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Unread 06-30-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
Edthedawg
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I think I butchered the install...

This is a lengthy first post, so here's the Executive Summary: tile install in new bathroom may need some serious reworks.

Building a new bathroom in my 124 yr old Victorian. 60x60 Jacuzzi in the corner w/ an alcove return and shower in it. I’m doing all the design, electrical, framing, and tile work for this renovation, but vended out the plumbing (entire house replumbed as part of this effort) and sheetrock, because of the amount of work involved in getting the rock there, hanging it quickly, etc.

Sheetrock guy hung 1/2” greenboard and Durock, but appears to have used plain paper joint tape and drywall mud to joint it all. And ran the Durock right down tight onto the top of the tub face.

My architect friend says he should have used mesh tape, durabond to joint it, and left about a 1/4” gap from the top of the tub face, which I should have then packed w/ Phenoseal vinyl adhesive caulk. He’s worried that the paper and mud products on the back, especially down at the tub/tile joint, will wind up exposed to even a pinhole leak, and will wick moisture up into the walls like crazy, inviting mold, rot, and tile failure.

And to compound issues, I spent all day yesterday cutting tile (new tile saw is suh-WEET!) and then installing the bottom course. I left it mostly tight down against the tub face, w/ max 1/8" gap in places. Tile is all 3/8"+ thickness terra cotta (bulletproof for sure). Bottom course of tile is all 12x12’s, so my thinking is I could run a fat radius bead of Phenoseal along the vertical corners and the horizontal tub/tile joint, and pack the 12” vertical grout lines between the bottom tiles w/ phenoseal too (instead of grout). And so long as I get a Phenoseal and grout to match each other, it’ll be waterproof and mostly undetectable.

Tile on the bare joint compound was a concern but feels like it’s going to hold at least marginally well. The field is all on bare Durock, and that is definitely not going to have any bond issues. I’m using a premixed adhesive from Lowes that the (IMO) fairly knowledgeable sales guy recommended.

Other options include ripping out all the tile that sits on joint compound, sanding down that compound, dig out the tub/Durock horizontal joint to make a 1/4” gap (which will wind up ugly and I risk murdering the tub finish) replace the corner tape w/ mesh, and refinish all the joints and edges w/ Durabond. Then knock the scabbed-on mastic off the back of the cut tiles, and re-lay those tiles w/ new mastic over the Durabond.

Or rip out everything, and replace the Durock, which I REALLY don’t wanna do.

ARRRRGH. I can see this consuming every waking moment for the next two weeks. Any thoughts from more experienced folks here?? THANK YOU!
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Unread 06-30-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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Hi Ed,

Use of any premixed thinset, aka mastic in a wet area is generally not recommended.

While you are waiting for some more expert advice to come in from some of the pros, take a look through the Liberry for proper construction methods. You can also search for tub surrounds and come up with some previous posts that should help you out.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:04 AM   #3
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Welcome, Edthedawg. Please put a first name down there above your GO SOX cheer in a permanent signature line for us to use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edthedawg
Or rip out everything, and replace the Durock, which I REALLY don’t wanna do.
I'm thinking that's gonna be your best option.

Too many mistakes in what you've done thus far to save it, I think.

You don't indicate any moisture barrier behind the CBU walls, and since it was installed by a sheetrock guy it's almost certain to be missing.

And sheetrock mud and tape in your CBU joints and likely installed with sheetrock screws.

The CBU being butted against the top of the tub is also a problem. And your butting your tiles in a similar fashion makes it a bigger problem.

On the plus side, you can just grout the thing and use it until the problems start to show and then tear it out. But I really fear a tear-out is in your not too distant future here.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:26 AM   #4
Levi the Tile Guy
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ed,

I have to agree with CX and Joe, and for the same reasons
I would never use mastic in a wet area, and even if it says on the bucket pre-mixed thinset it really is a mastic, and can break down when it gets wet.
The paper used to tape isn't made to withstand the chemicals in thinset.
You do need a minor gap in the 1/2" CBU and tub
And it still goes back to the overall problem of no moisture barrier.
It would be a lot easier and cheaper now to fix before all tile is up, and possible failure occurs.

On the bright side the mastic should scrape off of the back of the already set pieces so you should be able to save them
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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:56 AM   #5
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moisture barrier

I used a heavy plastic sheeting behind the Durock. All indications are that it still is in place.

The Durock is hung w/ Rock-On screws, not plain sheetrock screws.

I'll dig thru the liberry for adhesives to use. I was originally planning to use a Versabond or Flexbond type of thinset mortar, but instead listened to the Lowes Guy and went w/ his strong recommendation. This seems to be a bit of a contentious issue among lots of installers, I guess...

Right now I'm leaning toward doing this:
- Pull the tiles off the edges (including all along the top of the tub)
- Set down some 1/4" lauan as a protector for the tub, and hand cut/chisel a 1/4" gap in the bottom of the existing Durock
- Belt / Grind off the joint compound and paper tape in the edges/corners
- Re-joint everything w/ mesh tape and Versabond thinset mortar
- Re-cut tiles @ tub interface to ensure uniform 1/4" gap, and scrape off as much of the old adhesive as I can.
- Re-install the tile work using Some Proper TBD Adhesive

...then rejoin the grout / sealant process as planned...

Ripping out the Durock is going to be a logistical nightmare for me on a few different planes, so I will go extra lengths to salvage it in situ.

Thanks for your ideas / opinions!

-Ed
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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
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These guys are all right.

It would be better to demo it before you get more of the tile up and it gets damaged.

If you decide to replace the Durock, I would switch it up to Hardibacker. As far as flexural and compressive strength, there is no backerboard stronger than Hardibacker and it would provide a bit more insurance on the installation.

Flexbond is a great Thinset for showers. You're going to get a lot of expansion and contraction due to the dramatic tempature changes and the heavily modified Flexbond will move and flex with your tile to prevent cracks.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 12:05 PM   #7
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That durock is going to be rough to chisel out the 1/4" you plan on chipping out, and is the plastic behind the durock and on top of the greenboard? If so you will surely damage the plastic trying to chisel out the durock. If the plastic is behind both or even if it isn't I would use a grinder to score the durock. That will be extremely dusty though.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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That pretty much all sounds fine, but you need to make sure there is an 1/8" gap in between the sheets of Durock. If you have a grinder and a diamond wheel, you can cut the gaps in if there are none. I would do the same at the tub. Its a good excuse to get a grinder if you don't have one. You'll use it a lot more than you might think you would.

As for the grouting, I'm not sure why you'd want to caulk the first course. There really is no reason to and it won't hold up like a good sealed grout will.

BTW, if you soak the tiles in water, it may loosen up the thinset enough to get it off. That's the problem with mastic, it emulsifies in water.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #9
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2x6 wet wall (two bathrooms back to back on this wall) w/ tub flange screwed to studs. Plastic sheeting stapled to studs, draped over flange. 1/2" Durock screwed directly to studs, run 4' up from top of tub. Greenboard butts up to Durock for flush surface. Tub flange is an inch or more high, so the plastic sheeting should have plenty of reach down into the tub even if I do go hacking into it a little 1/4" up from the top of the tub.

I do have a die grinder w/ a diamond wheel. No problem opening up a 1/8" gap between the Durock sheets, but I fear my grinding-fu will hack up the tub pretty good if I so much as sneeze or blink while trying to grind down near the tub flange.

Mama don't wanna buy another jacuzzi!

And in reading the liberry, I am duly kicking myself most heartily for listening to the Lowes Salesdrone leading me astray. I had already bought the Versabond weeks ago, and I let this guy talk me out of it.

I attached a pic of things as they stand right now... Thanks again, all!
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Unread 06-30-2009, 01:08 PM   #10
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What I would do then is get some Gorilla Glue duct tape (contrary to the claims, its not any stickier than any other good duct tape) because its much thicker than others, and put a couple layers down around the tub, then using a 10" or 12" drywall mud knife as a guard, score the backerboard as suggested above, then break it out with a large screwdriver or something of the like.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 01:13 PM   #11
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I was picturing only one row of tile on. ouch looks nice so far though. For the most part take into consideration who you are talking to when it comes to "tile experts" at box stores like lowes and home depot. I have yet to run across one that knows up from down when it comes to tile. Wish you luck on the rest of the install.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 01:19 PM   #12
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Justin - love the duct tape and knife-guarding method proposed. Sounds pretty bullet proof.

Levi - thanks for the kind words. Mama was happy when she woke up. At least til she heard me grumbling this morning...

And I am seriously contemplating pulling a lot of it out and redoing it all w/ thinset. Curse those Lowes Salesdrones and their hypnotic sales mumbo jumbo!
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Unread 06-30-2009, 10:07 PM   #13
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If the drywall mud used on the cement board was standard pre-mixed (not setting type) mud, you should be able to remove much of it with a wet sponge. Get it wet and you can scrape it up with a knife or whisk it away with a brush.
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Unread 07-01-2009, 05:56 AM   #14
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Gardner - thanks for the input. Exactly what I'm hoping to find when I go spelunking in there tonight

If it's a total train wreck at the bottom of the CBU, I'm just gonna chop out and replace the bottom 4" or so...

And FYI to all - I have been using this TEC Invision mastic, which I see has some ardent followers *shrug* we'll see. Gonna pull everything loose enough to pull tonight, and only going w/ thinset from here out.

Gotta learn me how to do them fancy plunge cuts too, around the shower escutcheons...

Did I mention I'm glad A) I bought extra tile, and B) I found this site?? Thanks guys!
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Unread 07-01-2009, 11:16 PM   #15
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Unhappy Broken and Dejected.

Ripped out most of the tile tonight. Popped off pretty easy in most spots. A few were well bonded (in the field, as I had expected) but everything that was anywhere over the mud just popped loose like nobody's business.

So pulling tiles off = good thing so far.

Most of the TEC Invision Evil Mastic From Hell came with it, and I spent a few muttering hours swearing and chipping it loose.

But that's all the good news.

What I found at the tub/tile interface has me just plain broken... I think the sheetrock guy actually had ZERO experience ever doing tile backer stuff, and I probably never should have asked him to do it in the first place, now that I understand what goes into it. But I'm really screwed I think.

He set the 1/2" Durock on the wall studs, using the Rock-On screws I provided, but I can't see anything else done properly.

- CBU is resting on TOP of the flange, not OVER it.
- Plastic sheeting behind CBU is either cut off above or shoved behind the tub flange
- Confirmed all mud he used is plain joint compound w/ paper tape. He filled the "joint" between the bottom of the CBU and the tub top surface w/ this mud...

So pulling the tile out, again - VERY good idea. Wishing I had dug into this more earlier but I didn't.

So now I have this Durock CBU, which I can spend a little more time getting the mastic off from to eliminate any high spots and most of the residual evilness. The question is - what, if anything, can I do WITHOUT tearing out this Durock? Is it even remotely possible to clean it up well, let it dry out, tack up new plastic sheeting, and then hang some 1/4" or 1/2" hardibacker right over the Durock? (I ask because I have a stack of Hardi on hand already)

Would it be feasible to go w/ something like Ditra, and run that down over the tub flange?

Uploading 4 pix.
01 & 02 - the tub walls as they now look.
03 - close-up of the tub flange following its excavation.
04 - typical tile post-mastic removal. Do these need to be soaked/scrubbed still? Or can there be some minor residual mastic left on the surface?

Thanks for all help on this one. I know "rip it all out and start over" is easy to say, but I really really REALLY fear damaging the tub by launching that level of demo over it, and I have ZERO immediate helpers to assist me on this. Epic DIY. Not even gonna think about impacts to cost and schedule - I just want it to be some level of "right."
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