavities fall below.

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Davy 11-30-2019 01:43 PM

There are different kinds of mortars. I would make sure you're using a modified thinset mortar. You can get by without speed set but you may have to wait till the next day to grout.

heyautonomy 12-09-2019 01:10 AM


This seems to answer the question, “can I set the tile with grout instead of thinset?”

It’s the only one I’ve seen so far that is set like this.

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speed51133 12-09-2019 08:49 AM

that may not be grout. thinset mortar is available in white and in gray. either way, looks like your tile setter likes to "spot bond" which is where you put a glob of mortar on then press the tile in. It is not the correct way and has all sorts of issues.

heyautonomy 12-09-2019 07:55 PM

You’re right, when I took it off, the “spot” was mortar but it was filled in with grout, so I’m guessing that the tile came loose while they were grouting so they restuck it with the grout as they were going by.

I’m also curious as to why the plaster is smooth in places and rough with a kind of sticky coating in others. This is on the wall.

On the floor there seems to be a bed of mortar but where the tiles have come loose, there is no bed, just a blob of thinset that goes down to the waterproof membrane.

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