We here at DIY Mother are excited to have Ryan Corey of HomeOwnerIdeas.com provide us with our first guest post!
I’m pretty sure that I have caused this type of problem in the past, but I likely don’t remember it because I was too young to have to fix it. However, here it comes full circle back to me, for me to fix this time…
Late last week my wife and I were bathing our three children after a relatively long day at the Grandparents house. Needless to say this was a rough bath session as the children were tired and they are ages 6, 3 and just turned 1. After the two youngest had their turns in the tub, in climbed the only one of the three not currently screaming from being overtired, my 6 year old son.
Although he wasn’t screaming, which we appreciated, he was a bit too hyper. He hopped in the tub and then proceeded to do some quasi-leaping-handstand thingy on the soap dish. The soap dish immediately removed itself from the wall (big surprise) and we were stuck with yet another repair job. Below you will see evidence of the damage and then below that I’ll walk you through the tools and steps required to repair a loose or broken off shower soap dish on a tile wall.
When your tile soap dish starts giving you grief, it’s important to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. If you don’t, water can easily seep behind the broken tile, encouraging the growth of mold and mildew. If you leave the tile for long in an unrepaired state, the drywall or backer board behind it can suffer considerable damage. So let’s get started.
Here’s what you will need to do the job:
– Blunt razor
– Power drill with fine bit
– Putty knife
– Safety gloves and goggles
– Replacement soap dish
– Silicone caulk or grout mix
– Ceramic tile mortar
Now that you have what you need, let’s get the project started.
1. Loosen the Old Grout
If the soap dish has fallen entirely off the wall, you can skip ahead to the third step. If it remains in place, though, you’ll have to remove it. To start, use a razor blade to loosen up the surrounding grout and caulk. This will give you some wiggle room and help protect the surrounding tiles while you work to take the old piece out. Remember to wear safety gloves and goggles and don’t discard the old grout just yet. A small sample kept in reserve will help you match the color later on.
2. Remove the Broken Soap Dish
A fractured soap dish may almost fall off the wall by itself. To help it shatter, drill one or more small holes in it with a fine bit. Be sure to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Once you have removed the bulk of the soap dish, pry off any remaining pieces with a chisel or screwdriver, being careful not to damage the surrounding tiles.
3. Clean the Area
The new tile will not stay in place very long unless the wall behind it is entirely free of dried grout and adhesive. Take the time to scrape it clean with a putty knife.
4. Check for Remaining Moisture
Before installing your new soap dish, you must ensure that the area is completely free of moisture. If you have any doubts, place a dry piece of crumpled paper towel into the opening. Cover it with plastic and tape securely around all edges. After 24 to 48 hours, remove the tape and check for condensation. If the plastic is completely dry, it is safe to proceed.
5. Choose a Replacement Soap Dish
If the tiling in your shower has been up for a while, you might have trouble matching its color. This shouldn’t matter too much. A slightly darker or lighter shade will often look equally attractive. You can even make a design statement by deliberately choosing a soap dish tile in a complimentary color. Remember that when you’re replacing any tile, the matches that really matter the most are length, width and thickness.
6. Check the Fit
Before diving into the mortar, make a dry run to see whether the replacement soap dish will fit well in its allotted spot. If it fails to slide easily into place or tends to rock back and forth, you may have to remove additional debris from the wall behind it.
7. Apply the Mortar
Use a trowel or putty knife to apply the mortar around the edges of the soap dish. By leaving the middle free of mortar, you can create a suction effect that will help hold the tile in place. Soap dishes are relatively heavy. Use enough adhesive to bear the weight.
8. Set the Tile
Place the soap dish into position and hold it in place for three or four minutes until the adhesive has begun to harden. Once you feel confident that the tile will not slip, use a blunt razor to scrape off any adhesive that may have oozed out. Don’t wait too long to do this, or you could have trouble getting it off.
9. Dry, Seal and Enjoy
Tape the soap dish securely to the wall and keep the area dry while you allow the mortar to set for at least 24 hours. To finish up, seal the installation well with grout or silicone caulk. Once this has completely set, your soap dish will be back in working order.
If you are like me, you are going to anticipate that this happens again with one or both of your two other children, so keep this article handy and good luck!
Ryan Corey is the owner and chief writer of HomeOwnerIdeas.com which is a blog that provides home improvement, design, DIY and remodeling information to home owners.