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How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

OK folks, take a look at the image linked below.

Any ideas on how to approach this one? I can't really use a piece of cement board cuz there are no studs to attach it to. I'm thinking of maybe getting some wire mesh and somehow attaching it to the back of the tiles, and then slapping some cement over it. Having a hard time finding instructions on how to do this on the internet.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

my honest opinion, it looks like that wall of tile should be taken down and redone properly.

onto your question.....cut some strapping larger than the opening, preferably 6"+ longer on the top and bottom. liquid nail the strapping to the backside of the wall. you can use a piece on the front and screw it through to the strapping on the back to hold in in place til it sets up. then cut and attach some hardibacker or cementboard to the newly liquid nailed strapping and that's your new wall to tile on.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

Without removing all the tiles and properly repairing the wall, you're going to have major issues in making that wall waterproof. Any repairs less than that are only a band-aid, slowing the progress of water causing damage to the wall and everything below the height of the tub.

Pop off the tiles to see if you can salvage any of the wall mortar. If the old mortar is too cracked, crumbly or missing, then you would do better taking out a larger section enough to get a decent area to place some new cement board. A liquid applied surface waterproofing agent will help, a little.

This job is best repaired by a highly talented professional. Unless you want to take this down to the studs and start over, that would be a DIY project most could handle.

Which are you up for?

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

Good luck with the patch job.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

Hope it is waterproof and withstand any movement.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

Neither tile nor grout nor cement nor sealants are waterproof. You have is somewhat water resistant, but not water proof. Depending on the location of your repair and how you use the shower you may have leaking. I can't tell from my house.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

I can safely assure you that repair is not waterproofed. Tile isn't waterproof. Grout isn't waterproof, Sealant isn't waterproof. The mass of masonry behind the tile provides some measure of protection but still isn't waterproof. The combination of all those elements isn't waterproof. In the case of an ordinary tub surround, this repair will probably work fine. If this were the construction of a bench or niche in a shower, you'd have problems right away.

The only way to make this type of repair waterproof is by using a surface applied membrane, either a sheet product like Kerdi, or a paint on liquid like Hydroban or Redguard.

Please doubt my words and check with the tile professionals of the world's premier tile web site, the John Bridge Forum.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

The method you employed was correct for several hundred years before we knew more about chemistry and developed modern waterproofing methods. Since the mid 1950's, there has been ongoing development in the tile industry which allows us to now install completely waterproof showers. Emphasis on the word waterproof. What you have is water resistant at best, and actually not water proof at all. What you have depends on the thickness of the cement to slow the infiltration of water to the studs. With a more modern approach to the repair, you would have both waterproofed your bathtub as well as greatly reduced any cracking or leaks due to movement. Its well established that all houses expand and contract with the seasons. Inner walls move differently than outer walls.

Neither tile, grout, sealant or the combination of those aren't water proof. This normally is shown when there are niches or benches in a shower or tub, or at the curb in most showers. The modern waterproofing materials were developed to solve these very issues and make baths and showers water tight. The Pro's on this forum advised you correctly when they instructed you to waterproof the area.

By patching it as you have, you left a 'cold joint' around the perimeter of the repair, barely covered by tile and grout. That cold joint is an excellent way for water to travel into the wall and cause problems. Since there is a shower head on that wall, and the water bounces off your body while showering, there will be a fair amount of water running down the surface of that wall. With the repair made you can have problems with cracking then water infiltration, when the seasons change.

I am sure your plumber is skilled at plumbing. His plumbing work was very good as seen in the pictures. I'm going to guess he hasn't attended a tiling seminar on waterproofing lately. When I started tiling 30 years ago we installed all our tiles the way your wall was built originally, with mud-set walls and make-it-yourself thinset. Those practices were state of the art then. It isn't anymore.

Re: How to Patch a Hole in A Tile Wall

Helpful ideas.


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