by Martin
March 2021

It’s important to replace loose tiles in the shower as soon as you notice they’re becoming drummy.

If left it can lead to other more serious and costly problems. For example water can get in behind the tiles and cause further damage to the shower wall.

  • In an old shower, you might find that the wall sheets weren’t waterproofed prior to the original tiling. The sheets can get saturated causing water problems in the timberwork and the ceiling below.
  • If the shower is on ground level, you need to be aware that water encourages white ants. Once you get white ants, they won’t stop at the shower; given the chance, they’ll go through the house. This means the whole shower will need to be replaced and that’s big costs to your pocket down the line. 

Tools & materials you will need

  • Tube of Sikaflex – (or other polyurethane adhesive)
  • sikalex gun (or applicator)
  • grouting float
  • grout mix
  • large sponge, about the size of a brick
  • small metal scraper – to remove old glue
  • container to mix grout into
  • bucket of water
  • grout sealant spray
  • spray bottle with detergent and water
  • soft polishing cloth

Instructions

In older homes you always need to be wary of asbestos in the construction materials.

Warning – don’t attempt any diy work if cement sheeting behind the tiles contains asbestos. If you suspect asbestos, have the area checked out thoroughly by an asbestos removal company.

Step one:
Remove old tiles gently and note the position that each one is taken from. They will be reglued exactly where they were removed from.

Take your time with this part of the job to avoid damaging the tiles as they’re removed. If a tile is damaged you’ll have to chase around tiling stores to find a tile to match those existing in the shower. No matter how good the match, a new tile will always stand out.

Be careful not to damage the wall by poking a hole through the villaboard. Any hole will have to be patched and waterproofed before replacing the tiles.

Use a scraper to remove excess grout and tiles from the wall.

Step two:
Scrape off all old tile glue from behind the tiles using a small metal scraper.  

Step three:
Using Sikaflex (or similiar polyurethane product) and applicator, place blobs (the size of a large coin) evenly spaced along the back of tile covering much of the tile surface area.

(see picture)

Step four:
Replace tiles in their original position by firmly pushing them into the wall.

Step five:
Mix up grout to manufacturer specs (on the back of the packet). Consistency should be like toothpaste for easy application and quick drying. Using a grouting float push the grout into the newly formed tile joins.

Step six:
Place sponge into a bucket of clean water and wring it out until it’s just damp. You don’t want it too wet or it will wash away the grout from between the tiles. Start smoothing the sponge over the tiles to remove excess grout from the tile surfaces.

Step seven:
Leave the grout to dry 24 hours (or time specified by the manufacturer)

Step eight:
In a spray bottle mix detergent (approx 1 tablespoon) with water and shake the bottle to mix. Spray on the tiles that were replaced. Polish off the excess dust with a soft polishing cloth and allow area to dry.

Dampening the area with the detergent mix cleans the residue grout on the tile surface more efficiently than if you were just using water.

Step nine:
Read sealant instructions thoroughly. Make sure the area is well ventilated when using the product. Turn on extractor fan, open windows and put on a mask as the spray is toxic to breathe in. Apply the sealant spray all along the grout lines using a sweeping motion. Make sure you spray every grout join.

Step ten:
Wait 24 hours until you use the shower.

Look at you go! You’ve just successfully completed the job and saved yourself the hassel of getting a professional and made a saving. The shower recess looks sharp again.

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