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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 128374  
Subject: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/1/2008 2:07 PM
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I finally got around to replacing the caulk in my shower stall only to discover that the wall board behind the lowest tier of ceramic tile is crumbling presumably from water damage.

I presume this means water is working its way behind the ceramic tile. So I suppose I need to replace the damaged wall board and the tile.

Any special considerations? Do I need a special grade of wall board? Does this mean grouting between the tile is leaking? Does it need sealing? Regrouting? Is there special maintenance requirement?

This house is 13 years old and mostly builder quality. Is this from poor workmanship? Cheap materials? Inadequate maintenance?

How do I do it right to have no further troubles?

Suggestions invited.
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Author: georgeandtana Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98521 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/1/2008 4:09 PM
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I presume this means water is working its way behind the ceramic tile.

If the grout looks decent my guess is that it's leaking behind the caulk and wicking up. If the lowest row of tiles are solid you can maybe get by just recaulking. If it flexes you may need to redo it.

Here's a website that was recently posted
http://www.johnbridge.com

I've used a book called Setting Ceramic Tile by Michael Byrne. I felt it was very informative.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98522 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/1/2008 4:10 PM
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They should have used greenboard. I'd certainly use that for the re-do.

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Author: Rile72 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98532 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/2/2008 10:56 AM
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Greenboard is usually intended for damp areas, with min water contact such as behind sinks, etc. Behind a shower, you should use cement board.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98533 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/2/2008 11:00 AM
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thanks rile - you are correct. I tend to use the terms interchangeably, but shouldn't.

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Author: Rile72 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98551 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/3/2008 8:22 AM
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Most people do, including those in the construction industry.

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Author: jeffbrig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98552 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/3/2008 9:40 AM
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I feel you pain, Paul. Two tiles in our master bath's shower just dented inward last week. I haven't pulled them to determine if it's water damage or something else.

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Author: dantbc76 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98554 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/3/2008 12:16 PM
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You should be concerned with your waterproofing membrane that from your description could be missing. If this row of tiles is at the base of your shower where your shower pan meets the floor there should be a rubber membrane that creates a water tight shower. If you have wall board you could only have problems as nothing in the contruction industry that I know of absorbs moisture better than wall board!!!!!!! And anyone who would use wall board in a shower application should have there common sense license revoked. You can use the above mentioned green board however you have to go over it with an entire membrane like from Schluter. Even if you use concrete board you must still have a water proofing membrane as concrete board is not water proof but it is highly resistant to absorbing moisture believe it or not the two are very different. Sealing grout also doesn't make a shower waterproof so that really won't make much of difference. It really is difficult to tell how big this problem may or may not be. The only way to truly fix the problem is to remove the wall board check for a membrane and reinstall, this could cost thousands. I am sure you didn't want to hear that. Any more detail you can give me and I'll try to get you closer to a fix. Like is your shower pan fiberglass or also tile. Do you have access to the bottom of your house to see if you have more widespread leaking which can help indicate a membrane or not.



Dan

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98566 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/3/2008 10:53 PM
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Dan, the shower pan is fiberglass and seems to be OK. I see no indications of a membrane to waterproof the shower.

Yes, there is access to the basement below shower. I have been having trouble getting humidity down with a dehumidifier, but water damage is not obvious there.

I have tile man coming in tomorrow to give me an estimate.

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Author: dantbc76 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 98590 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 11/5/2008 9:39 AM
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Well that is the best case you can have with a fiberglass shower pan the chances it is leaking are very slim. So your problem is just poor installation on the tile. The tile guy decided to install wall board as your tile backer and expected the thinset to act as the waterproofing. So the best solution is to have all the wall board removed as the water will continue to wick and tiles will fall off as it does. Your new tile guy will probably suggest two options one will be to remove and start over and the other is going to be a patch were he removes an area around the failed tile and installs green board (which I would not suggest unless a complete membrane is used) or cement board and tiles over it. The decision is up to you and the price should be a big swing. Couple of things to remember:

1) If he does use green board what will his plan be to waterproof it as green board is only water resistant not water proof

2) If he goes with cement board make sure all the joints on the cement board are taped properly as this is a step many tile guys overlook for excuses like " well I have never done it before and it's never been a problem"

Good Luck

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Author: sehrhart Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99899 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 1/26/2009 1:10 PM
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I've got the same problem in my shower. A lot of the grout is failing on the front wall and water is leaking downstairs. I removed the tiles to find wet and crumbling drywall. I really didn't do any research as I should have to fix this problem so I removed the bad drywall and replaced it with a form fitted piece of plywood. I reattached the tiles and caulked between them.

1) If I redo the tile and caulk well, will the plywood behind the wall become a problem? Should I replace the plywood with a piece of cement board instead? There is no waterproof membrane that I can see.

2) Also, several areas that I caulked appear to be cracking, failing, and I am seeing tiny holes forming. Is this because the caulk got wet? Maybe the area wasn't clean enough?

3) I've gotten so frustrated with this mess that I am considering Bath Fitter. Any thoughts?

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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99900 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 1/26/2009 1:30 PM
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Are you sure that you don't have a leak back behind that wall?
h

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Author: sehrhart Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99905 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 1/26/2009 3:56 PM
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Well, after doing the work, the leak hasn't occurred again. I just can't get the new caulk to not crumble and expose tiny cracks or holes in it for water to re-enter the area. Will the board be alright if no water gets to it?

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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 99909 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 1/26/2009 4:11 PM
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I just can't get the new caulk to not crumble and expose tiny cracks or holes in it for water to re-enter the area.

I've had this happen with older caulk that's been in storage for a couple of years. If you think yours might be old, try another newer tube of caulk.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 100085 of 128374
Subject: Re: Rotten wall board behind shower tile Date: 2/7/2009 4:20 PM
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(Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I have been out of town cruising.)

Plywood comes in an outdoor or marine grade that has a glue that will withstand water. But interior grade glue will not survive water exposure. I think you may want to paint or seal the plywood.

The best caulk for the job is probably the silicone bathtub caulk. Walmart usually has a tube of Dap caulk for abt $1.99. It works well and lasts a long time. You may have used the wrong caulk or it may not be adhering to your surface due to moisture or contaminants (oils? soap? etc).

Bath Fitter should do fine for you.

Mine had white tile that was easily matched (I thought). A carpenter friend sent me to a local tile store to get their approved contractor list. One of them came and replace the wallboard with a special grade at the bottom of the shower and replaced 3 rows of tile for about $400. I would use that as a reference.

The matching tile they bought was oversided and had to be cut down with a saw. It looks a bit different but is a reasonable match, but not perfect. So replacing shower or showerliner for up to $1K might be a better deal.

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