What’s Behind the Tile?

A few weeks ago, my son slipped while taking a shower. He is fine. The shower, not so fine.

When he slipped, he fell into the tile surrounding the back of the tub. The weight of his body pushed the tile into the wall about an inch deep.

As I surveyed the damage, I wondered if it was something that I could fix on my own or if I needed to hire a professional. I took a deep breath (many times to keep from freaking out.) A ton of questions came to mind. How much would it cost? Could I get away with fixing just the damage or would I need to replace the entire tile set? What is the tile stuck to? What was behind the tile?

The house, built in the 70’s, had its share of issues. This was likely going to be the biggest I had to deal with. What lies behind the tile determines how I proceed. Unfortunately, I was not born with the x-ray vision gene that would allow me a sneak peak of the true damage.

I took photos and consulted with many. One contractor quoted me $3,500 to fix and replace. Others asked for photos but never gave a quote. Not having $3,500 to drop, I decided to move forward with my own repair.

Memorial Day gave me a three day weekend to tackle the project. Deep breath.

After the original incident, I covered the damage with a thick tarp, taped that with waterproof duct tape, and hung an additional shower liner to protect the wall from further damage. As I removed the duct tape, a tile fell off. Finally, I get to see what is behind the tile. It appears to be a backer board of some sort so that is good. I continued to pull the tape and tile after tile fell. I quickly realized that I was going to have to replace everything. Deep breath.

I stopped what I was doing, headed to the hardware store, and purchased demo bags and a large bucket. I came home and carefully removed all of the tile, backer board, and sheet-rock. I removed everything to the stud and cleaned up my mess. Fortunately, there was no mold. Unfortunately, there was an air vent pipe and it was in my way.

I prayed throughout the process. I wanted to quit but I could not. I had to keep pressing forward. I visited YouTube many times throughout the process. I watched videos of how to do it right and well as how not to do it. $500 and three days later, I finished and we can once again take showers.

We all have broken tile in our lives. It might be a broken relationship or a failed job. It might be a car that won’t start or a computer that won’t boot. What’s behind the tile.

For me, there were three things behind the tile.

  1. Challenges
  2. Obstacles
  3. Opportunities

Regardless as to what is behind the tile, look for those three things. Unfortunately, you won’t see these unless you press forward and remove that first tile.

You won’t have a challenge until you remove the first piece.
You won’t have obstacles until you push through the challenges.
You won’t see the opportunities until you overcome the obstacles.

Am I available to fix your shower? No. NO NO NO. I fixed mine but I’m no expert. Sometimes you need to remove your own tile.

Please comment. What is behind your tile?

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