Asked on Jan 28, 2016

Ceramic tile in shower is falling, the wall board seems rotten. Help!!

by Grandmamjs
About 10 tiles have fallen. The wall board looks nasty. Should all of the tile be replaced? Including the wall board?
  13 answers
  • Bryan's Workshop Bryan's Workshop on Jan 28, 2016
    Hello, a picture would help. There should be a cement board or membrane-faced board behind the tile. Your substrate shouldn't be drywall and conventionally the waterproofing is behind the substrate.
  • Tamar Lundeen Tamar Lundeen on Jan 28, 2016
    Have some one come to assess the mildew issue. If it looks nasty then it probably has mold and that is dangerous to your health. The tile might be salvageable but most likely not the wall board. Water travels to places unseen. If the damage is enough, you might be able to use your homeowners insurance to help cover it.
  • Sounds like they did not use cement /Durock board under the tile. If the wallboard looks nasty and is crumbling it is most likely sheetrock. You will have to gut the shower/tub area and start again. Make sure to use cement board in any wet areas and especially with tile to get a great foundation for tiles. Once mold and moisture creep into sheetrock it is advisable to rip out and replace for health issues. It is going to be work but now you can do the bathroom anyway you want (looking on the bright side)
  • DONNA DONNA on Jan 28, 2016
    If something besides cement board was used, it sounds like the wall board needs to be totally replaced which means the tiles will need to be taken down. Concerns... mold... wood deterioration. ..etc.
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Jan 29, 2016
    Hi grandmamjs. Yes and yes and yes! When it's rotten in one place the rest is not far behind. As water will and probably is running elsewhere. Use the proper backer board for shower/bath and seal it too with a proper sealer and put in your new tile. Do yourself a favor and just do the whole thing just one time. You are likely to find much more damage than you first expected.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 29, 2016
    Your house is the biggest investment of your life and the bank is failing. Water damage costs more than fires annually to homes, It is a sneaky devil. Get it fixed right. It all has to go and start again from wallboard out. Get at least three estimates with references you can see their work and/or talk to the customers.
  • Susan Rutter Susan Rutter on Jan 29, 2016
    Because it's so rotten, send for a specialist as it could be the whole wall is rotten or has mildew. If the grout is almost gone -- that's how the water gets in and it could cause problems.
  • Neva Dew Neva Dew on Jan 29, 2016
    When you have the space gutted, I would suggest replacing with a fiber glass all in one unit. I agree up front it doesn't look as pretty, but there will be no future problems with falling tile, grout getting dirty, or seams that leak. I look at it this way: showers are utilitarian - not areas requiring fancy decor. How much time does anyone ever spend admiring a tile shower after the 1st month?
  • Grouchy Grouchy on Jan 29, 2016
    The key here is to consider the entire wall as rotted, so you need to figure out where that is and replace it before replacing it with cement board designed to use in showers and bathrooms. It will not rot. You are in for a challenging job. May hire an expert?
  • Cheryl Gyles Cheryl Gyles on Jan 29, 2016
    We had the same issue, and unfortunately you have to address a bigger problem first...why is the backerboard rotting? Most likely a leak, either in your plumbing behind the board (as in our case) or deteriorating grout letting water seep through. The whole wall behind the tiles needs to be looked at to determine the problem. Once that issue is solved you will need to replace with new backerboard rated for shower and tub area, and then re-tile. If possible, salvage as much tile during the demo as you can, then hopefully you won't need to buy too much more when re-tiling the area. Good Luck!
  • Tracy Norr Tracy Norr on Jan 29, 2016
    I had that problem in one of my bathrooms. There was also a seat/ledge at the back of the tub that was rotting. I took a box knife and cut the outline of all the tiles...lifting out the sheet rock and tiles that were left. I had to replaced some of the wood underneath where there was rot/mold and repaired a water leak in the shower (which was not the cause of the tile problem. Then I replaced with cement board and tiled it myself. You can to it.
  • LD LD on Jan 29, 2016
    It sounds that the wall board has been compromised by moisture, making it necessary to remove the tile and wall board. Make sure to use the proper backer board for the tiled areas, and use a mildew resistant wall board for the other areas of the bathroom.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jan 30, 2016
    There is a special wood panel that is water proof. Should have it at Lowe's or Home Depot. The man who redid my tub (now a walk in shower and tile wall, used this and I have had no problems with water damage, just fixtures that have to be removed and cleaned with vinegar because of calcium buildup. On the other side of the road, people have problems with iron, our side it is calcium and sulpher.