Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>Fixing a Botched Shower Tile Job
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keharrisuiuc
Fixing a Botched Shower Tile Job

I have a custom shower that is tiled with travertine that was a DIY project of the previous homeowner. Long story short, he made some major mistakes so I’m going to attempt a repair before I give in and drop a few thousand bucks to have it torn out and re-built from scratch. His mistakes were: 1) he used 18 in. tiles which are way too big to slope properly and 2) he apparently applied the thinset and tiles directly on top of the liner without putting down a mortar bed over the liner! The result is that the tiles, especially around the drain, are cracked very badly and getting worse with time. The whole thing still works ok but needs to be fixed because of the cracked tiles. I had a guy who does tile jobs on the side (and he does really good work and seems to know his stuff) and he was going to do this for me but he flaked so I’m now going to attempt this myself. The plan is to put down about a 1 inch bed of mortar directly over the existing travertine to hopefully lock everything in place and provide a good solid base for the new 1 inch porcelain tiles and I'll use a drain extension to raise the drain up. I know people are going to tell me this is not the right way to build a shower and I realize that but if it doesn’t work I’m only out a couple hundred bucks and I’ll still have to tear it out and start from scratch which is my only other option so I don’t have much to lose.
One of my big concerns though, is getting good adhesion between the travertine and the new mortar. I plan to use a 5:1 mix of all purpose sand and Portland cement. To prepare the travertine, I’m planning to sand it with some coarse sandpaper, then clean it really good with something abrasive like comet to eliminate any soap or other build up. Then I thought I would try priming it with Quikrete Bonding Adhesive. It doesn’t say that it can be used with natural stone like travertine but I’m hoping it will work. I plan to do a test on a scrap piece of travertine in advance to see how it works.
Once that’s done, it should be like tiling any other shower. So, I guess I’m just looking to see if anyone has any thoughts on the Quikrete Bonding Adhesive and how that will work. And I guess any other thoughts or suggestions (other than just don’t do it).
Also, what’s the best way to make straight and curved cuts on 1 inch porcelain tiles? I bought a pair of tile nippers at Home Depot and also a pair of tile cutters. The cutters seem to work alright when making straight cuts using a straight edge but trying to make curved cuts with the nippers just isn’t working. I’m thinking I’ll buy a dry cut diamond wheel for my angle grinder. I would think that would allow me to make straight and curved cuts.
I’m open to any other thoughts, suggestions, or tips.
Thanks!

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