wall tile replacement help!

ship4uFebruary 8, 2013

We're in the beginning stage of remodeling the master bath in our 1920's English Tudor home, and we've decided to replace damaged wall tile rather than gut the bathroom. The old tiles have a lot of character and I found a company that can make the replacements that we need.
The issue is that the old tiles were set directly into the concrete wall behind them. Also, the tiles have almost no space between them. In some instances, the concrete is cracked, in other instances the concrete backing needs to be filled because we removed towel racks and soap dishes, etc. (see photos in photobucket)


What would you suggest that I use to repair the cement wall and mount the replacement tiles? Thinset? Mortar repair in a caulking tube? There is not a lot of room in some areas since the replacement tiles are the same thickness as the old tiles.
All comments and suggestions are welcome!

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Use thinset to affix the tiles. Naturally, there is no waterproofing - but that really isn't an issue on a wall (not in the shower).

The places where you have holes, you need cement backer board.

If you use the tub with a shower it's going to be a problem because there's no waterproofing.

If the tiles are 'tight' you can get a 'rub' stone, to make the new tile a little smaller.

If the home is from 1920 - that bath is almost 100 yrs old. You might consider it's time for an update?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Most mud installations like yours will have a drainage barrier behind the thickness of mud. Usually nothing more than tar paper. Try not to perforate that.

The ideal solution is to fill any large gaps with a proper mortar-type mix. Thinset is designed for THIN set applications. When glopped on too thick, it can shrink as it cures.

You could fill the deep holes with a thicker setting material, which usually have more sharp sand in it. Or just mix up some portland cement and sharp sand and use that.

If you only have a little to do and you want to minimize materials purchased, you can buy a single bag of thinset. Mix up a little and partially fill the deep holes. Come back the next day, mix up a little more, and fill them more.

You have small space to work within, so look for a margin trowel as your main work tool. You can use that to mix and spread your thinset. Margin Trowel:

Your final prep coat, you can use thinset again to give the surface a very thin skim coat. Your goal is to not build out added thickness, but to fill in any recesses.

To set the tile, more thinset as needed.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Thanks mongoct. Some of the tiles are in the shower, so I will need to be sure they are waterproof.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:34PM
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