View Full Version : Need advise on bathroom tile

Bill in San Jose
05-17-2007, 11:52 AM
#1. I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong. Then I went to fix a minor drip in the master bath's shower and changed all that. So much for the twist-it-a-little-harder approach to home repair.

#2. Thanks to Bowwiz for reducing these pictures so that they could be posted.

#3. Can somebody help with advice?

I managed to twist and shear-off the faucet when trying to remove the outer chrome nut to fix the leak. I'd poured vinegar on it to try to loosen the hard water scale first. Dumb move. Luckily I'd shut off water to my house first, and afterwards I got in the crawl space and cut the galvanized pipes to the shower and plugged the hot/cold water lines so I could turn the water back on.

My original "plan" was to remove only enough tile to get into the wall to removed/ replace the faucet and piping above and below it by carefully removing the white tile. No-way that will happen, the tile is permanently glued on the gypsum wallboard behind it. I can't easily get at it from the room behind the shower since I have a home office and built-in desk attached to the wall.

I'm looking at 2 options. First is remove the tile and wallboard top to bottom up to the 2 studs, replace the plumbing, then either sheetrock or greenboard from the centers of the studs and re-tile.

Option 2 is to rip the whole darn thing out, resheetrock and greenboard, and put in a new tile shower and floor, basically redo the whole bathroom.

The house is 33 years old, and the bath was redone 15 years ago when we did it to repair water damage, so it was all cheap tile, etc. on the job.

I'm figuring if I (or my son who's a construction management major and does framing carpentry summers) do the rip out work I can do the whole bath in tile, commode, for around $6k if I subcontract the tile work, or around $3k if my son and I retile it.

Any suggestions other than stop saying "darn it" and start the rip-out work?

BTW, my wife is not at all thrilled about getting a new bathroom, go figure.



05-17-2007, 07:49 PM
We just got our bathroom re-tiled and it is well worth it to re-do the whole thing. Put dura-rock on the shower walls where the tile will be. Green board is fine every where else. Cut the sheet rock at the top of the tile that is there and all that tile will come off in sheets with the old sheetrock.

05-17-2007, 09:14 PM
I had the exact same problem you are having. I took the tile and greenboard off around the valve and was just going to replace the valve and redo the section of tile but the wife said "No Way". Well I had never done tile work before but she bought me a nice tile saw and away we went. Replaced the greenboard with the durarock and read up on how to lay tile. After several days of hard work the shower turned out pretty nice. I guess maybe to nice because she wants me put some new tile in the livingroom now.

05-17-2007, 10:21 PM
I had the exact same problem you are having. I took the tile and greenboard off around the valve and was just going to replace the valve and redo the section of tile but the wife said "No Way". Well I had never done tile work before but she bought me a nice tile saw and away we went. Replaced the greenboard with the durarock and read up on how to lay tile. After several days of hard work the shower turned out pretty nice. I guess maybe to nice because she wants me put some new tile in the livingroom now

Exactly what to do right there.....tear it all down and do a durarock/hardibacker, not green board! 12x12 tile can be had at HD for as low as .70 a sqft! Looks stellar too! I built homes for 6.5 yrs. Here's what to do:

remove old tile to studs
get thick black poly and use galvanized nails to attach it - start at bottom and overlap each layer you go up.
put the hardibacker (about $10-$12 for a 3'x5' sheet) up using galvanized nails or screws
start your tile from the outside and go in.
do both short walls first and then the long inside wall.
when grouted use 100% silicone at tile to tub edges and in corners to prevent any water penetration.

Bill in San Jose
05-18-2007, 01:11 AM
When I pull out the fiberglass pan in the shower and old bench seat in an L on the other 2 walls from the picture, do I have to use concrete ("mud") on the floor with a rubber bladder of some type? concrete, rubber bladder, concrete pitched to the drain and then tile the floor?

Can somebody suggest a good book? I've not gone to tile stores (there are 100 in north San Jose it seems) to look and learn.

05-18-2007, 05:36 PM
I personally would not to replace the shower with tile, but with cultured marble. We have done several of the shower replacements, taking out the old leaky, dull, mold filled grout and tile and replacing with a cultured marble shower. A lot of worries out of the way because there are no grout lines to mold or crack and leak, very easy to clean and virtually leakproof. The seams will be caulked with silicone sealant. I tore out my own showere tile, put up new greenrock (all that is needed for marble shower) and had the local marble company install my shower for around $2800. My wife sure likes it better and every customer that we have done this for has been extremely pleased and wished they had done it sooner. By the time a leak in a tile shower is found, most of the time there has always been a lot of damage done to the surrounding walls and floors, especially on a non slab home. May be more expensive at first for the marble, but well worth it in the long run. Just my .02 worth.

Bill in San Jose
05-18-2007, 06:33 PM
Mudslinger, what kind of a pan does it use- does it come with the shower?

05-18-2007, 08:37 PM
same as tile. Cultured marble is a good look....it is what I have i my master shower.

05-18-2007, 09:21 PM
The pan on a cultured marble shower, like on the ones we have used, is of the same cultured marble as the walls. You can also get seats, soap and shampoo holders and other accessories. After I finally found where my leak was coming from in my tile shower and replaced it, I realized that if it had not been for the plastic sheeting placed between the sheetrock and the wall studs, I probably would have had to replace every stud and possibly the outside brick because the leak had been there for a long time, but never showed until it got the carpet wet. I would definitely check out the cultured marble showers.

Bill in San Jose
07-01-2007, 06:58 PM
Well, old sheetrock is gone between the studs, new plumbing installed and does not leak, green board screwed in and Fix-All used to repair the sheetrock that I messed up on top of the 2x4's.

Next (last) step is putting in tile to match the original. How do I cut or clip or break or grind the shapes for the shower handle and the shower head where they come through?

I asked a guy at a tile store today and he made it sound like it was rocket science- and we did not look like Werner Van Braun!

07-01-2007, 08:43 PM
Go to a rental store and rent a wet tile saw. You can cut the tile to what you need and even cut circles with a little practice. You can buy a fairly good small wet tile saw at Home Depot for less than $100. We have one and it works very well. If you were closer, I would let you borrow mine.

07-02-2007, 06:45 AM
You can get a carbide grit hole saw for your drill. Go slow, don't bear down too hard, and keep it wet. It will cut faster and better wet. It's not rocket science, but you might want to have a couple extra tiles on hand.

Bill in San Jose
07-02-2007, 08:29 AM
There are masonry blades for jig saws, will those work? I have a chop saw, I don't know if there are masonry blades. I don't have many straight cuts to do, just the parts that the edges will be covered by the 2 metal trim pieces and out of sight when the job is done.

07-02-2007, 09:12 AM
If you have a small grinder a masonry wheel or a diamond wheel will make straight cuts like going through butter. A very affordable option is a carbide grit coping saw blade, for curved cuts. It takes more time and effort, but it only costs a few dollars.

You can make a bunch of straight cuts into the edge of your curve and break out the waste with a nipper, or even a hammer, if you're careful. As long as the edges of the cut are covered by the trim pieces on your plumbing fixtures your cuts don't have to be beautiful.

I don't know about the jigsaw. The blades you are looking for don't have teeth at all, just carbide grit, looks a little like a very serious nail file.

Flint knapper
07-03-2007, 07:46 PM
I just finished tiling around a three piece tub/shower. It took me about a week to complete because I really didn't know what I was doing and wanted to do it right, so I took my time.

Two days ago I put in the grout and Finished it up.

I used a small tile saw to cut the tile in straight lines and for the focet head, I used a dremal tool to cut a circle in one of the tiles.

I was really pleased the way it turned out.

The new tile job looks a lot better than the rest of the bathroom, but I'm not about to tear down all the old tile and start over. I'm finished puting up tile for awhile.

07-03-2007, 09:01 PM
Bill - They have snips you can get for cutting the small stuff and working the corners. check Home Depot or Lowes.

Bill in San Jose
07-03-2007, 09:18 PM
I still can't believe what I just did. I picked up the tile today (believable), then at Home Depot picked up 4 inch masonry blades for my Makita chop saw. I've used the chop saw for lots of projects, and with the metal grinding wheels it does a good job sharpening axes and shovel blades.

Anyway, I put on eye protection and my shooting hearing protection, and said "I wonder if I can cut a curve with a straight blade?". Darn if it didn't work great.


Then I cut all the other curves. The one that was left was the hole in the tile for the shower head. "Wonder if I start by making a hex pattern, and then criss crossing it to remove material, will I wind up with something that looks like a hole?".


Darned if it didn't work too. Here's all the pieces, and a rat tail file I used to clean up the edges.


Before and after on the water faucet.



Grout tomorrow, then some sulfamic acid to clean up all the old tile and grout, and seal the new grout, and the job will be done. I'm kind of sorry my wife didn't say to re-do ti all with nice new tile, once I got started the project was not that bad after all.

Bill in San Jose
07-09-2007, 06:52 PM
Yeeee Haaaa.

Finished the "beast" yesterday, and cleaned all the dirty grout (there's got to be a special place in heaven for husbands who do that for their wifes).

My goal was to get 'r done before deer season opens, and as ridiculous as it sounds, Kauli-fornia Zone A archery deer season opens next Saturday, July 14. Here's a final picture, I don't know why they get this funny pixel pattern on them.

Thanks for all the advice, I hope what I learned about using a chop saw and 4" masonry blade helps somebody else out in the future.