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Unread 11-18-2013, 06:21 PM   #1
N8G
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Can my shower be salvaged without a complete tear down?

First time poster looking for some repair advice. I have a tile shower that was built in 93 or 94 which had a cracked tile in the corner which I decided I should replace and do a re-caulk job since some tore away last time I cleaned a couple of weeks ago. When I took the tile out I discovered that the tile was not really attached to any kind of backer board, but was held in place with a very thick layer mortar, "cementing" the tile in place. I also notice a decent amount of moisture at the base of the tile in the grout line and whatever was under the mortar. Not sure if it is deck mud or what, but it is damp and can be scraped out a bit with a screw driver. There is something harder below it. The mortar was damp, had some mildew and was wicking the water up (the torn up drywall was dry above it). Seeing the same was applied to the next tile I kept going and found the same with that tile and the whole long side of the shower. Getting to the back, I found that there is simply drywall (doesn't appear to be green board) which is soft and soggy. The bottom row is definitely loose and soft and probably the row above it. I am thinking I will find the same in the front. So someone obviously did a "fix" some time ago, but did it very poorly. The studs all seem to be dry in the open area and the rubber membrane seems ok.

So my question is can I do a fix by tearing out the bottom row or two all the away around, putting up some cement board, and retiling? Will that keep the water out? Not real sure if the water is getting in via the bottom pan somewhere or through grout issues. Most of the grout looks good, but there are couple of areas with a few cracks and one 2 inch area in back. If that can be done what can I put at the bottom to even out the "floor" under the tile/backer board area? Deck mud mix?

My goal is to have a mold/mildew free shower that will last 4-5 years (doesn't have to look very pretty) until we are ready to do a complete gut/remodel on the master bath. That is why I would rather not do a whole shower rebuild as it will likely be replaced soon. Any advice? Can it be done?
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Unread 11-18-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
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Nate,

Welcome to the forum.

Its our company policy not to do a partial shower re-build as there is no way we can warranty the work of what came before us. Obviously it failed before us, and we don't know what else is wrong.

Since you said this will be replaced "soon", start researching how to build a shower as well as collecting money and ideas so when you're ready you'll be prepared.
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Unread 11-18-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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Welcome, Nate.

If you wanna call that an emergency, temporary repair meant to last a few months until you're ready to rebuild the shower, yeah, you could do that.

But any such band-aid repair over a twenty year old shower pan would not be my idea of a cost effective measure.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-18-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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Duct tape and sheet plastic will be effective and they make some snappy looking duct tape
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Unread 11-18-2013, 07:21 PM   #5
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They even have Duck Dynasty duck tape!
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Unread 11-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #6
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I have to disagree with Paul on this one.

Can you use another shower in your house for a couple years and leave that one alone awaiting remodel? That would be the most cost effective approach.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 08:55 AM   #7
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Yeah, looks like it's stuck right to the sheetrock. The plastic and duct tape would work for a very short term fix but would need to be replaced often. If you have a second bathroom, I'd let this one rest a while.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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When I said "soon" for the replacement, I was talking relative as to a complete bath remodel so I was thinking of a fix that would last 3-5 years. My thought would be to cut out all the old, cracked, soggy drywall and replace with cement board for the bottom two rows and retile them using thinset. Above that seems to be solid as far as the tile movement and doesn't seem wet from the areas I can access. So the water seems to be wicking up from what I can tell. If I do that and get it all sealed as best as I can with grout, caulking, etc what kind of issues could crop up? If is some mildewing of the caulk, I can live with that. If it could lead to bigger structural issues, that is a different story.

We do have another shower we are using now, but don't want to do that for years at a time!
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Unread 11-19-2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N8G View Post
If it could lead to bigger structural issues, that is a different story.

!
There you go.

You probably already have more damage than what can be seen now. I was going to suggest you could start your process early, and open it up now so you can copper green all the mildew before it changes to dry rot.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 08:38 PM   #10
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Hi Nate, I would tear it all out and start over instead of just the bottom. The floor and curb are usually the most challenging for a Diy'er. There's no reason to keep the walls after doing all the work on the bottom section. The tiles are stuck to sheetrock, it's not an acceptable substrate for a shower. I'll bet a nickel the curb is also sheetrock covered with tile and is in the same shape as the lower walls.

We can help you along the way.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 08:53 PM   #11
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Well I was doing some more demo tonight of the back wall and it is in way worse shape than I had hoped. Soggy drywall I could pull the tiles off of with my hands once the grout was loose and damp with some mold behind it. Behind the vapor barrier (it is an exterior wall) seems to be in tact yet. Don't see any staining or mold back there. I sprayed what I opened up with bleach solution to kill any mold and have decided to heed all the professionals here and rebuild the whole thing. That is a bigger job than I had intended and frankly don't have time to do it with 4 small kids including a baby so I will be hiring it out.

Any good threads or resources on what I should be asking a contractor before hire to be sure they will be do it right? Check for as it is being built?

Thanks for the help!
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Unread 11-19-2013, 09:02 PM   #12
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Nate,

You can look for one of our resident Pro's by starting a new thread in the Pro's hangout with a title similar to , "Pro installer needed for shower rebuild in (insert city name)" and give a link back to this thread.

In the mean time you can do a search here on the forum under the topic of finding a good contractor. Lots of good advice here on that too.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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To start with, if you want to save a few bucks, take out the glass and tear it out yourself. If you plan to reuse the door, take measurements of the openings and make sure the shower is built back to those dimensions.

There are a lot of different installation methods and they all will fail if not done right. I would do enough research here to figure out which method you want to use. Get references and call the folks to check out the person. And, don't take the cheapest bid.
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