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If water seepage has caused the wall around a shower cubicle to decay, tiles will start to become loose. The steps here are for repairs on a stud wall. If the studs themselves are decaying, you will need to remove sections of the wall and rebuild as required.
Remove any cubicle walls or shower screens before you start, so that you have full access to the tiles (Image 1).
Use a scraper to remove loose tiles, and any tiles with decayed grout, until you expose a half-tile’s width of sound drywall (Image 2).
Cut a line at this height using a drywall saw. Be careful not to cut through any concealed electrical or water supplies (Image 3).
A drywall saw may be helpful for cutting through drywall adjacent to studs, which should not be pressure-treated (Image 4).
Use the claw of a hammer to remove old hardware (Image 5). Leave studs exposed for a few days, to dry. A heater may speed up this process.
Cut a piece of cement-based, water-resistant board to size and screw it onto the studs (Image 1), and seal around the edges of the board with latex caulk using a caulk gun (Image 2).
Apply fiberglass tape to the joint between the new and old boards using tile adhesive (Image 3).
Apply tile adhesive and tile over the area to match the existing tiles, then regrout. Reapply latex caulk to tray and corner joints (Image 4).
In most cases, a shower cubicle leaks because of poorly grouted tile joints, or because of degraded latex caulk around the shower tray or the shower screen.
Anywhere that a valve or pipe penetrates a tiled surface is also a potential point of weakness, and if even a small section of grout or caulk is missing, gradual water penetration may break down the wall structure and cause tiles to fall away from its surface.
The situation can deteriorate quickly if it goes unnoticed, so check these areas regularly for signs of damage or dampness. If you find any problems, tackle them immediately, using the techniques shown above.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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