Re-tiling shower

17 Dec 2010
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United Kingdom

I redid the bathroom 3 years ago. It was mostly DIY, but I got a "professional" tiler to do the tiling, so it wouldn't leak... and now it's leaking. :cry:

It's a bath with mains-pressure shower over, and I use the shower every day. The walls around the bath are tiled. Some of the tiles are no longer properly attached - I can poke the corner of a tile and see it move. I can also see huge amounts of water flowing into the kitchen below, and water marks on the other side of the bathroom wall.

The bathroom walls are rather elderly plaster (not plasterboard) on brick. The tiler just used normal "waterproof" ready-mixed adhesive/grout, bought from B&Q, which of course isn't actually waterproof.

What's the best solution?

I guess all the tiles are going to have to come off and be replaced with new tiles? Should I tank the area behind the new tiles? Should I use waterproof backing boards, and if so should I take the plaster off or just put the backing boards on top of the existing plaster? Should I use epoxy grout? Is there something else I could do?
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Yes all the tiles will have to come off; only then can the condition of the plaster beneath be assessed but if that’s been damaged water, it will probably have to come off as well. You can then assess what went wrong & decide the best way forward based on what your left with. Tile backer boards may be the best solution & there are several to choose from or it may be the case that the wall can be repaired & re-tiled directly. You can tank it but with the correct tiling base & quality tiling products, it’s not generally necessary in showers or around baths.

You’re wrong to generalise & assume that tub mix isn’t a suitable adhesive for use in showers & around baths. You can get tub mix that will perform equally as well as powder cement adhesive which is still also only classed as water resistant, which type you use is generally dictated by the size & type of tiles being laid. Apart from very expensive epoxy products (which you don’t need), even the best waterproof adhesive (tub or cement) & grout is only water proof in the sense it wont dissolve when wet, it will still absorb water which can affect the tile base & lead to failure. Tile fixing products from DIY outlets are aimed at the DIY market, are generally cheap & not of the same quality as decent trade products, you won’t find any decent pro tiller using them. Quality trade products are not cheap but they are reliable & when used correctly should last at least 10 years, up to 20 years or possibly even longer.

Difficult to know exactly what went wrong in your case, it could be one or a combination of a number of things but the quality of adhesive/grout used didn’t help. It could also be the way your “pro” tiller fixed the tiles! Is there any movement in the bath when you stand in it? Was the edge of the bath/tiles sealed using silicone? What size & type are your tiles?
as above... ;)

with the tiles moving,sounds like they have been dot n dab onto the walls.

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