Home Improvement--General/Tile


I am remodeling a bathroom, have removed all the old tile and would like your opinion, should I remove the concrete board that is there or remove it and replace with new.

Hi, Robert.

Thank you for asking for my opinion! I understand your thought process, and the question behind your question, i.e., if it's already there, and in good shape, why go to the effort and expense to replace it?  

The purpose for all remodeling projects is to improve the room (and the home). When contractors demolish a bathroom in preparation for a full remodel, they take everything down to the studs and joists, to discover any problems that may be hidden. I've seen many bathrooms that had hidden leaks from valves and showerheads. Dry rot was removed so new studs and joists could be installed.

Recently, at a meeting with a contractor and homeowner, the contractor commented that the shell of a home (or room) is the most important part of a system. If there are any problems with the shell, it makes no sense to "make it pretty". I totally agree with him.

Of course, you can accept or reject my recommendation. It is, after all, YOUR home. But I would be remiss as a design professional if I just rubber-stamped your desire to reuse the existing concrete board -- especially if there is an underlying problem that needs attention. Of course, I sincerely hope that you discover that everything is okay behind the concrete board. By removing the backer board, you have the opportunity to do everything right! This includes installing the tile from floor to ceiling, avoiding the awkward "no man's land" above the tile in old-fashioned showers and tubs.

Yes, it's more work, and more money. But you'll have peace of mind and increased pride if you take your time to do it right. Here's a link that shows how to correctly install cement backer board: http://www.familyhandyman.com/tiling/tile-installation/cement-board-ceramic-tile

Wishing you success with your bathroom project, and wishing you years of pleasure in your home!

Warm regards,

Diae Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ
D. P. Design
"See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference."  

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about anything to do with bathroom remodeling: design considerations, safety, function, materials (cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures and fittings, lighting/switching, heating and ventilation, tile, stone, concrete, tub and shower enclosures, flooring, etc.), saving water, trends, ROI, and appearance.


25+ years as a bath-kitchen design specialist, hundreds of completed bathroom projects (all styles, all investment ranges). Author of "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling," co-host of a home improvement program on a local radio station for over three years. Currently hosting "Today's Home" on Lifestyle WebRadio every Sunday afternoon (http://www.todays-home.com).

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), PRO (Portland Remodelers' Organization), IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council).

"THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" (my book, published in 2003), Designers' Illustrated Magazine, Gentry Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Business Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Design News Magazine,Interior Coordinator Magazine (Japan); San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Statesman Journal, Portland Tribune, Oregonian.

Multiple degrees: Bathroom Design, Residential Interior Design, Kitchen Design, and Lighting Design. Regularly attend classes and seminars to maintain current knowledge about codes, trends, sustainability, new products, etc.

Awards and Honors
Awards: Henry Adams Designer of the Year, CoTY, Master Design, Best of the Best, Chrysalis, Excellence (best home in its category), and NABE (best how-to book, 2003). "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" received #1 listing in the City of Chicago publication, "Hiring The Pros".

Past/Present Clients
To see photos of completed projects, visit my website: http://www.dp-design.com/portfolio

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