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Re-glazing shower tiles?
Old 08-04-2009, 06:45 AM   #1
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Re-glazing shower tiles?

I am considering reglazing the shower tiles in both bathrooms in my home. Can the tiles be fiberglassed over, or painted, or redone some other way? Ripping out the tiles is cost prohibitive. And the shower tiles are structually sound. Ideas?
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:47 AM   #2
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If you don't get responses here, this is a great resource. Not well organized, but lots of info there, and you can post a Q:

Tile & Stone Forums - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

-ERD50
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:10 AM   #3
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If the existing tiles are sound, you can tile over them. I did this in my master bath shower and it worked great. The tricky part is the edges and trim, but with a little planning it is doable.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:18 AM   #4
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Picture of tile over job (2007)
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:04 AM   #5
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Nice tileover, travelover..

You can tile over structurally sound ceramic (not plastic) tile- just get a 4-1/2" angle grinder with a silicon carbide wheel and scuff them up so the mastic will stick. It will be messy (wear a dust mask) and have a shop vac running to suck up most of the dust. Cost to do this is pretty minimal- a lot less expensive than demo- I have seen 4-1/2"angle grinders on sale for $15 at Harbor Freight, the silicon carbide wheel will only cost about $3-4. It will be the best $20 you ever spent, not having to remove the existing tiles. And you can use it for cutting tiles around pipes, toilet flanges, etc.

Get a modified thinset rated for this application- several brands available, Laticrete is one that comes to mind.

If you are the DIY type, this should be a fairly straightforward job. If you are not, itís probably best to leave it to a professional tilesetter and just get out your checkbook...
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
Nice tileover, travelover..
Thanks
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You can tile over structurally sound ceramic (not plastic) tile- just get a 4-1/2" angle grinder with a silicon carbide wheel and scuff them up so the mastic will stick. It will be messy (wear a dust mask) and have a shop vac running to suck up most of the dust. Cost to do this is pretty minimal- a lot less expensive than demo- I have seen 4-1/2"angle grinders on sale for $15 at Harbor Freight, the silicon carbide wheel will only cost about $3-4. It will be the best $20 you ever spent, not having to remove the existing tiles. And you can use it for cutting tiles around pipes, toilet flanges, etc.
This is exactly what I did - get the orange grinder at HF, though not the blue one. HF also sells a nice diamond wet tile saw for about $40 - or less on sale

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Get a modified thinset rated for this application- several brands available, Laticrete is one that comes to mind.

If you are the DIY type, this should be a fairly straightforward job. If you are not, itís probably best to leave it to a professional tilesetter and just get out your checkbook...
Agreed. Also a good time to replace your fixtures when the wall is open.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:12 PM   #7
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Thanks
This is exactly what I did - get the orange grinder at HF, though not the blue one. HF also sells a nice diamond wet tile saw for about $40 - or less on sale

Agreed. Also a good time to replace your fixtures when the wall is open.
Recently completed my kitchen remodel- just in time to get the house on the market- did the backsplashes myself, with a HF Tile Saw (the big one) and HF Angle grinder- Over 700 cuts on this pattern... I bought 4x4 tumbled travertine, 12x12 porcelain, travertine liners, all at Big Blue and a couple of sheets of 3/4" glass mosaic from Agent Orange. The whole tile project cost me less than $500- and over half of that was the liner tiles. Even with the tile saw and grinder it would have been under $700. I bought the tile saw a few years ago for another project and it has been used a lot- mostly by neighbors who now owe me a favor...like help moving
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:53 PM   #8
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Travelover and Westernskies, nice pix, and good job, too. OK, looks like I can do this, too. The first one is a standard 5' shower stall only, no tub, with tile all the way to the ceiling. The second bath is a tub, with tile going up to about 6 1/2' up, not all the way to the ceiling. Going to Home Depot tomorrow, to see about supplies, and to Harbor Freight this weekend. I was considering Bath Fitter, but he wants $4500, and that's his DISCOUNT price. I'm sure I can do this, just never thought about tiling over the old tile before. I even considered glassing the tile over with fiberglass and tinted resin, but this sounds better.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:01 PM   #9
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ERD50, thanks for the link. I will spend some time there, reading up on how I am going to do this project. I have lots of free time to do this job. I will need lots of beer, apparently.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:32 PM   #10
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............. The second bath is a tub, with tile going up to about 6 1/2' up, not all the way to the ceiling. ..............
My shower was not tiled to the ceiling originally, but I installed cement board above the tile (shimmed to level with tile) and it made the job easier because I did not have to deal with a trim piece at the top of the tile. With a tub, the only trim you must have is at the two vertical walls. You may be able to just use a bull nose piece here and fill in over the old tile with drywall compound.

I'm sure you'll read up on this, but avoid the "skinny piece of tile" mistake that spoils so many jobs - split two larger tiles to make the job look right. I planned out my job on graph paper in advance so I knew what every piece would look like and it really speeded up the job, especially after I got confused after a couple of beers.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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Travelover and Westernskies, nice pix, and good job, too. OK, looks like I can do this, too. The first one is a standard 5' shower stall only, no tub, with tile all the way to the ceiling. The second bath is a tub, with tile going up to about 6 1/2' up, not all the way to the ceiling. Going to Home Depot tomorrow, to see about supplies, and to Harbor Freight this weekend. I was considering Bath Fitter, but he wants $4500, and that's his DISCOUNT price. I'm sure I can do this, just never thought about tiling over the old tile before. I even considered glassing the tile over with fiberglass and tinted resin, but this sounds better.
Big Blue has a much better selection of tile- especially the trim and accent pieces - than Agent Orange, at least here in PHX.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:49 PM   #12
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If you don't get responses here, this is a great resource. Not well organized, but lots of info there, and you can post a Q:

Tile & Stone Forums - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

-ERD50
I agree that ERD50's link is a great resource for remodeling and tile work. I remodeled both of our bathrooms and built the shower in our master bath using advice and info from this site and from John Bridge's books.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:31 PM   #13
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The second bath is a tub, with tile going up to about 6 1/2' up, not all the way to the ceiling.
To make this part of the job easier, I would buy 4x4 cheapo closeout tiles in the same thickness as your existing tile, and tile up to the ceiling. Then tile over it all the way up. It will save messing with cap tiles at $5.00/ft and trying to cap the double thickness. It will look great, and both baths will match.

Plus, it will give you a chance to hone your tile skills where it will be completely hidden.

Post project pics!
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:49 PM   #14
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How long will the new tiles last, and how much grout will you have to scrub?

We've done tile and cultured marble before but this time we went with plastic: The Re-Bath Process | Bathroom Remodeling | Re-Bath | ReBath | ReBath

Much easier to install, wipes down with a squeegee, no grout to clean. Cuts with a jigsaw, trims with a rasp file, installs with silicone adhesive. Our local Re-Bath sold us the material and we did the rest.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:56 PM   #15
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Any tilesetter will tell you not to tile OVER tile. There is no way to tell if they are structurally sound, often they are held together only by the grout....especially if they were installed using techniques of yesteryear.

Do it right the first time, please. This is a shower that will withstand considerable abuse and moisture...do it right!


And please, please, please do not EVER under ANY circumstance use mastic in a shower, as mentioned by Westernskies. "if it comes in a bucket, f$@K it! "
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:25 PM   #16
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Any tilesetter will tell you not to tile OVER tile. There is no way to tell if they are structurally sound, often they are held together only by the grout....especially if they were installed using techniques of yesteryear.

Do it right the first time, please. This is a shower that will withstand considerable abuse and moisture...do it right!


And please, please, please do not EVER under ANY circumstance use mastic in a shower, as mentioned by Westernskies. "if it comes in a bucket, f$@K it! "
Hmmm...

1. Not sure about "Any tilesetter will tell you not to tile OVER tile." Maybe they are more interested in the $4500 project instead of the $1000 project? If the tile is structurally sound, (read: not loose, cracked, broken or spongy, and has been well-adhered for years), it is a perfectly sound base for the new tile.

2. I specifically mentioned "modified thinset rated for this application" No mention of mastic; not sure where you go the idea I was recommending this. . Mastic is fine for low-traffic wall tiles (ie a kitchen backsplash) but there are better products for high traffic areas (ie a shower) like "modified thinset rated for this application"
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:45 PM   #17
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Hmmm...

1. Not sure about "Any tilesetter will tell you not to tile OVER tile." Maybe they are more interested in the $4500 project instead of the $1000 project? If the tile is structurally sound, (read: not loose, cracked, broken or spongy, and has been well-adhered for years), it is a perfectly sound base for the new tile.

2. I specifically mentioned "modified thinset rated for this application" No mention of mastic; not sure where you go the idea I was recommending this. . Mastic is fine for low-traffic wall tiles (ie a kitchen backsplash) but there are better products for high traffic areas (ie a shower) like "modified thinset rated for this application"


1) I should have said that any experienced tilesetter will not advise you to tile over existing tile in a wet location like a shower. i apologize. Part of the issue is that you dont know how well the tile is actually adhered to the wall. If it's old, your relying on outdated materials and backer. You may have hairline cracks/pinholes in grout that have weakened the adhesive. I've seen too many things go wrong in a home due to someone cutting corners. Just do it right the first time and enjoy.

2)You mentioned mastic in the 2nd sentence of your post. I did not read further into your post to see the mention of thinset. Sorry.

A good website with plenty of pro advice is johnbridge dot com

Check it out
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:17 PM   #18
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1) I should have said that any experienced tilesetter will not advise you to tile over existing tile in a wet location like a shower. i apologize. Part of the issue is that you dont know how well the tile is actually adhered to the wall. If it's old, your relying on outdated materials and backer. You may have hairline cracks/pinholes in grout that have weakened the adhesive. I've seen too many things go wrong in a home due to someone cutting corners. Just do it right the first time and enjoy.

2)You mentioned mastic in the 2nd sentence of your post. I did not read further into your post to see the mention of thinset. Sorry.

A good website with plenty of pro advice is johnbridge dot com

Check it out
Thanks, thefed.

A bit of background- My grandfather and all my uncles were journeyman tilesetters; they would tile over tile if requested and they felt the tile was secure and the substrate was solid. They would use a big heavy carborundum wheel on a old B&D grinder that weighed about 50lbs, scuff the hell out of the tile, and if nothing moved, it was "structurally sound" If only a couple of tiles popped off and the surrounding tiles were impossible to remove without breaking, they would replace the bad ones, and tile away. Was this as good as a gut-and-replace mud job? Of course not, but people have always been budget conscious, and times have changed- people remodel more often, usually for cosmetic, not structural reasons. Odds are good this tile will be replaced every 10-15 years because it is considered out of date and ugly , not because it is popping off. With the adhesion and water-repellency advances in thinset mortars and admixes, I would not hesitate to do a shower tileover, (like the one travelover showed) under the right circumstances- budget, substrate, and tile base.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:14 AM   #19
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How long will the new tiles last, and how much grout will you have to scrub?

We've done tile and cultured marble before but this time we went with plastic: The Re-Bath Process | Bathroom Remodeling | Re-Bath | ReBath | ReBath

Much easier to install, wipes down with a squeegee, no grout to clean. Cuts with a jigsaw, trims with a rasp file, installs with silicone adhesive. Our local Re-Bath sold us the material and we did the rest.

Plastic is an interesting idea. Can I install plastic right over my existing ceramic 4" tiles?
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:48 PM   #20
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Plastic is an interesting idea. Can I install plastic right over my existing ceramic 4" tiles?
Absolutely. Our local Re-Bath provides the contractors or sells the DIY supplies. You might have one in your area with the same deal, or some other franchise.

This is our second bathtub surround. The first time, seven years ago as a retirement present, we ripped out a bathtub & separate shower stall and replaced them with a 48"x72" whirlpool tub & storage cupboards. (After 20 years in the Navy I no longer have to bang my elbows into submarine shower stalls.) We put greenboard drywall over the studs and finished with tileboard, which looked great but didn't stay watertight. So last month we pulled the tileboard off the drywall and didn't even have to sand down the old construction adhesive-- just smoothed out the torn-drywall pits by slathering on joint compound with a 6" knife and letting it dry.

We bought two sheets of Re-Bath's acrylic, 60"x84", for $650 + tax. We rough-cut them with a jigsaw and filed them to fit around the windows. (Tedious fun, but try to find a contractor willing to put up with that kind of detail work.) Re-Bath provides a silicon construction adhesive which is probably overkill but was easy to use. Unlike sheet-vinyl flooring, the plastic is stiff enough to cover the tile without showing grout lines or other hills & valleys. I used a rolling pin over the walls to get good adhesion, and we finished it off with silicon caulk at the joints. Since the sheets are so big the only joints were around the tub and in the corner.

Re-Bath also sells acrylic sheets with texture to look like tile or other surfaces. But if you were concerned about the old tile's contours showing through a flat sheet then you could slather joint compound over the grout, let it dry, and scrape it level with the surrounding tile.
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