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
Any hints or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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/
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have a link to help on the shower stall construction?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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