How to save tile when breaking shower wall?

Both of my showers have a valve that sends water either to the shower head or to the tub nozzle, and both valves are frozen in the wall. The plumber told me he would have to break the wall in each bathroom. My question: how do I get the tiles off so that I can reinstall them after the repair? I can't get any more of these colors and forsee disaster unless I can somehow preserve every single one of the existing tiles. One posting in this group, in answer to another person's question, suggested breaking the tiles off the wall and be sure to put a blanket below (presumably so the tiles won't shatter as they fall). But, how do you get each tile off the wall in one piece without cracking or chipping it? I would be willing to spend an entire month with dental floss and solvent sawing away underneath the tiles to break the seal. Has anyone done this or do you have any suggestions for how to go about it? Is there any solvent you would recommend to dissolve the glue that is holding the tile to the walls? Also, how do I get the grout out? I'm a total novice, but am absolutely determined to save these tiles somehow. Would like to hear all suggestions, regardless of how time-consuming. Many thanks!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

go through the wall on the other side.
there's going to be no way to do what you want. they are put on with cement, which won't dissolved in anything that you'll want to use.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

(Cindy - can't. The shower is on an outside wall. If it comes to it, I suppose it is easier to break the wall from the inside rather than saw through a clapboard exterior to get to the thing, yes? Also, don't think I could convince anybody to put a ladder up to the second floor and saw through the exterior wall, anyway. I'm just determined enough to consider that alternative, however, even if only briefly.)

(Cindy - Well, is there anything that I wouldn't want to use but could possibly succeed with if I were stubborn enough? For example, something with toxic fumes, or devilishly messy? Will take all suggestions, regardless of how far-fetched the chance of success might be. Thanks.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just take a saw and cut the whole wall out with the board and tile attached once you cut a slot you should be able to cut the drywall the tile is attached to if they did not use backer board if the did you could use one of those wire " miracle saws to cu the nails off?
Wild ass idea I know since we don't have a picture I would try a product call "Rust Buster"
We have used it at work on humidifiers that are all rusted over with good results
article about it here
http://www.civilwarguns.com/9512B.html
This site shows the product it is used by the HVAC industry quite a bit if you look in the local phone book you should find a local place that has it!
http://www.hvactool.com/catalog.php3?hcategory=2&hsubcat &hpagenum=1&hproductid=MA-ZP42
Johnstone Supply carries it and they have quite a few stores around the country
Wayne

cement,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
--WebTV-Mail-5444-6759 Content-Type: Text/Plain; Charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7Bit
How old is the house and what color is the tile.
My house was built in 1960 before they used cement backer board. When the plumber came to the house to change out the old faucets with the seats in them to a single handle faucet. The wall board and tile fell into the tub.
The plumber cut back the tile and the wallboard back to stud . took a 2x4 and toe nailed it in between the studs. Then put a new piece of wallboard in and mudded it. My tile was plain white and I checked around and found a place that had some old white tile. Fitted the tile in with the adhesive and grouted with white like the original grout . Worked great for the next 5 years. then we gutted the bathroom and redid the whole room..
Pat.
--WebTV-Mail-5444-6759 Content-Description: signature Content-Disposition: Inline Content-Type: Text/HTML; Charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7Bit
<html><bodybgcolor="white"text="green"></body></html>
--WebTV-Mail-5444-6759--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

your choice is going through the outside wall, or replacing all the tile around the valve, possibly replacing the tile on the wall. it's up to you.

cement,
strong acids will dissolve the cement and are extremely dangerous to use if you're not prepared for it. however, they will also discolor and possibly dissolve the tile and/or glaze, so it may ruin the tiles and force you to retile anyway.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As stated before what is on the other side of the wall? Come in that way. There are larger chrome plates made for this purpose. As for saving the tile,,,,,,, no such luck in my history. If it comes off easy it was not installed correctly. Then I would worry about leaks soon to appear.
I guess you could get a roto zip and cut out each tile separately. Then try to remove the adhesive from the backing. Then how do you replace the backing on the wall so that you have a water proof seal from the plumbing? I would follow the plumbing pros advice. Some valves can be fixed from the front after they have been dissembled without making the hole any larger.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

{Cindy - The other side of the wall is the exterior of the house. There is no way in from behind.}

(Cindy - The plumber did try to fix it from the front after loosening the cover plate, but couldn't get the valve out. It is frozen solid, apparently.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can't. Figure on a close match or retile entire wall. There is a large escohtion (sp)(cover plate) made to cover the holes left by converting from a 3 handle to a single handle that may work for you.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Cindy wrote:

Before dismembering the wall, have you tried some Liquid Wrench or WD-40 on those frozen valves?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.