We have taken ownership of my wife's late father's apartment which was built maybe 30 years ago. The workmanship is non existent, and tiles are held in place by adhesive tape, there's electrical conduit on the surface, and water pipes also on the surface. Someone even destroyed the bulkhead above to replace the hot water cylinder for the shower 2 years ago. The major redeeming features of this apartment is that it's the only building with base isolation in the city,it's very central, and that was designed by my wife's father.

I want to renovate clearly, so is it even possible to retile in situ, or do I need to strip it down to the original concrete shell? And how do I hide all the pipe and electrical work?

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1 Answer 1


There will be no "in situ" re-tiling those walls and floor without ripping out all the shower and other fixturing. Then remove all the old tile back to the base surfaces of the building structure.

As far as the surface mounted plumbing and electrical conduit it is really necessary to wait till you get everything stripped away to see what is behind to make a judgement call. In the worst case you may have to arrange to shim out one or two walls with wood studs leaving enough space behind a new wall surface to accommodate the plumbing and electrical.

  • Yeah, that's what I was thinking I might have to do. And I only had the shower cubicle installed 2 years ago. So, hopefully it will come out in one piece. Aug 17, 2018 at 12:50
  • People have different tastes, but personally I find the surface-mounted plumbing and electrical ugly, so I'd be ripping everything out and shimming the walls.
    – Paul Price
    Aug 17, 2018 at 20:11
  • @PaulPrice is right, gut the entire bath and build a 2x4 wall to hide the plumbing. Cement board the 2x4 wall and retile.
    – Gary Bak
    Aug 18, 2018 at 1:40
  • @gary - That is what I said too!
    – Michael Karas
    Aug 18, 2018 at 2:45

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