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Unread 08-25-2014, 10:11 PM   #1
mattseg
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plaster, tile, and a loss as to what to do.

There are the three walls we are looking to tile. One is easy, put up backer board, thinset, tile, grout, done.


The other two are a bit problematic as they are plaster, and one has a bit of a crumbling issue. Not sure if we should screw in some backer board, and tile over that (added thickness, possible other issues), lay on the morter thick, and level it out, then lay tile over the plaster... or what.

So to be clear, this is a shower/bath area. There will be a tub, and this will be the walls around where there will be both a bath faucet and shower head.


I've read things saying plaster can't be fixed, that it can, that it will continue to crumble, that you can float the tile on it, that it's a bad idea, to hit it with a wire brush, to chip off the crumbling bits, etc... Even saw an article saying to remove the plaster and put up drywall (which is a huge pain in the ass, and will ruin a bit of character of the room (rounded corners near the window, etc.

(I wrote this on another forum without much response.... Since then I tried to get some plaster off the block wall with little success other than carving a bit of a valley. I have demoed the back wall and will replace that with hardy backer shimmed to be flush with the plaster wall I won't be tiling)

advice please?
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Pics m.imgur.com/a/xfi5L
-Matt
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Unread 08-25-2014, 11:16 PM   #2
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Hi Matt and welcome to the forum.

I've added the photos to your post from your link so people can see them in your post. Next time just use the paperclip icon when you're in the reply box to upload photos right into your post. If you want you can edit your post and enter text in between the photos like it was in the link.

There should be some people chiming in here soon. The responses may be slow as it's late here in the states but feel free to bump the thread to the top in the morning if you haven't received much response.
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Unread 08-25-2014, 11:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattseg
One is easy, put up backer board, thinset, tile, grout, done.
What backerboard did you have in mind to use? With most of them you'll want to make sure that you have an additional moisture barrier as part of the equation. A moisture barrier is required for all showers. It can be as simple as a 4 mil sheet of plastic behind the board.

There's a ton of info on this site. Don't be afraid to ask questions, take a look through the Liberry, and use the search button as well.

I don't run into plaster walls a lot and when I do they usually get torn out so I'll defer to someone else for that part of your question.
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Unread 08-26-2014, 08:10 AM   #4
mattseg
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Thanks for the warm welcome and adding my pictures Jim.

I was planning on the hardy backer. As I understood that would be sufficient... Especially as I'm in NM which is a very dry climate.

What seemed like endless google searches are what brought me Herr.. I had seen some saying to leave plaster and others saying yo remove it... I couldn't tell if it was a matter of nuance or there was more to it. That said I threw my question out.

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-Matt
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Unread 08-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #5
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I'll get this up towards the top and maybe someone can answer your plaster question.

The part of the country that you are in doesn't affect whether a moisture barrier is required or not. The forecast in the shower is always rain. It really is required. I looked up the instructions for Hardibacker and they now say consult local building codes. The TCNA (tile handbook) has a drawing specifically for this type of product and it involves a moisture barrier. 4 mil plastic behind, or a waterproofing on the surface will do the trick.
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Unread 08-26-2014, 08:15 PM   #6
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Welcome, Matt.

If you'll add that geographic location to your User Profile it'll remain in permanent view to potentially help with answering some other questions you may have.

It appears to me that you have a Portland cement-based plaster on those walls, but something else as a finish over the plaster. You know what the white material is?

Can't get much perspective on your shower with those photos and can't go much further without a better idea what we're working with. If you can get down to clean cement plaster you may be able to add more such material - fat mud - over it to plumb, square and flatten your walls for tile.

You'll still need some sort of direct bonded waterproofing membrane over the entire surface, including where you plan to use CBU. The climate outside your house has nothing at all to do with the need to properly waterproof a shower.

I can understand your desire to maintain the character of the room, but just how do you plan to tile those round corners at the window?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-26-2014, 10:12 PM   #7
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Hi Matt,
I live here in ABQ and have remodeled a few bathroom that seem to be constructed like yours is. If I'm understanding correctly, some of the walls are plaster applied onto cinder block? We've come across the crumbling issue before and it's best to remove all of the loose/crumbly stuff as you can. I then apply a product called "Gardz" over those scraped areas because it will stop them from flaking out any more. After that dries, I apply mesh tape(special alkali resistant type that's meant for cement board seams) and fill in any of the voids to make them level with the surface again. Once that step id done and the mortar is completely dry, I apply a direct bonded waterproofing membrane(as CX suggested) to all of the walls that will be tiled. This will waterproof the walls, give you the proper vapor barrier behind the tile and also allow for more setting time with the mortar for the wall tile. You can use a product like RedGard, which is found at HD, although I prefer Laticrete's HydroBan.
One more thing to think about(as CX suggested again) is how you plan to tile the rounded corners at the window? You can certainly cut lots of thin strips to follow the profile or use a smaller tile mounted to mesh. Just something to think about I guess. Hope this helps and I'm sure others will be saying in as well.
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Unread 08-26-2014, 10:36 PM   #8
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I really appreciate you guys piping in, especially on the vapor barrier issue.


I was actually told by a dude at Lowes that it was entirely unnecessary.

Yesterday I decided to try to remove the super loose plaster (I think the under part is the portland cement). Well the stuff around the window bullnose was like sand... So I grabbed a rotary hammer and I'm getting rid of all the plaster... so I guess that nullifies a lot of my question.... but I'm still gaining knowledge from you guys, which is wonderful.

So heres what I'm thinking now.
I am removing the back wall (at the back of the shower) to about 6" past the tub (this is gypsum board and plaster) and I will put up hardy backer board (with vapor barrier on the back?) on the studs, and fir out the studs to it comes even with the wall we are keeping.
I will do the same with the wall in front where the fixtures are.

Removing the plaster on the block wall, putting up a vapor barrier, and then putting up hardy backer board. As for the bull nose, it appears the the cinderblock is beveled where the bullnose is... so I guess put the board over it, and try to match the angles as best I can?

Now i need to figure out if I'm going to tile above the window.

Again, thank you for your help guys... I guess the guilt that I might be half-assing it got the best of me.
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Unread 08-27-2014, 08:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt
I was actually told by a dude at Lowes that it was entirely unnecessary.
And he was absolutely right, Matt. There is no need at all for a vapor barrier in a standard shower. There is, however, an absolute requirement for a water containment system of some kind in every shower.

Again, moisture barrier behind an appropriate wallboard or a direct bonded waterproofing membrane on the inside of the wallboard. But not both.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-27-2014, 10:51 AM   #10
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Thank you for shining the light of the ways of bathroom repair.
So hardy backer board does not have a moisture barrier, thats something I misunderstood as well.

Another thing I've tried to research, but haven't reached a satisfactory answer is what to use to transition between cement board, and drywall... so after paint it looks like a contiguous wall.

Behind the two walls I'm replacing (the drywall wall, and the plaster on gypsum board wall) I will use a sheet type vinyl product (right?), then on the block wall I will use a sheet vinyl product (or a roll on?). Then attach the cement board, then thinset, then tile?

I'll post more pictures as I get this rolling more, and I'll certainly put up some finished project pics!

Thank you guys!!!
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Unread 08-27-2014, 11:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt
Behind the two walls I'm replacing (the drywall wall, and the plaster on gypsum board wall)
Matt, I don't understand at all what you're referring to as to which walls those might be and what you're replacing them with or where in your room.

Strike from your memory banks the term "sheet vinyl product." If you want to use any product on the inside of your shower for waterproofing, it must be a direct bonded waterproofing membrane meeting the requirements of ANSI A118.10. It'll have that listed on the packaging and those are the only products tested for use with ceramic or stone tiles bonded with cementitious thinset mortar. It's important to get that right. They can be in sheet or liquid form.
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Unread 08-27-2014, 01:09 PM   #12
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I had further confused myself seeing the plastic sheets laid in some of the writeups, and thinking that was synonymous with the kerdi sheet stuff, or redgard.

I looked back through a write up and I think I get it now. I can't think you enough cx.
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Unread 08-28-2014, 07:11 AM   #13
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For the transition from CBU to plaster you should use the special alkali resistant mesh tape and a tight coat of thin set for the initial coat. After that's dry, use a product like 20 or 45 minute joint compound to finish off the joint. It will be in a white bag with blue and red writing and found near all of the other drywall "mud". You're idea of shimming out the studs will help you achieve a flatter surface with less coats.
Not sure if anyone else has any input on attaching CBU to a block wall but this is what I've done. Pre-cut the bottom sheet and test fit, draw a line at the top for reference. , apply mortar to the wall up to the line, install the board and use tap con or spax type screws to attach to the block. Continue with upper sheets in the same manner. Due to the nature of this process we always use a roll on type vapor barrier product. As I mentioned before, it not only gets you the vapor barrier but also locks in the CBU which allows for more setting time with your mortar. The CBU is such a dry and "thirsty" product that it really wicks the moisture out of your mortar very rapidly. If you're not a fast setter it can cause problems with bonding of the tile.
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Unread 08-28-2014, 07:57 AM   #14
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Some clarification here, Sean. I'm not at all sure why you'd want to use thinset mortar on CBU/drywall joints in a dry area, and if you're not in a dry area you would not want to be using drywall joint compound, either drying or setting types, in your joints.

Any such drywall joint must be made outside the wet area and can be treated and finished the same as any other drywall joint.

And I know we have the discussion constantly, but there is no need for a vapor barrier anywhere in a shower unless it is to be a steam shower. Waterproofing or water containment, yes; vaporproofing, no.

My opinio; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-28-2014, 10:07 PM   #15
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Just a preference on using the thin coat of thin set initially and then setting type mud over it for the "float". The seam is 6" outside of the shower so it would be OK to do otherwise.
Sorry if I used the wrong terminology. Guess I should have said "moisture barrier", not "vapor".
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