When Tiling Fails

On many occasions I have come across situations where wall tiles have failed, this is usually because of poor materials or workmanship.

Failed Tiles 1Failed Tiles 2

The two pictures above show the aftermath of what can happen. The left hand picture is a the wall of a shower cubicle where the tiling has failed, note the mould growth. The tiles were easily removed, virtually falling off. The right hand picture is the other side of the same wall, where the bath was situated. In both case the plasterboard was sodden and had deteriorated, meaning it had to be removed.

There were several faults in this installation which led to the mess we see above.

1) Plasterboard is not a suitable substrate for tiling in wet areas. When we tile shower or bath areas we always use a cement based tile backer board. This is more expensive than plasterboard but in the event of water penetrating the tiles, the board will not fail.

2) The adhesive was applied in dabs on the back of each tile. Tile adhesive should be applied with a notched trowel, giving a complete bed of adhesive.

3) The adhesive and grout was not waterproof. It is important that the correct adhesive and grout is used in wet areas, otherwise water can penetrate with the results shown above.

As an alternative to tiles, we are increasingly using laminate shower wall panels. These offer several advantages over tiles.

1) They come in large sheets, with no joints where water can penetrate.

2) The smooth surface is easier to keep clean than tiles.

3) There are no grout lines to go mouldy.

4) Installation is quicker as there is no waiting for adhesive to dry. Panels can be applied directly to timber studs without the need for boarding or repair of existing wall surfaces.

If you are going to get work done in your bathroom or shower then make sure it is done correctly using the right materials, if you cut corners you could end paying for it in the long run. For further details click here