Waterproofing shower wall above existing tile

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by bgibert, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. bgibert

    bgibert New Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    I would like to install a shower above an existing bath that has about 4' of tile work above the bath. The upper edge of the tile is bull nose. The tub and tile are in very good shape and I do not want to remove them. The walls above the tile appear to be plaster as are all the other walls in the house. It could possibly have a cover of sheetrock over it but I do not think this is the case. The upper walls are in very good shape for old plaster.

    If I install some type of waterproof paneling above tile my concerns are 1) it would not look nice, 2) there would always be a problem of water getting into the seam where the bull nose tile met with the paneling, and 3) will moisture/condensation build up under paneling that is glued to the plaster.

    I have attached a picture of the tub, tile and wall. Any advice on how this could best be accomplished is appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. tonykarns

    tonykarns In the Trades

    Jun 5, 2007
    Interior Remodeling

    When I remodel a tiled area around a tub and the customer has wall area above it, this is what I always do is;

    1. Remove all the old caulk around the edge of the bullnose.

    2. Use a good stain block, mold inhibitor primer over the existing paint.

    3. Paint the walls with a interior/exterior mold inhibitor paint.

    4. Lay a straight line of painters tape 1/8" below the top of the tile all the
    way around the top.

    5. Caulk the top of the tile, smooth the caulk and remove the tape right
    away. The tape gives you a straight professional looking caulk job.
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  4. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Dec 30, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    All good, valid concerns. To be honest, I don't know any way to avoid them, short of redoing the surround, completely, from tub to ceiling. Only way to make sure there's a proper vapor barrier behind it.

    I don't think you can put a showerhead there, without re-doing the tile.

    I think you missed the part where he said, the tile only goes up 4'. And he wants to put in a showerhead...
  5. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Jul 24, 2007
    Robber, with some DIY on the side.
    This is a contraversial solution, but if you install a showerhead and then have acrylic walls fitted, and maybe even a tub liner, then you could solve the problem economically. They can build walls up with acrylic.

    Don't use b***fitter. There are lots of good, small independent providers out there that provide a higher quality, lower cost service.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    If the tile wasn't installed with a shower in mind, you may be asking for troubles putting in a showerhead - lots more things will get wet that weren't designed for it. You could crack the bullnose out of there by removing the grout between it and the adjacent tiles, then installing a contrasting tile above it. It should be water tight to the height of the shower head.
  7. bgibert

    bgibert New Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    Thanks for all the reply's. If I decide to go forward with this project I will probably remove the bull nose, install and accent tile and then tile past the shower head. You are right about some things getting wet that were not intended to get wet. The towel racks above the tub have wooden bars covered in plastic.

    Option #2 is to sell the house.
  8. russren

    russren New Member

    Sep 9, 2008
    Can you not use pool paint above the tile? I have the same situation at our house. The only difference is, we have access to the wall for a shower head. We have one now, but it runs up the outside of the wall from the spout - an easy exterior fix. Anyway, what about pool paint?
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