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Unread 01-27-2022, 07:08 PM   #1
Bonnie83
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Advise needed for shower retile

Hello and thank for your time.

I'm redoing the shower floor in my home. The grout was missing when I moved in and recently I noticed the tiles starting to feel loose and one of them was cracked. I was able to remove the floor without many issues (one cracked wall tile but that's another question) but now need a little advise from the pros here. I know the base needs to be really solid when putting the new tiles on but there are a few "dips" on the ... I don't know what its called haha but from what I've researched its a sand/concrete mixture. I'll post some pictures to help. The area around the drain seems to be in the worst shape, along with areas around the walls. I'm wondering if I can just patch these areas with the mixture, or something else, or if I need to rip up the entire base and replace with new?
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Unread 01-27-2022, 08:52 PM   #2
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Welcome, Bonnie.

I try not to guess at much hereabouts, but I'm thinking we're dealing with a shower here, right?

If that's a traditional shower receptor, you should be dealing with a mortar bed there that's just as you suggest; a sand/cement mixture commonly known as deck mud in the trade, that is a minimum of 1 1/2 inches thick. If your shower receptor was built correctly, the weep holes in the drain should still be open, and there are no leaks of water outside the shower, right?

That being the case, you should be able to patch those voids with some sort of cementitious patching material, clean and smooth the to of your mortar bed, and install new tiles.

How old is this shower?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-28-2022, 07:37 AM   #3
Bonnie83
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Hello, CX. Thank you for such a quick response!

The shower is approximately 20 years old. I did check to see if the weep holes were functioning as I was curious as to why so many of the tiles were loosening. Everything there seems to check out and no water is escaping from the shower area. Must have just been the worn grout lines.

I was really hoping to hear that I would be able to just patch up the uneven areas! Great news! What material should I use? I understand it needs to be porous and as you have stated "cementitious" - Is there a premixed version of something like this on the market?

On to that misfortunate mistake of cracking a wall tile could I just glue it back together and call is "good as new"? I'm pretty sure I have some JB Weld around here somewhere.
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Unread 01-28-2022, 08:16 AM   #4
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Henry 345 1 Qt. Pre-Mixed Patch and Level

Would something like this do the job?
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Unread 01-28-2022, 08:59 AM   #5
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No, Ma'am. You want a cementitious product that comes in dry form that you mix with water. If you're buying Henry products, look for their 549 Feather Finish.

I don't know why your tiles were coming loose. It was not because of your weep holes, plugged or not. We'd need to know what your tiles were bonded with and more about the actual construction of the shower receptor to make reasonable guesses as to the cause.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-28-2022, 10:58 AM   #6
Bonnie83
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Thank you! You've been very helpful!

I'm thinking water getting through to the tile mortar loosened up the bond a bit.. I guess at this point it doesn't really matter (as long as I repair it correctly haha)

As for my cracked wall tile - glue or re-mortar? Or both? There is no way I would be able to find a matching tile and I certainly do not want to redo the entire thing just because a 2 inch piece cracked off the corner. Ugh, it was the last part of the floor removal process when it happened..
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Unread 01-28-2022, 02:44 PM   #7
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Is that last photo showing the cracked corner tile? That's only a little chip! I wonder if your replacement tiles will conceal it altogether, or if not then the silicone caulk bead might conceal it...
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Unread 01-28-2022, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie
I'm thinking water getting through to the tile mortar loosened up the bond a bit..
That could happen only if an incorrect type of bonding material was used instead of thinset mortar.

Is the material remaining on the floor a very hard, brittle substance, or something more like a plastic?
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Unread 01-28-2022, 03:28 PM   #9
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The material left, which I'm guessing is the bonding agent, is very soft and when scraped up it is a white, heavy powdery type substance. Clogs the shop-vac attachments haha. I really don't know why this problem arose then..

And the broken tile is not pictured. This one can not be hidden with caulk as the other imperfections can be. Its about a 2 inch broken off corner piece.

You guys are all so helpful!
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Unread 02-08-2022, 08:03 AM   #10
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Hey guys.

Doing a little research on the next step and there are so many different recommendations I'm a bit overwhelmed ha.

Should I seal the tile going on the shower floor? My research so far says no.

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout? The lines will be less than 1/8. I'm getting conflicted views on this because it is a shower floor.

Should I seal the grout? Again, conflicting views.
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Unread 02-08-2022, 08:28 AM   #11
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1. No

2. Sanded unless you cannot force it into the joints or it will seriously abrade your tile surface, which is unlikely with that tile.

3. Don't know what grout you intend to use, but I would not seal it on a shower floor application.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-08-2022, 08:41 AM   #12
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Hi, Bonnie,

The brochure doesn't seem to specify if the tile glazed. If it is then a sealer would be useless - it can't penetrate the glaze.

There are a lot of thoughts regarding sealing shower floor grout that is installed over a mud bed. The general consensus here is, well, don't. Sealers don't actually eliminate water absorption into grout, they only slow it. They also slow the release of any moisture that does penetrate, so the grout might take longer to dry.

If at all possible use a sanded grout. Working sanded grout into narrow joints can be difficult but I don't think you'll have too much trouble on joints between 1/16" and 1/8". Grout joint size is mostly driven by how uniform in size (length/width) the tiles are. The bigger the difference between tiles the wider the joint needs to be. But I assume you'll be using the 2X2 mosaics shown in the brochure so you'll be locked into whatever they are spaced at from the manufacturer.
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Unread 02-08-2022, 04:48 PM   #13
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If the bonding mortar is soft, I'd use a rub brick to even it out and knock down any high spots. The deck mud Cx mentioned can be used to fill large divots if a dab of thinset mortar is added first. Any loose deck mud should be taken up and filled in. A vacuum works well to determine if the mud is solid enough to stay. You can use thinset in areas that are less than 1/4 inch thick. It's not going by the book but it does work.
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Unread 03-01-2022, 04:25 PM   #14
Bonnie83
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I was able to finish the tile job without much distress. Thanks again for all the help that was provided through the process!

Not bad for a first timer.
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Unread 03-01-2022, 05:40 PM   #15
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Nice job.
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