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jkhill1984
HELP! Have I made a huge tiling mistake!!
jkhill1984

Wife and I bought an older farmhouse that sadly was updated in the 1970s. The kitchen is all wood paneling (which we painted) and we recently replaced a drop ceiling. The final project was to do something about the current backsplash. I dont' know exactly what it is, but I would say fiberglass or formica... it's very smooth and slick. My thought was, "I'll just rip it off and put up tile."

Well, the epoxy it's held on with is from an alien planet. It looks a lot liquid nails, but whatever it is, the splash was just coming off in very small pieces and it was destroying the wallboard behind it. I would have to remove the drywall down to the studs to get this off and I think it would mean removing the cabinets as the fiberglass is a little behind them. It's also the middle of winter and it's an outside wall, so I didn't want to expose it right now since this is a piece meal project.

So, I made the biggest mistake on earth and asked the advice of a guy at Menards. He gave some "pre-mixed" thin-set that he said would bond anything to anything. I was leery because of pre-mix mastic's reputation for never drying so I just put one tile up and waited a week.... it was on the wall and dry around the tile, but even after 7 days, I was able to knock the tile off and underneath I could wipe the pre-mix away with my finger.

So, I went back and another guy agreed with me that I shouldn't use pre-mix but large tile thin-set. Bought this, mixed it up and tested again. It held the tile to the wall and it dried within 24 hours. HOWEVER, when I removed the test tile (with a few hammer swings) it came off in one piece and with all of the thin-set stuck to the tile. Wall behind was like new.

Out of patience, I just said, "whatever" ... and tiled the backsplash. Havent grouted yet and seems to be holding fine but now I'm thinking I should've paid more attention to how the thin-set came off. Obviously, it's not sticking very well to the wall. What's done is done and I would say hey it seems to be working, but now I'm concerned about down the road.

Could moisture from humidity get between the wall and glue and cause mold? Could it cause them to fall off later? The tile was not too expensive... but I'm not eager to rip off.. mainly because I'm unsure what my other options are for covering this stuff up. I'm not crazy about sanding the backsplash since I don't know what it is. As long it works, I'm happy. This is a "let's die in this house" property so we aren't looking to dump tons into it with the hope of a resale.

Still, if seems better to rip down now, I will. Any professional advice appreciated!!

HandyAndyInMtAiry
Re: HELP! Have I made a huge tiling mistake!!
HandyAndyInMtAiry

JKHill
I would suggest removing everything cut the rock straight across the bottom of the cabinets, leaving about an inch of so if possible. This will allow you to use tape or mesh cover the joint. while you are at it, you may even want to get some insulation in the wall. When you measure the depth, make certain that you either shim the studs, or use higher grade sheetrock and concrete board to make the wall come out flush with the original wall. I recommend using concrete board to ensure the tile has a solid, flush and straight backer. While you have the face of the wall off, is a great time to add some more electrical outlets to the backsplash area.

Since this is your house, go above and beyond normal and minimal. Your house is a huge investment. Even if you plan on re-doning this at a later date, that date may come and go. Do it now so that it looks great and works correctly. Plans and life change all the time. Even if it is not what you want at this time, you may end up living with it for some time.

Do the job right the first time, you will never have to touch it again, unless you want too.

Handy Andy

Condoman
Re: HELP! Have I made a huge tiling mistake!!
Condoman

I have a Formica back splash that goes all the way from the counter to just under the cabinets. A few years ago I it was tiled. I did the prep work by removing the metal at the intersections and cleaned the Formica with TSP.

I hate to tile so I had a friend do this. He never worked with Bondera in the past but he is a convert now. The stuff is a mat you apply to the wall. Then set the tile on it and it sticks. It works best for vertical surfaces and you should not apply any more than can be grouted the same day.

Now several years later it still looks great.

dj1
Re: HELP! Have I made a huge tiling mistake!!
dj1

Another idea: attach 1/4" cement board to the wall and mastic or thin set the tiles on the CBU.

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