Q&A / 

Tile Over Acrylic Shower

Clare Horvath and her husband live in Newtown, CT.

She wants to tile over her acrylic shower base. Read what she sent me:

"We have a shower stall that the previous owner added an acrylic floor to.  It does not flex and appears to be very solid.  Can I tile it?

Here's Claire's shower base.

Here's Clare's shower base.

As you can see the floor is irregular and has slanted sides.  I took my picture to a local tile store and the man said no, that I would need to remove it if I wanted to tile it.

He also kept asking me what was I going to do with the small ledge where it meets the tiles.  I said I would figure something out.  He kept saying, "No" and then gave me a price.  I wasn't sure if he was being honest or wanted the job himself.  What do you think?

BTW, my husband is a taper and dry waller who's been in the business for over 45 years, and we do a lot of things around the house ourselves so if it is possible, we would definitely do it ourselves.

If you're wondering why my husband doesn't ask a tiler he's worked with it's because all the good guys he's worked with are dead.  LOL!  He likes to say the guys who take pride in their work don't exist anymore."

Here's my answer:

The man at the tile store is correct. Tile needs to be applied to FLAT surfaces be they horizontal, vertical or at a slant.

You can't have hollow spaces behind tile and that's what would happen at all the curved spots in the acrylic shower base. Tile will crack if it's applied over a hollow spot.

I'm wondering why you want to take a surface that's easy to clean and replace it with one that's HARD TO CLEAN.

If you want a tile base, you're going to have to remove the acrylic shower base.

As to your comment about all the good guys being dead, I have to admit that there are fewer and fewer craftsman out there that treat their jobs as a VOCATION.

I say this based on the increasing amount of frantic emails and photos I receive each day like yours. I'm stunned about the poor workmanship I'm seeing and the fact that many workers out there are not doing their due diligence to see how things are supposed to be installed.


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