When do you make the call to demo tile?

bahaccaJuly 11, 2012

Our home is coming up on 30 years old. It has white 4" square tiles and white grout in the bathrooms. The master shower has black what I am assuming is mold that will NOT go away no matter how much bleach I throw at it. Grout is starting to come out and crack. My husband says "Just throw some new grout on top of it." I say that is pretty foul and want to replace it. I REALLY want to redo the shower/bathtub areas as the tub takes up TONS of room and the shower is tiny and I hit my elbows on everything in there. Should I just do as he says and grout over the nastiness, wait until we can afford to do the remodel I want or just do a facelift and replace the existing tile until we can do a remodel?

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I wouldn't call re-tiling a shower a short-term facelift. That's some work I'd just want to do once, with the main remodel. I'd consider replacing the grout to be a facelift. Note that I didn't say "grouting over the nastiness." That won't fix it. You need to take out the old and put in new.

Another option for a short-term facelift would be to put in an acrylic surround to cover up the ugly until you get to the big remodel.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:03PM
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I have some black stuff that I can't get to go away either bahacca. It's in/on the caulking on the outside at the bottom of the shower door. I've heard vodka works - even when bleach doesn't. Seriously. Google it. :) I haven't tried it yet myself, but I've read that a few times so when I am at the store, if I can ever remember to buy some cheap vodka, I'll probably give it a try. That or pull the caulk out and re-caulk.

Take the grout out and put in some pretty color grout that you can live with for a few years to change things up (or, a color that your husband will hate if you want to get to that remodel sooner! I'm thinking neon pink here. :) then do a complete remodel when funds rebuild after your Fusion extravaganza. :) I'd hate hitting my elbows in the shower...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:48AM
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Bleach won't completely kill mold on porous materials. It actually feeds it.

The "bleach" or sodium hypochlorite won't penetrate anything porous; wood, grout, drywall, etc...the "bleach" sits on the surface, only affecting the surface mold.

The water that carries the bleach does penetrate porous materials. So when you bleach mold that is established on a porous material, the sodium hypochlorite will stay on the surface and kill the surface mold, but the water will penetrate into the porous material and actually feed the roots so to speak. The mold will return.

Bleach will fully kill mold on the surface of non-porous materials (tile) but not on porous materials (like grout).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:05AM
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mongo-you just taught me something new. Thank you!
I feel like there is so much in this house that needs attention, I don't know where to start!(Well, the kitchen, but that is on pause for right now until my countertop stone comes in)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Debbi Branka

Have you used Tilex? It works wonders on mold! It does not, however, get behind the caulk to get that mold that beeps is talking about.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 1:14PM
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We are currently remodeling a master bath and so far the floor, shower and bath tile has been the most expensive part (tile & labor) and has been the most difficult part. Based on my current experience, I wouldn't 'just retile' as I think that is more than 50% of a complete remodel.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Tilex is just a bleach solution.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Given that you have grout coming out, cracking and mold you may have a bigger mess behind the scenes than you anticipate. You could have all sorts of mold growing in the walls behind your shower. I don't think a adding a plastic shower enclosure or even regrouting is going to do much for getting rid of the nastiness.

If it were me I would be anxious to see what is lurking in the walls and get it out. So I would start the remodel by tearing everything out and cleaning it up. Then I would add back the shower first and just live without the tub until I could afford to put it in. Hopefully you have another bathroom you can use until you can reconstruct this one.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 2:50PM
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The master shower has black what I am assuming is mold that will NOT go away no matter how much bleach I throw at it.

There's a real good reason for that. In spite of conventional wisdom, bleach does NOT kill mold. Us an anti bacterial soap (even antibacterial handsoap or dish soap will work).

I'd consider replacing the grout to be a facelift. Note that I didn't say "grouting over the nastiness."

Even that won't help. If grout's cracking out, good chance something's going on behind the wall. Put new grout in there, even with the antimicrobial agents in the new grouts, and if you don't get the mold at its source, it'll keep coming back.

I've heard vodka works

That makes sense, because of the alcohol. Why waste it though? Use the soap, and if that doesn't work DRINK the vodka! :-)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 6:03PM
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bill, I think I will take your advice and just drink the vodka! I TRIED to clean the shower today in prep for our repipe guys to come check out and issue and it still looks like a pitri dish. I KNOW the one wall they cut into is totally fine-no rot or mold as they just did it in Nov and this is an ongoing issue. It is 30 years old and I know some of the cracking is from the house moving. We live on a slope in Southern CA, so we have had plenty of earthquakes where I know our home has shifted a bit. Guess I'll start saving my pennies for this project.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:51PM
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