I am doing some preliminary research and investigation into remodeling my master bath.

The house was built in 2002 so not too old. The master bath is on second floor. I removed the air vent to see what I am dealing with under the tile and it appears to be some sort of metal mesh stapled to either a wood sub-floor or the joists with concrete on top of it, about 3/4" thick and then the tile.

I am going down to studs in this bathroom, but I'm unsure of the floor.

Can I remove the tile and thinset and just re-tile on the concrete 'sub-floor'? Or will I likely need to remove the concrete too? (I would think that's overkill).

If removing the concrete is necessary, what replaces it?

Thanks for any advice!

  • 1
    Your second level floor is a concrete floor?
    – Alaska Man
    Oct 5, 2020 at 21:23
  • No I don't think so. I just think they used a concrete underlayment on top of the wood subfloor for the tile job.
    – cbaum
    Oct 5, 2020 at 21:45
  • Do tiles continue up the wall? I ask because there is a high likelihood that the cement and wire continue up the wall if so. Oct 5, 2020 at 23:03
  • There is one row of tile “trim” up the wall.
    – cbaum
    Oct 6, 2020 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a standard old school "float" job: plywood, then (usually) tar paper, then expanded metal mesh (sometimes), then dry-pack concrete, then tile adhered with thin-set mortar. This was the standard way to get a strong flat substrate for tile before cement-board was common.

If you can get the tiles off with the cement still relatively flat and smooth (or if the cement can be made relatively flat and smooth) then it is perfectly fine to put new tile down on it... but it's a big if.

  • 1
    That's sort of fascinating. I didn't realize cement board was "relatively" new. I used it in a bathroom re-model about 10 years ago and thought it'd been around for 20 years before that
    – user30371
    Oct 6, 2020 at 2:52
  • It takes time before the crafts tradesmen accept new techniques and products; they tend to stick to "the way we've always done it". I know tile guys who still want to float floors; it is (arguably) better in some ways and for some situations. Oct 6, 2020 at 21:23
  • @SteveSether, I started out "humping mud" in 5-gal buckets back in the early '80s, then was "promoted" to grouting... back then we 'floated" everything, no cement board in sight. Oct 6, 2020 at 22:50

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