soggy shower wall and scraper
Photos by: Merle Henkenius
soggy shower wall and scraper
Photos by: Merle Henkenius
For all its good looks and glazed durability, ceramic tile is far from invincible around water. Tub or shower surrounds require routine care to keep grout joints waterproof and seams between tile and shower base or tub sealed with caulk. If the tiles are mounted on drywall, the moisture will eventually turn the drywall to a messy mush. But that doesn't mean you'll have to tear all the tiles off the wall and replace them. DAMAGE CONTROL
The first step in the repair is to assess the damage to determine how much of the wall has gotten wet. Leaks typically start along the bottom of the wall where the tile meets the top of the tub or shower pan. Those areas are exposed to the most water, so damage tends to spread quickly. The longer the leak has gone unnoticed, the larger the repair will be. The tiled wall shown on these pages is only a few years old, but water had seeped in through grout joints and ruined the drywall. The damage had spread about 9 in. up the wall, so we had to remove three courses of 4-in.-sq. tile to reach sound drywall. Although the rot was limited to an area approximately 3 ft. wide, we removed a 5-ft.-wide section all the way across the back wall of the tub so we could install a continuous piece of substrate with no vertical seams. To prevent any future leak from causing so much damage, we used cement backerboard instead of water-resistant drywall. Backerboard essentially is 1/2-in.-thick cement covered on both sides by a fiberglass mesh. Because it's completely impervious to moisture, backerboard is the ideal substrate for tile; it is now required by code in many areas for new work if you don't opt for a full mortar (mud) job. A 32x60-in. sheet costs about $15.
Ask TOH users about Showers

Contribute to This Story Below