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Question DetailsAsked on 2/23/2018

Retiling house, can I use the broken tile to fill an 8" living room. Should old tile be removed or cement over it?

House built in 1978. We layed the original tile. Tile is in great shape but hate the old grout lines. Living room is 13 X 18 and 8" deep.

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1 Answer


If you just don't like dirty grout lines or their color, assuming the tiles are fine like you say, why not just scrape or grind out the grout and regrout - or have it done if you are not physically up to it. ? Fraction of the work and a tiny fraction of the cost.

NO to the tile as a backfill idea - would not compact right so slab you put over it could settle and crack - any fill put in the 8" should be well-compacted structural fill, though I am not a fan of thin fills under overlay slabs. Personally I would put in an edge-sealed 6 mil or thicker vapor barrier over the existing slab (unless it has an effective vapor barrier under it already), put bitumastic waterstop strip around the perimeter of the room at teh bottom of the overlay slab and bond-breaker on the foundation, then just pour a levelling slab with 4" grid mesh reinforcing (to limit cracking) over the top to get rid of the sunken floor (assuming that is what you meant by "fill" 8" living room). Being it would be over a minimum 3-4 inches thick could be put over the existing tile (and vapor barrier as applicable) fine.

Bear in mind, if you have any pipes under that slab, going to be a bear to get to them in the future, so with that old a house if in doubt about their condition (could be asbestos fiber, asbestos cement, or cast iron or clay tile sewer line - water pipe would be galvanized steel or copper most likely, possibly early plastic which tends to have a 30-40 year life) now might be the time to replace with new 40 years is about the age where problems would commonly start popping up.

If you do replace them, do NOT pour the overlay slab so it is both overlay and filling the excavation slot through the old slab too - best to keep the two slabs separate to avoid linear cracking at the infill.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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