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Re: plaster wall as substrate for tile

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You're pulling cobwebs out of my ears on this one.  I haven't done tiling in
about 20 years, but I do remember some things.   Back when I did tile work we
would use a cement based stucco brown coat as the base coat.   What I would
be hesitant about with plaster is that is should have a very smooth surface,
if it was installed correctly.  I don't know if the thin-set bedding will
stick to the plaster permanently.  My gut feeling would be to take the
plaster off.  The plaster paris part may only be the top 1/4" surface of the
wall.  You may see if you could scape the plaster paris off, put on a fresh
cement based brown coat and then use your thin-set adhesive.

Glass block can be difficult.  The main problem is the glass does not absorb
any moisture from the mortar.  You need to use very stiff mortar and proceed
slowly.  You will see the bleed water dripping from the mortar joint as you
go.  If you are going to strike up the mortar joints you will probably need
to wait several hours.  You may find prefab block panels at a supply yard, or
special order one.  These would be prebuilt to your opening size and you just
need to secure it in place.

Hey, have some fun with this!  Last week I went out and did some bricklaying
and it was fun!  Been over 19 years since last time.


seaint(--nospam--at) writes:
I'm about to begin some major renovations to my home starting w/ the
bathroom.  It currently has cheap paneling (the kind that looks like tile)
up to about 4' from the floor.  As you can imagine, this stuff doesn't stand
up to water very well.  I want to replace it with real ceramic tile, but I'm
not sure if the plaster walls (not gyp. bd., this house was built in 1920)
are a suitable base for applying the tile with thin-set.  I know that in new
construction, cement backer-board or gypsum "blue-board" is typically used,
but I don't want to tear out plaster if I don't have to.

Also, does anyone have any experience w/ installing glass block?  The
existing tub has a window centered over it that has NOT fared well over the
years.  I think I'd like to remove it and replace it w/ glass block, then
remove the tub and build a shower enclosure (It's a REAL small bathroom).  I
just don't know if this is something I should try tackling myself or whether
I should hire someone.

Any opinions???


Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.