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How to repair a cement brick shower wall

I recently purchased a home and started renovating one of the bathrooms.  As I removed the tile from the shower doorwary more of the wall itself came off than I wanted.  I ended up removing the cement board the tiles were on, as well as some of the concrete beneath the cement board.  The walls are made of cement brick rather than studs with sheetrock so now I need to repair the damaged cement that is over the bricks before i can replace the cement board and tile.

 

How do i repair the cement that covers the bricks?

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Posted 2012-02-24T03:36:50+0000  by johnp johnp
 

 

Hi, Hello and thank you for joining our How-To-Community.

 

John this is how bath renovations usually go…you start your project with intention of fixing one single thing and somewhere in the middle of the project everything starts coming down like a tower of cards.

 

What was your original plan? Were you thinking of just replacing the tile?

 

Regardless, let’s go back to your question…

 

You asked;

“The walls are made of cement brick rather than studs with sheetrock so now I need to repair the damaged cement that is over the bricks before i can replace the cement board and tile.” How do i repair the cement that covers the bricks?

 

 

To repair the damaged section you can use mortar mix. Simply remove all of the loose materials, wet the surface with water and “plaster” the missing sections using mortar mix. I use hammer and wire brush to get the loose stuff of the walls and misting sprayer to re wet the surface prior to plastering. Brick are very porous and reason you’re misting the surface is to stop bricks from sucking up all of the water from the mortar mix.

mortar mix.jpg

Once the mortar is set it may take about 24hrs before you can fasten your furring strips and install cement backer board.

 

That was on how to repair missing cement.

 

My suggestion here would be to investigate why cement is coming off the walls so easily. Is this bath located in the basement with brick foundation? If this is the case you might have efflorescence problem. Efflorescence is powder looking residue and it’s usually caused from excessive moisture in the brick. To somewhat remedy this problem your best bet is to remove all of the cement that’s on the bricks and reframe leaving 1” gap in between framing and brick to allow faster drying.

efflorescence.jpg

Hope this helps.

 

George

Posted 2012-02-27T16:46:43+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Hi johnp,

 

Welcome to the community, lets talk about fixing your shower wall.

 

The first thing you'll need to do if you haven't done it yet is to assess all the wall areas that you removed.

 

Check to make sure that since you took off the tile backerboard, that the integrity of the mortar joints and cement brick itself is okay. Look for cracks, loose pieces, and any unsturdy areas to remove.

 

After inspecting those areas, be sure to make sure all the surface is clean and free of dust and debris. Now you are able to repair the damaged cement areas. Depending on where the shower is in your home will determine what type of repair material to use. For example, if the shower wall is below grade such as a basement, I'd recommend to use hydraulic cement or a water-proofing membrane designed to block water coming from the cement wall. Install it using a patching trowel ensures a stable installation. I'd recommend to use this kind of patching cement even if you have not had a previous history of moisture issues, as hydraulic cement can withstand any sort of moisture if the problem ever arises.

 

After repairing the areas, you are now ready to install tile backerboard. This step is just as important, if not more, than repairing the existing cement wall. The optimum way to put up backerboard effectively is to install it with rust-resistant screws that can go into masonry, alongside using thin-set mortar to adhere it to the wall. I've seen some people do one or the other, but the combination of screws and mortar is a sure-fire way to guarantee an extremely long life for your tile install.

 

Some pre-mixed mastics and thin-set mortars out there work okay for tile, but for your moneys worth, a bag of high quality fortified thin-set mortar is really the way to go. Additionally mastics really won't work for installing backerboard, as the high presence of acrylic and water won't allow to dry for a long time. A bag of high-quality thin-set mortar dries within a day, goes farther in sq. footage, and dries harder than any other tile adhesive we sell. Below is an image and link to the best tile and backerboard adhesive we sell.

The Best Adhesive to Install Backerboard and Tile on Walls

 

Any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask us.

 

Regards,

aboveaveragejoe

 

Posted 2012-02-27T19:38:24+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

aboveaveragejoe wrote:

Hi johnp,

 

.

 

After repairing the areas, you are now ready to install tile backerboard. This step is just as important, if not more, than repairing the existing cement wall. The optimum way to put up backerboard effectively is to install it with rust-resistant screws that can go into masonry, alongside using thin-set mortar to adhere it to the wall. I've seen some people do one or the other, but the combination of screws and mortar is a sure-fire way to guarantee an extremely long life for your tile install.

 

 

Any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask us.

 

Regards,

aboveaveragejoe

 

Good advice but...

With this type of installation plumbing and electrical needs to be taken in consideration. In other words installing cement boards directly on to the cement wall will make running plumbing and electrical (outside of the shower) difficult.

 

Having said this is a tiled shower with brick walls i would still advise to frame next to the brick wall so that plumbing can be routed easily. Once it’s all framed out backer board can be installed.

If you decide to go above advised route backer board it’s not needed tile can be installed right  over the sound cement wall.

 

As far as the hydraulic concrete goes it is only intended to stop running water not moisture.

Also hydraulic cement has a final set time less than 5 min making it almost impossible for using on larger areas.

 

water stop.JPG


 

 

Posted 2012-02-27T20:03:46+0000  by George_HD_CHI

George,

 

I'm glad you posted the specs sheet for the hydraulic cement. You cleared up some issues that I addressed regarding that and the construction of the wall once its being redone. I'll still suggest using some of the materials I had listed but your plan considering electrical and plumbing access shouldn't be overlooked.

 

Good call sir.

 

aboveaveragejoe

Posted 2012-02-27T20:45:26+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
 
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