Tiling: How to re-mount a soap dish

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by via media, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    The ceramic soap dish came loose from the tile wall in the shower. When I gave a little tug, the whole thing came off and I don't know how to fix it. I've looked all over the internet at how to repair tile but all they show is how to chip out a tile and glue on a replacement. I can't find a place to tell me how to start from bare wood.

    Everything came off with the soap dish - everything - so that I see a big patch of bare wood where it once was. The wood was wet but doesn't appear to be rotten. I'm concerned that it may have been leaking for a while, though, causing water to run on down behind the other tiles. (?)

    - Is there a good repair website that will tell me how to fix this starting with bare wood? I'm afraid I won't do it correctly and several years from now will have a major problem with water damage.

    - Why would this have happened? I don't hang or lean on the soap dish. My house was built in the mid 50s and has plaster walls, etc.

    /VM
     
  2. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    when you say "the whole thing came off" do you mean the soapdish along with a piece of tile, and some wallboard/plaster?

    If you are looking at bare wood, it sounds like some plaster came off as well.

    If your tile is glued on to plaster, and the plaster keyed into wood, then you need to refill the missing chunk of plaster. They probably don't make water resistant drywall in pieces that small, so some polyfilla might work well. After the fill cures, you could glue the soap dish on with adhesive, and seal the edges with silicone.

    If your soapdish and tiles are glued directly on to a wooden backer board (no plaster at all), then you could glue the soapdish directly onto the wood once it dries. You will have to read labels carefully to pick the right adhesive for wood to ceramic bond. Again I would seal edges with silcone.

    In either case, the original adhesive probably failed due to moisture penetration in the tile grout. unless there is another entry for moisture (through outside wall, leaky showerhead pipe etc.) then the grout may be the culprit. You can dig it all out, re-grout and seal the grout. One of those Dremel tools can help grind out the old grout.

    That's my best guess based on your description.
     

  3. ovendoctor

    ovendoctor north of the lift bridge

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    the same thing happened to us a few years ago
    we used liquid nail[comes in a calk tube]to refasten it to the wall
    then resealed arround the dish to stop the leak :)
     
  4. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    Some soap dishes are added at a later date, and they fail because of a poor installation job. This could be your case.
    Stuff some paper towels in the hole and tape some clear visquene over it for a few days to see if you have a leak higher up.

    If no leak, get some pre-mixed tile grout in the same color.
    DO NOT USE SILICONE. I REPEAT, DO NOT USE SILICONE.
    Silicone is for the tile to tub groove only.

    Use a piece of wood to build the dish out if needed. Use screws and wood glue.
    Put the grout on the back of the dish, but leave the middle groutless. After it sets up solid, grout the edges. After 48 hours use grout sealer.

    Soap dishes fail because the whole back of the dish was covered with the mastic, or grout. The hot water makes it expand and cracks the grout.
    Over time it just breaks away from the wall.
     
  5. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    duct tape of course... :nerd:



    (sorry, had to)
     
  6. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    Highground:

    I am no expert, but I am puzzled by parts of your reply.

    - if silicone is good for the tile/tub edge, why wouldn't it seal the tile/soapdish edge? Silicone is used in corner seams for shower wall panels, kitchen backsplashs etc. (I wouldn't use silicone for the adhesive but for the seal).

    - it is my understanding that mastic and grout are different. I have used premixed and powder forms of both, but they have always been two different products. I could be wrong, but I don't think grout has much adhesive power compared to mastic.

    Can you elaborate?
     
  7. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    Well, Thatch, if no one had come through for me here, that was going to be my solution. If it can't be fixed with duct tape, it ain't worth fixing. :rock:

    The soap dish didn't have any tile behind it - it acted as the tile for the space it occupied. There's a thickish layer (maybe 1/8") of something that disolves to a fine powder when I rub a bit between my fingers (plaster?), then a thickish layer of glue and then the back of the ceramic dish.

    I can't get to it before the weekend and that's my only shower so the suggestion to cover it with plastic and watch it for a couple of days sounds like a great plan.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat so I appreciate you all giving me a few options. Now, I can match a solution to my (lack of) skill and not lie awake at night wondering if my house is being overtaken by toxic black mold.

    My thanks to you all for your help.

    /VM, tiling newbie
     
  8. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert either but I have worked for a few, and learned a little bit about repairs.

    Silicone will seal the soap dish, but later on it will leak again.
    Silicone will stretch and give a little, but it's not a long lasting sealant. If it was, the home building industry would use it instead of grout on all tilework.

    The problem with silicone is that nothing will stick to the area once silicone has been used on it. Let's say you use silicone to seal the soap dish once it's mounted and a few years later you notice a piece of silicone pulling away. So you pull all the silicone off and try to use grout like you should have in the first place. Good luck getting a waterproof seal. I have repaired soap dishes after the homeowner used silicone. Had to use fine grit sandpaper and steel wool to get rid of the silicone residue and Acetone to cut the remaining film. Silicone cost that homeowner an extra $30.00 for that repair.
    And, the silicone seal will break and let water in long before you can see the damage. Silicone is temporary.
    Most shower wall panels come with the sealing product the manufacturer recommends. Usually, when those seams come apart, it's because they weren't clean enough when they were installed.
     
  9. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    paw is right...

    you need to be sure the wallboard is in good shape. let it dry out if wet. you need to apply the dish like you would apply a new tile. you need the mastic or adhesive. then you need to grout the seams and maybe even apply a sealant over the grout after the grout work is done. the soap dish needs to have some ridges left on the back that are not filled with old mastic so that is adheres well.

    i would buy a small pail of both mastic or "thin set" ready mixed and some ready mixed grout. the grout sealant is optional.