The previous owner of our house sacrificed an 10×12 bedroom to create a main bathroom and an ensuite bathroom. The space the original bathroom occupied was incorporated into a larger master bedroom. The new main bathroom was small but functional. Unfortunately, it was also a prime example of how not to renovate a bathroom.
One day, I was cleaning the grout around the tub when I noticed a loose tile. It did not take much persuasion to remove the tile and reveal the mess that was behind it. When I investigated further, this is what I discovered:
- Original walls had not been removed. Drywall was simply installed over the old walls. (To me, when going to the expense of new walls and tiles, it only makes sense to gut everything to the studs to upgrade the insulation and make sure there are no other problems)
- Plumbing for the tub wass on an outside wall. There wass minimal insulation (less than R-12) with kraft paper facing, but no other vapour barrier. It’s surprising that the pipes hadn’t frozen.
- The walls were standard drywall (not even blue board). Cement board should have been used in this wet zone.
- There was no silicone around the tub at all. The gap between the tub and the tile was filled with grout.
- Did I mention that the plumbing was on an outside wall?
My quick fix (and keep in mind that this was only temporary) involved removing the worst of the wet drywall (both layers) exposing the studs. I attached some strapping across the studs (so the final repair would be even with the existing wall) and installed 3/8″ plywood to patch the hole. I then installed a piece of Barker tile board over the plywood and sealed all the seams with silicone.
It’s not the best looking repair in the world, but I am confident that no water is getting through any of my work.
Someone with more talent and experience could have possibly saved the tiles and reinstalled them on the new backer, but that would have taken at least two days for the tile to set and then to apply the grout. My solution allowed same-day use of the tub and shower (at least in theory).
You may notice that the tile board is in two pieces. This is because I did not realize at the time that the tub spout simply unscrews from the pipe. Therefore the repair could have been much cleaner with a hole drilled for the pipe instead of cutting the tile board in two pieces to fit around it.
So, how did this half-arsed repair stand up? The bathroom was gutted about four years later and there was no further water damage to the wall, and no evidence of any water getting behind the wall. I guess I can take credit for a successful repair, despite its ugliness.