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Unread 01-24-2017, 11:15 AM   #1
AndyJay
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Replacing DOT MOUNTED tiles

Hi,
I am reasonably handy but not with bathroom tiles. I also do not have $4000 available to pay somebody to do this project so am going to do it myself.

We bought an apt which is the top floor in a building built probably 50-70 years ago. The bathroom tiles were stable and sound, but old so we decided to replace. The tiles came off reasonably easily but beneath them we found something that stops us from proceeding. See the pictures.

Looks like a dot mounted approach was used. You can see the 'hockey puck' like disks - these are 2 inches thick and feel hard and solid like concrete. Behind them is a scratch coat of concrete that is laid out on a screen that is nailed in to studs. I used the word 'concrete' but it may be something else ... all I know is that all of it is hard and not brittle.

I do not want to remove these dots or pucks because it will take a long time and then I will have the beginner's problem of having to build out the wall 2 inches and then putting up cement board. Building up the wall to match the wall that's there will be a problem I think.

Questions:
1) Can I fill in the gaps between the 'dots' with something to make a solid flat surface? If so with what????
2) Would I then install tiles using thin-set ?

Thanks,
Andy

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Last edited by Tool Guy - Kg; 01-25-2017 at 10:19 PM. Reason: Rotate pictures to upright position :)
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Unread 01-24-2017, 01:46 PM   #2
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1. Short answer is no. Doing things properly often means doing stuff that is difficult or messy. There's not a thinset out there rated for the depth of the pucks on the wall so its amazing it later lasted as long as it did.
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Unread 01-24-2017, 02:47 PM   #3
AndyJay
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Ryan,
Not that it matters but the pictures should be turned counterclockwise.

I know thinset wouldn't work on the gap and am hoping that somebody will tell me to fill the gaps with some kind of cement and basically create a new scratch coat to which I could apply the thin-set.

Andy
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Unread 01-24-2017, 05:14 PM   #4
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Its not want you want to hear, but no one on here will tell you that trying to patch or fill this is going to work.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 01:48 AM   #5
Jim Farrell Tiler
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well they have been there for years now whats wrong with filling the gaps?
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Unread 01-25-2017, 10:44 AM   #6
rmckee84
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I get called out anytime I give an idea not supported by manufacturer specs, so with the fact the thinset that is already there is exceeding any thinset recommended maximum thickness you're already asking for issues. By just filling those gaps you now have an install that is reliant upon walls that aren't properly prepped. If I'm wrong Jim I'll be the first to admit it, but I can't see a proper way to approach this by leaving those pucks on the wall.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 03:09 PM   #7
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I'm not sure if the pucks are made out of thin-set or not but they are fastened into the concrete scratch coat behind them very well. I would need an electric chipper to remove them.

Is thin-set a generic term or something very specific. These pucks feel like they have concrete in them.

As a side note, I've also been contacting various manufacturers and one of the ones here in the Northeast quickly identified the pucks as 'butterballs' and said they were fairly common here in the old days. Said I could use Laticrete 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed to fill in the gaps. Said I could use the 3701 to creat a new even substrate just as well.

I think I'll end up doing that unless I hear some objections.

Thanks.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 04:08 PM   #8
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If Laticrete will stand behind it then go for it. May want to get something in writing from them for good measure. You don't have to but I would.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 08:23 PM   #9
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If it's 50 years old and 2" thick, it's not thinset. Where I on a budget I'd be inclined to fill it (3701 would be a good choice) then flash it (with 254 to keep the Laticrete theme) to flatten out the ridges.
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Unread 01-26-2017, 12:54 PM   #10
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Filling in around the pucks sounds relatively easy...
...but then how are you going to create a solid 'flat' surface with all those lines running thru the pucks.

But even if you manage to get the pucks themselves flat, I think you might have a new problem...

The original tile was stuck directly to the pucks. But in your plan, the pucks become your base to which you will add thinset and then tile on top of that. By the time you do all that, depending upon your tile thickness, I'm afraid there isn't going to be much of a tub lip reaming to show.

The next potential problem is that if this is a tub/shower, I would be afraid that you don't have a proper water containment system.

Tile and mortar are only durable surfaces that are water 'impervious' (not affected by water). But they are not water 'proof'. So before you lay any tile in a shower, your walls have to already be designed to keep all the water in the shower/tub before you start mounting the tile.

So, can you take a shower in this tub 'as-is' without water leaking between the tub edge and the walls?

If not, you have even more reason to strip things back down to bare walls and rebuild the walls "correctly". If you can handle laying tile and mortar, you can handle replacing and water proofing the walls. It's not all that difficult, and there's lots of people here in this forum glad to help answer any questions you might have on those steps as well.


Speaking as a DIYer home owner, if I were you, I'd rip those pucks down (to bare studs if needed) and redo it right. It will be a bit more time and work, but it shouldn't add that much to the cost, and when you're done, you'll have a job done right that can last a lifetime rather than an expensive bandaid.

(Hey, while you're at it, you might want to check the condition of the tub and its plumbing as well. If anything else needs fixing or replacing, now would be the time to do it.)
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Unread 01-27-2017, 12:08 PM   #11
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Hookdo,
I get your point about how with a layer of thinset over the pucks, the new tiles might be too far in over the tub but I think I have enough room for that but should do the calculation to confirm.

How thick should does thin-set get laid out?
And if I decide to put a scratch coat on the pucks (i.e. fill the gaps and then shmear a scratch coat on, how thick are scratch coats?

I understand why most people advise to rebuild from the studs but I really want to avoid that because it presents other problems for this DIYer that I'd like to avoid.

Thanks.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 02:36 PM   #12
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Thats is awesome.

3701 is a great product. Fill all the gaps flush as possible. Take a rubbing stone over everything once dried to flatten ridges. Then skimcoat (1/8" min) with Lat 254. It the blobs are solid/bonded then this will work.
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Unread 04-26-2017, 09:13 AM   #13
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Bathroom floor: 1'x1' tiles over slightly pitched floor

Hi,
I am renovating an apartment for myself and have a question about the bathroom tiles.

The bathroom is small and the floor tiles were cracked. I removed the upper layer of tiles and found another layer underneath. See the pictures. I do not want to removed this lower layer because it is extremely solid.

I want to put 1' x 1' size tiles over these other tiles. How to do this?

One thing I should mention is that the previous upper level of while tiles was cracked in some places and you can see from the other photo that the floor is not entirely level. From the toilet to the entrance it seems to drop about a 1/4".

Ripping out the tiles that are there is not an option. I just want to lay new tiles over this.

Are square 1 ft tiles a problem if the floor slopes a little ?
Thanks,
Andy
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Unread 04-26-2017, 11:09 AM   #14
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You've got the same issue on the floor as what you have on the walls. It's probably built up +/- 2" with mud and the old tile is over that. You should remove it, but then you've got a lot of building up to do.

There are methods for tiling over tile if that's what you want to do, but it's a risky method as you're depending on someone else's work from many years ago. Find a thinset mortar that's rated to bond tile to tile. Most will require abrading the surface of the old tile to improve the bond.

If the floor sloped gradually over the entire room, those larger tile wouldn't be a problem. Dropping 1/4" in one foot is a problem, though. I'd look into a floor patch or self-leveling compound to bring that low spot up so the entire floor is flat.
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Unread 04-26-2017, 01:07 PM   #15
Davy
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Maybe I'm wrong but the pucks on the wall look to be 2x2 in size, maybe 3x3 but the thickness looks to be closer to 1/2 - 3/4 on the ones I can see real well. Regardless, I avoid tiling over someone elses tile work. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that I'm not going to take that chance. Like Ryan said, this method is not approved to start with, No way would I tile over it. Your earlier pic shows a tub, I would take it all down and install a moisture barrier that I know will hold back the water. We have no idea what shape the moisture barrier is in or if there is one. Then the studs would be my concern if there is no barrier.

That said, as a DIY'er, I can see you wanting to leave the pucks on the wall and it may very well last many more years. As a pro, we know that the prep work is part of the job and may take just as long to do as the tiling itself. If I were to go look at a job that had the pucks on the walls like yours and I told the homeowner I was going to tile over them, I probably wouldn't get the job.
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