I am trying to restore damage to a shower. Turns out that the upper-right corner (at orange arrow) had popped proud of the surface (some weeks or even months back), allowing water entry along the large breaks in the grout seal. No one said anything when that happened, so...

after removal of popped and damaged tiles

... here we are. There was also some previous damage to the corner tiles (white arrow), which had been "fixed" by previous owner with a slathering of clear silicone.

I removed the popped tile. The backer there was plain sheetrock, which disintegrated while removing the tile. Backer on the leftmost tile (left of the corner) was a bit damp, but is cement board, is drying and is in decent shape.

I removed the remaining debris, dried it out, and I first thought I'd just attach a piece of Durock cement board. I attached the Durock to the stud in the corner and the one a few inches to the right of it. However, the right edge of the Durock (white arrow) was unsupported, and flexed with the slightest finger pressure. A terrible idea.

white arrow is unsupported edge of Durock

I removed that Durock piece. Suspecting that I might have to go rightward to the next stud to attach the Durock at both left and right, I measured to the the right and found the next stud. Next image shows how far I'd have to go:

pink arrow shows about where next stud is, definitely to the right of the next tile edge

One Idea:

Remove the two tiles to the right to expose half of the next stud, then attach the Durock from the corner to that stud, giving a (reasonably) solid substrate to replace the (now many) tiles with mastic, then re-grout.

Not sure what else to consider. I can't attach a tile to nothing, and the unsupported Durock idea was terrible. If there was only some way to somehow support that right edge of the pictured Durock piece solidly enough to be a decent substrate...


  1. I can grout, caulk, and cut tiles with a manual tile cutter. I can cut or shape practically anything with a die grinder and/or diamond abrasives.
  2. Low cost is important. Replacing framing, large areas of backer or tiles, or "Just retile the entire bathroom the right way" are not good suggestions.
  3. I'd like to repair this myself, and soon.
  4. I only need a reasonably good fix, not perfection. The original sheetrock-only construction was not exactly robust. I just need something that will offer a solid enough substrate that this repair will last some years and prevent further water intrusion.


  1. Is the solution I mentioned above a good one, or are there far better ideas I haven't thought of? Some way to avoid removing more tiles and somehow support the smaller piece of Durock adequately to a reasonably solid substrate?
  • You just need a little backing for the concrete board. I'd take a piece of 1x4 and liquid nail it to the back of the tile substrate. You already have solid backing at the bottom and left so you really need minimal support. You can then mudshim (a thick layer of pl premium) the concrete board at the diagonal backer. Then go ahead and tile or add aqua defence to the exposed concrete board and then re tile. Commented Jan 14 at 19:07

3 Answers 3


It'll probably be easiest just to remove the full row of tiles. Most damage is probably concentrated along the bottom row. Replacing the whole line will hopefully avoid periodic repetitions of the repair process.


Well, you could remove just the next tile and then screw a small piece of 2x3 or 2x4 against the right-hand stud in behind the second tile. Then you'll have something to attach the backer-board to and don't have to remove two tiles.


Typically you screw the tub flange to studs. Use that pattern to brace the bottom edge of a piece of plywood installed to back up the backer board.

Sneak a piece of plywood in there. Pocket screw it to the stud along the left edge. Install a few screws along the tub flange to brace the bottom edge.

If you clean some of the crud off the back of the adjacent tile, you might be able sneak 1/2" or so of backer board behind it with thinset to tie it together.

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