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Bathroom Tile Repair Decision...Help!
bops27
February 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
One side of my gray bathroom (tub) wall needs repair. I cannot seem to find an exact match of gray 4X4 tile. My local tile store staff suggested gray/white glass mosaic tile to use:
1) as a narrow frame around the wall and fill the inside with white 4X4 tiles or
2) on the entire side of wall needing repair.
In both cases, the other two walls will have the same tile. Below are images of the wall that needs repair (with some white patchwork tiles) and the glass mosaic sample from the store. Help!
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
I'd just take the tile off and replace it with one piece of stone cut to fit. (otherwise too much pattern) I'd also look at what failed and caused the problem before I do anything else.
February 21, 2013 at 1:27PM   
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
If the repair is necessary because of a moisture problem then you have a waterproofing problem. A lot of showers were done with green board which is supposedly moisture resistant which is great for bathroom walls but not shower walls. Water permeates grout, then saturates green board, then the tiles fall off.
February 21, 2013 at 1:36PM     
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bops27
There is definitely a moisture problem. That whole side of the wall (pictured) is best taken down and replaced. What are the general options when you don't find a matching tile for repairing small areas? I thought contrasting the tile some way may be a better solution...?
February 21, 2013 at 3:11PM   
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onthefence
bops, if I understand you correctly that there's a moisture problem, replacing tile isn't going to fix it. The moisture could well be going thru to the frame of the house and you could end up with some serious problems.

Before you replace tile, you probably want to make sure the moisture issue is resolved completely and fixed in a way that it won't happen again. Then address what goes on the walls.
February 21, 2013 at 3:17PM     
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charleee
Love love love the mosaic! Center it, and frame it with a black tile frame so it will look like you meant to do it. But fix your moisture problem first.
February 21, 2013 at 3:45PM     
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Stacey Rushing
As wonderful as it sounds to rip the whole thing down, You are probably not in the position to do that, otherwise you would not be asking about replacing patches of tile. What you can do is either replace them with the same size tiles in white, and have the whole thing painted. I don't believe it will be aesthetically pleasing trying to add in glass tiles.
Honestly this bathroom either has moisture issues or was built in the 70's and because of either poor instillation or just time it is falling off. You can call your home owners and see if they can come out, you might have be able to file a claim and that will help repair the problem.
Another way to go is to get a file and pull it all off. You will then be able to address the issue and possibly prevent it from happening again. Then buy the tile, mortar and grout yourself and hire a handyman to install it. Contractors charge a lot for demo and clean up as well as having to front the money to buy the supplies. This was you are not up charged and you can buy discount tile. Good luck!
February 21, 2013 at 4:04PM   
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kristheot
You could try sending a tile to Chippy at World of Tile and see if they can match it: http://retrorenovation.com/2011/07/10/world-of-tile-the-single-most-important-discovery-on-retro-renovation-yet-120-photos/
February 21, 2013 at 4:13PM   
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PRO
Creations Nadia Interior Design
i would tile with the mosaic frome the edge of the bathtub all the way up :)))
February 21, 2013 at 4:53PM     
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groveraxle
bops, onthefence is right. You shouldn't even be thinking about matching tiles because if it's a moisture problem, they all have to come out. If you're handy, you can do it yourself. Demo all the walls and use concrete underlayment, but you absolutely have to seal every seam and gap before you set new tile. There is no easy patch for this one, I'm afraid.
February 21, 2013 at 6:08PM     
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bops27
Thanks every one. I had a contractor come in today to take a look. He says he will need to replace the back wall for sure because it is warped. Roughly, the estimate is triple the price to demo all three walls and put up new tile than do just the one side. So now I have to give this some serious thought!
February 22, 2013 at 11:41AM   
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charleee
bops, have you ever done tiling? It's really pretty easy. What if the contractor did the demo and put up the greenboard and just readied it for tileing? Could you take it from there? Might save some $$$ that way.
February 22, 2013 at 11:49AM     
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Green board is useless, at least for tub surrounds or showers.
February 22, 2013 at 12:18PM     
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charleee
Ok, wrong terminology. This must be pick-on olldbobbi day! Some kind of waterproof board with a....what is it called? A bladder? Something like that.
February 22, 2013 at 12:20PM   
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
He used the term "warped" meaning the wall studs behind it, or did he say water damaged ?
February 22, 2013 at 12:21PM   
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Sorry oldbobbi, I just cringe when I hear about green board being used since there have been better products available for years
February 22, 2013 at 12:23PM   
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charleee
Norm, you're forgiven. Don't make me hurt you, ok? hehehehe
February 22, 2013 at 12:24PM   
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bops27
He said it appeared warped because the tiles are lifing off the wall slightly in some places and not in the others. Unfortunately, I have not done tiling before. I'll have to figure out ways of controlling the budget! So now the question is - go the whole nine yards or fix the obvious issue and wait and see? The bathroom is used by guests so it is infrequently used but I'm very concerned about water damange and mold over time. Opinions?
February 22, 2013 at 12:50PM   
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charleee
All the way is the only way. Will your homeowners insurance cover some of it? If a broken pipe caused the problem, they should cover the repair but fixing the broken pipe would be on you.
February 22, 2013 at 1:23PM   
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Normally the leak had to occur within 10 days of reporting the damage. If it was caused by slow water saturation over a long period of time it is considered a maintenance issue and is not covered. Deal with this all the time.
February 22, 2013 at 1:36PM     
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
bops27, can you post a picture of the damaged area?
February 22, 2013 at 1:42PM   
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onthefence
Having been there/done that, I agree with Norm.

I also agree w/ Bobbi that it needs to be fixed all the way.

Take a deeeep breath and look at all your options. There are other options besides tile. A sheet of solid surface of some sort may be more expensive to purchase - but less expensive to install (less labor).

If the contractor is someone you've used before and trust - discuss this with him. Explain that you want to fix it the right way but you're concerned about budget and get his suggestions. They have generally seen and thought of things that might not even cross our radar screen!
February 22, 2013 at 1:43PM     
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bops27
Thanks all! I'll post a photo shortly. This damage has been there for a while and because the bathroom is occasionally used, I had it low on the priority list. Just cannot ignore it anymore. On a different note, do you have suggestions for an unobtrusive bathroom wall ventilation fan as opposed to a ceiling fan? Or do they tend to be an eye sore?
February 22, 2013 at 4:37PM     
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Nutone makes a recess can light/ventilation fan , you wont even know its there.
February 22, 2013 at 4:43PM   
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PRO
Kayron Brewer, CKD, CBD / Studio K B
Hello, I wanted to chime in. Regarding several comments above, it is important to have new tile properly installed. I have my contractors use a concrete backer board like Hardibacker or Durarock. Then the backer board is treated completely with a waterproofing membrane, like RedGuard(several other brands). An alternate for costly tile installation would be to use the acrylic panel kits for tub/showers. One company is Swanstone, and I know there are many other brands. The material is higher price, but install is easy and less expensive. And, Panasonic makes a great fan.
February 22, 2013 at 5:47PM   
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groveraxle
bops27, the critical part is the preparation. If this were mine, I would have the contractor prepare the walls with concrete underlayment and moisture barrier. After that, you really can set the tile yourself. John Bridge has written the best book ever on it and he also has a tile forum online. I used his book for my very first tile installation in my bathroom, and have done at least a dozen more for myself and for friends. None of them have ever failed and they all look great. Check it out.
http://www.johnbridge.com/
February 22, 2013 at 6:36PM     
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
If setting tile were so easy it wouldn't be a skilled trade. There are many factors that determine the outcome of a quality tile installation. Achieving a flat, level surface to install the tile is one of them. Checking the studs for warpage, or uneveness from one to the other. Is the existing tub level? How do you compensate for that? Setting tile with mastic is another DIY mistake. The cement backerboards concept was to mimic the old style mudset intallations with wire lathe and mortar. They would have never used mastic over that type of installation. Mastic emusifies if it gets wet, meaning it turns back to a liquid. Using thinset mortar can be tricky, you only have a certain amount of time to work with it. You can't add more water in the middle of the process to make it workable, it weakens it. The thought that mastic is fine for a kitchen backsplash is wrong too, all manufacturer's of glass tile recommend using thin set mortar for the installation becaue the mastic yellow's and will be seen through the glass tile. Sorry for the rant, but it is more than just smearing mastic on the wall and slapping tiles on it.
February 23, 2013 at 6:55AM     
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groveraxle
Who mentioned mastic, Norm? I have a 25-year-old bathroom job and a 20-year-old kitchen job, both thinset over concrete underlayment, and they look exactly like they did the day I laid them (well, with a bit more grime in the corners, perhaps). And last year I followed John Bridge's instructions to try something new--a mud bed for an outside mosaic; so far, so good. It's not a diy job to be taken lightly, but it is definitely doable by anyone willing to do the research.
February 23, 2013 at 10:08AM     
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Considering the hundeds of showers I've torn out because they were leaking, some in less than five years, I guess someone didnt' do their research. 8-)
February 23, 2013 at 9:39PM   
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groveraxle
Point taken, Norm. ;-)
February 24, 2013 at 1:03AM   
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PRO
Norm Walters Construction Inc.
February 24, 2013 at 6:55AM   
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