Repair/Rebuild Tile Shower Stall ---> HELP?


We have a 32" X 60" shower stall in our 1981 build Florida home. There have been a couple issues with a leak below the valve and some leaks in the tile edges so time has come to rebuild this beast. Started tearing the tile off the walls and planning on taking out all the wall tile and the sheet rock on the walls and replacing with cement board and new tile. The tile on the floor is, well, 1" square off white ugly tile. It's not cracked or chipped, just ugly.
So the question is, can we tile new floor tile directly over the existing floor tile without tearing up the existing floor tile? We feel that if we tear the floor tile up we're going to be facing the major job of completely rebuilding the floor base, sloped and everything. The current shower floor is already several inches below the room floor so there wouldn't be any issue with the floor being above the room floor or anything like that. We're going to have to rebuild the ledge as it was concrete or something and the tile on it was concreted directly to it (tearing the ledge tile up is tearing up the ledge).
Any hints or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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Ever done tile work before?
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Yup. Over the last year I did the kitchen floor with 12" X 12" on a 45-degree pattern (along with the cabinets and removed the drop ceiling), tiled the front entrance way with a brick pattern that continued down the main hallway, and two rooms of Pergo (which I kind of regret). :O/
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On 8/22/2010 5:02 PM, infiniteMPG wrote:

My son's torn his shower out to rebuild himself. Says he can order a custom built floor to fit in his pan. Think the floor is molded although he will tile walls.
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built floor to fit in his pan. Think the floor is molded although he will tile walls.
Where is he getting it? And will it be a fiberglass or plastic shower pan or will he tile the floor?
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Found an odd situation as I was tearing up the wall tile, seems there's 1/2" to 3/4" gap between the floor/base tile and the wall tile/ concrete board, and I can dig down about 1" below the floor tile and it appears to be sand or leveling mud or something. It's quite damp, too. Appears that they didn't put a shower pan or liner around the base/floor of the shower before they built this shower.
So here's my plan, using floor leveler and level out the grout lines of the floor tile. Use concrete to fill this gap around the edges of the floor tile. Rip out all the wall concrete board/sheet rock. Replace all the sheet rock with new concrete board, then find a way to seal around the floor and part way up the walls, then re-tile everything. This would require extending the drain up slightly. Not planning on removing the existing tile.
Any ideas of sealing before tiling?
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infiniteMPG wrote:

See those red flags around you yet? You have found evidence of water infiltrations already. I presume you have gravity at you house. If water is in the dead space below the existing tile, it is quite likely to have infiltrated below the mud bed to the decking and structure underneath, unless there is a liner underneath. Can you see into the joist bays below, or is this over finished space? Any evidence of dark spots or drips under the shower?
Personally, as much work and money as you are putting into this project, I'd demo it all, and build back with a proper pan or membrane or whatever, and seriously consider paying a pro to do the wet areas. A shower is a lot less forgiving than floors in a kitchen or entryway. I'd rather pay a little extra and never have to think about it or mess with it again. Houses, and showers, flex with weather and point loads on the floor. Any kind of seal is likely to fail eventually. That is why shower pans and membrane underlayments were invented- to make a waterproof bowl with the only exit via the drain.
--
aem sends....

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This is Florida and it's a block house, everything is built on the slab, no floor joists. I guess I am still trying to get a handle on how this was constructed to start with. The floor in the shower (above the tile) is still several inches below the bathroom floor (main slab) level. From what I see there would of been a membrane put on the slab, then mud on top of the liner, then tile on top of the mud? Guess I'm not clear about how you tile on top of the mud :O/

If "paying a pro" was in the budget, I'd be paying a pro. In this economy I'm going to be lucky to pull the strings to get the supplies to patch this together. This is going to have to be down and dirty and as quick and easy (cheap) as possible.
Is there a "pan" that you can install and tile on top of? I hate the thought of having "plastic" in the bottom of the shower. Been in a few of those and looks and feels mega-cheap, cheap, cheap.... want to try to put tile down if at all possible.
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infiniteMPG wrote:

Hate to say it, but I would look on the TOH web site. They have gone through the membrane-laying process several times on the show, so I assume they have a slide show of it on the web site. Mudbed with the slope, then membrane, then thinset to hold the tile. Slab was probably poured with a pocket for the shower, and the mudbed built up inside it.
--
aem sends...

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Thanks! Sounds logical. When to the TOH site and found a video on replacing a vinyl shower pan but couldn't find anything on doing a tile floor shower.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,1639349,00.html
Do you have a link to help on the shower stall construction?
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I would gut and replace everything, otherwise you will be doing this job again:( and wondering why you didnt do it right the first time.
ideally you should of left it as is till you had enough money to do it right........
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Ideally if water wasn't leaking into the walls and running thru the wall and under my workbench in the garage I would of :O/
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infiniteMPG wrote:

So you have a dropped section in the slab for the shower floor. Good.
IME, there would be no need for a membrane. A layer of mortar - a rather friable layer, heavy on sand, light on cement - is added on top of the slab to give the necessary slope and the tile is layed on it. Seems to me you should be able to remove the floor tile with minimal damage. If there is damage to the mortar bed, just fill in with thinset when re-tiling. Water getting through the tile to the mortar bed and slab should present no problems, the slab gets wet anyway from rain. Just like the rest of the slab and footers :)
Both our showers are built like that, no problems whatsoever. No need even for shower doors as the higher bathroom floor is also tile over the slab.
--

dadiOH
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My thought, too.

You mean to remove the tile from the mortar and leave the existing mortar and sand base?

Sounds logical. Thanks!

Still putting shower doors, as much water as they deflect back into the shower I don't want to add a drain in the bathroom floor :O)
THANKS!
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infiniteMPG wrote:

I mean break out the tile and leave whatever it is stuck to. If mortar that was holding the tile remains on the floor, you'd need to chip it off enough so that the floor is reasonably smooth. I have no idea what you mean by "sand base".
--

dadiOH
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Sorry, meant to say "sand mix base", whatever concrete or whatever the tile is on. My only hesitation in removing the tile is the ledge that was along the side of the shower appears to be a poured concrete ledge about 4" wide and maybe 6" tall and the tile appeared to be set directly onto the concrete or the mortar really adhered to the base as when we broke the tile off, large chunks of the ledge broke off with them and remained stuck to the tile. We have some major patching to do on that before we start putting new tile on.
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Job proceeding along. Tore up a section of the floor tile and appears that the majority of the material under the floor tile is solid. Just the edges where the "leak" was is there a break down in the base and it's like semi-soft sandy mud. Going to clean out all the soft spots and fill. All wall tile, backer board and concrete board gone.
Question now is I found a liquid shower base waterproofing coating. You paint it on and it seals rather then putting down a tarp-kind of plastic sheeting. Has anyone used this? Can you tile right over top of this? The product is MAPEI Aqua-Defense
http://www.mapei.us/pdf/InstallationGuides/TSIS/MapelasticAquaDefense_EN.pdf
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infiniteMPG wrote:

Well, I haven't. As I said originally, I see no need for any type of membrane for a dropped slab shower.
--

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This shower is up against an exterior block wall and it is a dropped section of the slab. There is a raised "lip" of concrete/mud around the outside of the shower area, looks kind of like a border. A section of this against the outer wall crumbled down when I hit it as I accidentally dropped a piece of concrete board I was removing. This exposed pretty much down to the base of the actual outside block. Around this area I could see small dead weed-looking roots that had penetrated between the base of the block wall and the inside lip of the shower area. I think I would like to seal this area off completely as if any "root" can work it's way in, so can moisture. And I don't want to end up with moisture/mold issues in any wall from moisture from outside the house any more then I want that potential issue with moisture from the shower. And this being Florida, we've had probably 6" of rain in the last couple days.
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Faced with a similar situation--grout falling out etc. Got an estimate to rebuild, all said and done to came out to about $1000. Took a completely different tack. Ripped it out and from Sterling (Kohler) got a fiberglass shower stall (glass walls) and base. Happy as can be to get rid of all that tile and grout problems. Very easy to clean and maintain. Hint: the floor wasn't exactly level and the shower base had some give to it, kind of rocking back and forth depending on where you put your weight. Per Sterling, used expandable foam and sprayed underneath the base until it started leaking out. Trimmed after it hardened and it worked perfectly. MLD
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