I have several small tiles (approximately 3" x 3") that have fallen off the
wall around the bathtub. Some of the tiles just fell off, leaving the
surface of the greenboard in place. Others are still attached to the
greenboard backing, leaving only the "raw" plaster exposed in the remaining
What would be the best way to repair/reinstall the missing tiles?
You have bigger issues than just replacing the tiles. Tiles do not just
"fall off" over time (at least the ones I set...). If several fell off,
more will follow. It's due to a mechanical failure created during the
installation. Sounds like is was a hack installation using tiles simply
set with mastic over green board. Could you elaborate more? How old is
Thanks for the reply
Hack job is an understatement.
Two years ago, we had a "handyman" replace some cracked tiles. He found two
1. water had damaged the wall board and
2. the original size tiles were not available.
The repair was to remove a square, approximately 24" x 24" of the original
tile. He then replaced the greenboard and used smaller tiles in place of
Shortly after the work, the grout started coming out. I regrouted and
sealed twice. No luck, the grout has kept coming out. This time, based on
other advise, I'm using another type of grout, if I get that far.
While removing the grout, I discovered a couple of loose tiles. These were
the ones were the drywall layer (don't know the proper term) came off with
the tile. Obvious water damage there, but not cancerous. The other tiles,
I managed to knock off when removing the grout. The ones I knocked off, it
appears the mastic adheared well to the green board, but not to the tiles as
it is easily removed from the tiles.
As I see it, I have basically 2 options other than having it redone
professionally. 1 - Replace the tiles, if possible, 2 - tear out the
complete previous work and replace the greenboard and tiles.
Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
We are doing some remodeling. Part of the involves replacing a window
in a tiled shower wall. The general contractor said he would have a
tile guy replace the window with tile, but could not guarantee that it
would not leak at some point. He called it a "cold joint", I think. He
said it is almost impossible to patch tile and guarantee no leaks.
So, if this is true, you may be in for replacing all of the tile.
If your looking for a good fix, have it redone professionally (that
means with a license and references). Plus the new tiles will look much
nicer as a matched surface. Short of that, The tiles should have been
attached using a Thinset type morter. No one should ever use mastic in
a wet environment. Heck, I never use mastic, always morter or cememt
You can generalize underlayments this way:
Green board installations last = 10yrs
cement board = 20 yrs
dryset morter base/surround = 40yrs
If you have it redone completely, ask for a bid to have them remove all
the greenboard and use a cement backer board over waterprooff sheeting
for the underlayment. It's more stable and resistant to water damage.
Also, tiles set in morter really adhere great to cement board.
I don't know if mastic is the proper term for what was used. Several years
ago, I put in 1000 SF of floor tile and the thinset which was gray in color.
The stuff used on the bathtub tiles was white, so I assumed it wasn't the
same thing. Regardless of the type, it certainly didn't work out very well.
Matching the existing tiles is probably a no win situation. When the house
was built, they went the cheap route on wall tiles and are not readily
available (if at all). The tiles in question go about 7 feet up the wall
and encompas both ends and the side of the tub area as well as some
decorative work that extends along one wall. To complicate the issue even
further, there is a window in the wall next to the tub and the tiles go
around the window area. We're also considering having a nice tub enclosure
professionally installed, but not sure if they can modify their models to go
around the window. Sounds like lots of $$$ involved there.
Thanks for the advice.
Exerting more effort repairing a bad installation is pretty much a
waste of time. If you want to get it done cheap and fast, use a vinyl
tub surround. Otherwise, pull the tile/greenboard and install backer
board with new tile.
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