So since we’re still not finished tiling – Blame the delay caused by having to special order a niche. Blame the last minute wedding stress… and then the wedding. Blame my lack of motivation which usually kicks in about halfway during every project. – I’m providing you with an illustrated instruction of how to demo an existing shower surround, prep, and start tiling a new one.
1. You’ll want to put some cardboard down in the tub. Trust me. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. Remove all the fixtures/faucets. This caused us a little bit of a headache and required some Googling, but if you have a rather unusual faucet, try and find the installation instructions for that particular model online for help on how to remove it.
3. If you have a cheap plastic shower surround, pull it down. No… there’s not technique or special skills required. It’s surprisingly easy to just pull down.
Note: If you discover mold like we did, just spray it down with either a bleach or a tea tree oil solution. This will not only kill off the mold, but keep the spores from floating around while you’re tearing the wall down. If you have a lot of mold, of course, you might want to call in a professional to clean everything up appropriately. Black mold is nothing to take lightly.
4. Beat the crap out of the wall. And no, you cannot just whack a wall with a hammer and expect to have it crumble at your feet. I didn’t even make a hole. I’m pretty sure every episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a lie now. You want to tear down the drywall ON THE SIDE WHERE THE BATHROOM IS. Do not tear down the drywall of the adjacent room. That would be unnecessary. What you’ll see is exposed frame and the back of the drywall of the adjacent room…. or lath and brick like we uncovered.
In case you’re wondering, yes we did finally figure out how to remove the handle by the time it was time to install the cement backer board. Phew!
5. Clean. Buy big black garbage bags and just load them up with all of that debris. You need to clear everything out of the way so you can scrub the edge of the tub. Scrub the tub and clean up any remaining caulk along the tub from the previous shower surround. I know you’re apathetic about this step since you’re just going to make more messes after it, but you must not skip this step!
6. Waterproof! Put up some roofing felt. You can buy a big roll at Home Depot for next to nothing. Just use enough staples to hold it in place. No more.
Now you’re ready to install cement backer board and begin tiling! In case you’re wondering … that’s part 2. This post was getting too long.
1. Why did we not just leave the plastic surround up?
For one thing, it wasn’t really attached to the wall anymore. It was caulked around the edges which was holding it up there, but you could very easily pull on the “shelves” to see how loose the whole thing was. Another deciding factor was the correct assumption that we had a mold issue back there. I’m not sure how long the Mister and I will live here, but I hated for anyone including us to have to live in a house with so much mold.
2. Why is roofing felt necessary?
Added waterproofing. You just want to make sure that any moisture that gets past the cement back board doesn’t cause any damage to the drywall of the adjacent wall.
3. Can you not just tile on drywall? Is cement backer board necessary? What about green board?
Drywall won’t hold the weight of tile. You can tend to get away with it when tiling a kitchen backsplash, but you’d definitely want cement backer board in a shower surround. So yes, in this case, it’s necessary. Green board, you ask? I’ve heard terrible things about it. Apparently it’s a nightmare for professionals. It’s like really heavy drywall that’s not waterproof, has a tendency to mold, and pretty much just all around sucks. So … buy the good stuff.