Shower tile repair

I was recaulking my shower/tub, and noticed that some tiles were loose. I pulled 3 tiles off the wall, and saw that the wall board (I'm not sure which type) had some water damage.
I see plenty of sites describing how to fix this, but I have some questions.
The rotten board surrounded the bathtub spout. I assume it's a best to install a single piece of new cement board, with a hole cut for the pipe. Is it easy to unscrew the spout without causing further problems? What will seal the pipe connection when I reconnect it?
Or should I just install two horizontal pieces, on the top and bottom of the pipe?
The tub spout pipe came through a tile that had been cut in half (or maybe broke at some point), and then had a hole cut in it. Can I seal the crack between the tile halves with grout, even though the crack is smaller than a standard grout joint?
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,218790,00.html recommends avoiding vertical seams, by removing entire horizontal rows of tiles. Other sites just recommend removing enough tiles so the patch reaches two studs, and so the outermost tiles are half on existing, good board and half on the new board. Is that enough?
Behind the wallboard is fiberglass insulation with a vapor barrier (even though it's an interior wall). The vapor barrier has some cuts and rips. Is there a way to install a barrier patch over just the exposed section, rather than the whole section of wall? What material should I use?
I see you're supposed to leave a small gap between the bottom of the cement board and the top of the tub. Why? If water gets through the tiles, where does it go once it's on the front of the cement board, or the front of the vapor barrier?
Jimmy
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Before you get the job done, you will probably wind up removing all the wallboard and starting over. Best to view some construction sites, if you can, and see how these things are professionally done. Take some pictures, too. Given your problem I would simply gut the thing and put down new Durok with whatever code required backing is needed, then retile it right. Harbor Freight has diamond hole saws for the spout and controls very reasonably priced. A Band-Aid approach seems pretty dubious based on what you have seen so far. If it is more than you feel comfortable dealing with, get quotes from pros to decide the best fix that fits your budget.
Joe
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Shower-tile-repair-610849-.htm Grout Medic Denver wrote:
Joe wrote:

I do not see the need to gut the whole shower. The key is to be extremely careful when removing the tiles from the Water Damaged area of tile. Fill up a 5 gallon bucket with hot water and as your start removing the tiles from the wall, place them in th water. This will loosen the mortar and excess drywall from behind the tiles.
In terms of the spout. I would use a plumber's wrench to hold the supply line pipe and another wrench or rope to rotate the faucet off. Now, its time to remove all of the rotted backerboard. Now that the studs are exposed, check for mold and check the insulation. If you feel the studs are wet,it is necessary to apply an Anti-Mold solution (glorified bleach solution) to the wood studs. Set up a fan and dry the studs for 24 hours. Install R-19 or R-13 insulation if need be and a new plastic to cover and staple into the studs.
While the wood studs are being dried off, clean all your tiles. Use a tile rout or a scraper. The hot water will have dissolved most the drywall, mortar and grout; making it easy to clean the tiles.
Now for the important part, it is important to have full rows of tiles removed so when you go to install your new backerboard, you are installing FULL Pieces; not pieced together sections. Core out a circular hole where the faucet will sit using a diamond coring tool with a drill. The best backerboard to use is 1/2" Jamies Hardie Fiber Cement board. Use the special HardieBacker screws to screw the board into each studs. Make sure you ahve at least 3 studs you are drilling into. This will ensure that the board is securely in place. Knock on the board to make sure you do not see any movement or hear a hollow sound.
Since, your tiles have been cleaned and are now dry, use a powdered white tile mortar 9(o liquid nails and no premixed mortar). Mix it to a peanut butter consistency using an additive and not water. Since you are reuisng the tiles (saves lots of money!) just follow the same pattern as the original way the tiles were installed. Wait 24 hours to grout, (use non-sanded grout if your goints are less than an 1/8" or sanded if exactly an 1/8" or wider). Dont forget to seal the grout the next day.
Hope this helps. This will save you the expense of having to rip out the whole shower. ------------------------------------- Jesus Barrios, Owner The Grout Medic of Metro denver www.groutmedicdenver.com
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jesus-barrios_at_hotmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Grout Medic Denver) wrote:

What kind of plastic? Do I need to seal the top edge of the plastic onto the intact insulation/vapor barrier on the higher part of the wall?

What is wrong with just replacing the damaged section of board, extended to the next studs?
Jimmy
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I'll second this, bigtime. Yeah, you can patch it in, but it won't look right, and you may buy another year or two at most. Likely green board behind there, if house was built early 60s to 1980 or so. It likely leaked into wall because grout was not kept sealed, or there is a gap in the caulk around spout or faucet handles- a VERY common problem. Call around to the guys that have tile-setting ads in the local ad paper, and get some bids. Ask how much if you do the demo, which most tile guys hate doing. If all they have to do is seal the backer board you nailed up, and set the tile, it may be cheaper than you think. Good time to change out the faucet, as well, especially if you don't have an access panel behind it, or a good place to add one.
Some things are worth doing only once, IMHO. Doubly true if there is a SWMBO and kids in the house, since tub will be out of commission for several days. If this is the only shower in the house, even more so. -- aem sends, on Google for a few more days...
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I thought the more expensive types of boards are water resistant.

Couldn't a vapor barrier keep the water away from the studs?
If there's no vapor barrier, then where would the water go? Into the fiberglass insulation, or the space between the studs? That seems like a recipe for mold.
Jimmy
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I agree with those who have opined that this is generally not a homeowner-type repair. Water can wreak havoc and cause one to throw good money after bad, lots of it.
I have reconstructed a shower and kept it available for use by protecting the work area with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Effective, if done right, but a pain in the ass.
For a homeowner with your questions I'd suggest it would be easier, faster, more effective and attractive to demo and replace everything in the tub enclosure. -----
- gpsman
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