Redoing bathtub tile


I just posted a response under my old "bifold door" thread, but thought it might be a good idea to cross-post under a better subject line. I'm getting ready to redo/repair some tile around my bathtub. The tub caulk needs to be redone, some of the tiles are loose, and some of the grout is very discolored. I kinda know what I'm doing with tile, and what the heck, I'll never get better if I don't try. I'm thinking I'll use my Dremel with a grout saw attachment to get the old grout out, but thought I'd ask if there's some other way you'd recommend. Any other suggestions? Also (get ready for stupid question), when I take out the old grout, will the tiles that aren't loose stay attached to the wall? Or should I be prepared to redo them as well as the already loose ones?
Jo Ann
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Disclaimer: Not a tile pro.

If the wall is in tact and not damp then the thinset should hold.

Of course! Shit happens...
What is the grout spacing? If it's like 1/16 inch, keep in mind the each edge of each tile may have two 1/32 lips (right where the grout goes). These are made to touch as the tile is laid out giving a 1/16 spacing. When you start removing grout, be aware you may be cutting into them.
My experience is very old grout can be very hard.
What size are the tiles?
I've never been impressed using a rotory Dremel with a grout bit.
I've used a Roto Zip with a diamond blade. VERY dusty but very fast.
The latest thing is oscillating tools. Made by many manufaturers ranging from $35 at Harbor Freight to the Fein Multimaster at around $400. Never used one on grout but they are awesome on wood. The half moon or grout removal blade allows you to get right into corners.
The different manufactures call them by different names but they are all known as oscillating tools. They come with changable blades that do anything from wood plunge cutting, to sanding to scraping. That scraper blade would probably be a big help getting the old thinset off the wall as well as the tile backs of the loose tiles you're going to reuse.
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I never tried this but the guy who told me this sounded like he knew what he was taling about. He said, you push as much dry grout into the cracks then bottle spray water on top. THen you duck tape sheet plastic on the repaired portion one panel a day so you don't lose use.
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Any chance oyu could post some photos? Dirty / discolored grout can be cleaned....often times easier than removing / replacing it.
Grout is the filler between the tiles, if the mud or thinset (depending on the age of the installation) is sound the tiles will stay in place. Saw or grout rotary bit can be a bit hard to control, damaging the tile is a risk.
Try to do as little removal as needed.
cheers Bob
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DD_BobK wrote:

Dremel grout removal set has a guide which attaches to the tool - very easy to guide. It has a tip that runs in the grout space.
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*You should be prepared to replace the wallboard behind the tiles. It is quite possible that moisture got behind the tiles and that is what caused them to become loose. The discolored grout could be an indication of mold behind the tiles.
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Jo Ann wrote:

I redid the grout in our shower with the Dremel grout remover. It went very well, other than for all the dust created. Need breathing and eye protection, but no big deal. Replacing the grout, for me, was most difficult because it takes a little muscle. Kneeling to do the lower tiles is a bit of a chore :o) Need good lighting to be sure there are no gaps in new grout. I probably went through 3 tips for the Dremel. Our tile is 1x4" and in a couple of spots the tiles were a tiny bit closer to each other and narrower than the tip - the tip skipped out of the channel and probably could have chipped or scratched the tile. Ours is matte finish, so no scratches seen.
Be sure to tape something over the drain so's you don't drop a tool down the drain - I did fine until I was replacing the drain cover and dropped the screw - my husband got a telescoping rod with a magnet on the tip to retrieve the screw :o)
Loose tile is worrisome, possibly a sign that the wall is wet. Don't know for sure, but if that is the case you may need new wall. My daughter had that problem, discovered when a guest put their arm through the wall in getting out of the tub.
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wrote:

Good reminder on the drain, thanks! Yeah, wet wall is definitely one of my worries here. If I have to replace the drywall/backer board/ whatever is behind there, I will probably be out of my depth pretty quickly. On the plus side, I want to install a new bath/shower faucet, so if I end up tearing the wall out, that will be a good time to do that. Always trying to see the silver lining, LOL! It's the only way to stay sane with an old house, I think.
Jo Ann
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Why? If you can replace tiles and grout then replacing the wall behind really takes equal or less skill. It's just a big mess. But when you're done the mess is gone and you have a good solid foundation for any tile you want to put up.
If you use a shower rated drywall you just cut that with a razor knife. Tune goofy corners with the knive or Surform Plane. Screw in. No taping or mudding. Maybe caulk the joints at least.
    
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If you use tile backer board you may need a tool or two to score and snap, cut/notch/trim. Hey, this is how you get a collection of all kinds of tools :-) One of the key things is the wall has to be flat before tile is put on. Smaller tiles (vs say 12") will be more forgiving to this. The backer board is attached to the studs using special cement board screws (not with a screwdriver) or roofing nails depending on what the mfgrs installation instructions say. Don't try anything else but cement screws for cement board. They won't countersink flush.
Of course there are more details but maybe even my playing it down is more than you want to give a shot.
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Jo Ann wrote:

I've never done it, but time-wise it would probably be quicker to replace the whole thing. That is, if you aren't taking off old tile and cleaning adhesive and grout off of it. In my daughter's case, I wasn't there when the wall was replaced. When it broke through, about one third of the tiles were affected. For some reason, being wet made it easy to get the cement/grout off the tiles...just picked it off with my fingers. They were small, 2" tiles.
My daughter's home is a '20's bungalow...would love to do all the rehab work. Reglazed a bunch of the windows, but they have been replaced. If it were mine, I'd have taken apart the old ones, put new ropes, etc.
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If you have loose tiles, this could be a sign of a much bigger problem. We are in the process of redoing a bath. We had loose tiles that fell out and upon inspection found that the tiles were placed directly onto "greenboard" (a big no no in wet areas). I had to tear out all the drywall and use cement backer board. On the positive side, with all this demo, we are doing some upgrades.
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