Dealing with what is not mine but in my house
June 20, 2006 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Dealing with "permanent" artwork from the former homeowner: Is there an easy way to replace just a few tiles in a shower? What about some of the more "creative" concrete work?

I just purchased a house. The former owner was a bit of an artist, and some of the things that were done with the house are really great. Others are a bit too personal for my taste. An example of this would be the tilework in the bathroom- The tilework itself is incredible, but there are a few tiles that are handpainted with line art depicting their pregnancy and then glazd over. I'd rather not have any such personal statement make it feel like I'm not living on my own place. They were originally going to replace the tiles, but claim it was impossible w/o being very destructive to the rest of the tiles.

In addition, some of the sidewalk in the back has "mememtos" that were included in the concrete - some of these are simple stones, and look nice, but there are also things like doll heads, and various and sundry objects that would present tripping hazards.

Are both of these going to have to be entirely redone?
posted by MysticMCJ to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
You can chip out the doll heads and repair the concrete walk. There's a good book of how-to stuff I received as a housewarming present from Home Depot that has a good, illustrated step by step guide on the process. It wasn't too time consuming for me, but your experience will vary on how many heads you have to chisel out.

As for the tile, I dunno. It's odd that the former owner didn't take them with, I guess. Are you totally averse to destroying just the ones you don't like?
posted by boo_radley at 3:27 PM on June 20, 2006


Depending on if you can find a style that works with the rest of the bathroom, you could cover the "personalized" tiles with self stick tiles.
posted by MsMolly at 3:51 PM on June 20, 2006


Plumbers break out single tiles all the time. It's usually the only way to get in to fix stuff. I think they usually crack the tile with a chisel, so they can take it out in pieces and not hurt the neighbor tiles.
posted by smackfu at 4:12 PM on June 20, 2006


Since bathtub refinishers reglaze porcelain tubs and sinks while they are in place, I wonder if they would also reglaze tiles (especially if the tiles are a standard color). Check with Midwest Chemicals to see if they know of anyone who does this. (They sell their chemicals nationwide and may know of someone in your area...that's how I found the guy who refinished our old tubs.)
posted by jeanmari at 4:16 PM on June 20, 2006


Actually, plumbers may break tiles out, but I don't think I would trust a plumber to find a matching tile or put one back. Tiles that are mounted on wallboard can be taken out more easily than tiles that are mounted in cement. Here is an extended explantion of how to remove a few tiles. I wouldn't break anything out until you have tiles that you can use for replacement. Older tiles are notoriously difficult to find color matches for.
posted by jeanmari at 4:21 PM on June 20, 2006


Plumbers plumb; they don't tile. Or even clean.

Tilers routinely break out and replace invidual tiles, to fix the ragged holes left by plumbers. Usually the hardest part is finding a good tile match for those people who insist on having replacements exactly like their old ones.

But it sounds like the tile itself doesn't really need to go. Check with tile stores first to see if there's anything that could be used to remove that glaze and paint. There's probably some nasty chemical concoction that can wipe it right off.

Or you could approach it much like one would a tattoo of the old girlfriend. Strategically cover with new artwork, reglaze.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:08 PM on June 20, 2006


You could have a tiling professional get the tiles out and replace them with a decorative tile of your choosing. Your local giant box hardware store has a section of specialty decorative tiles (art deco, floral, aquatic, etc) that you could plug in the wall in place of the pregnancy tiles. There are also speciality tile shops too, probably in the yellow pages, that might be able to provide you some more selection.

I guess if it were me, check out the hardware store to get some possible ideas, I'd yellow page a tiler and see who you could get in for an estimate before committing to anything. I think it's doable. It's not ideal, but seems doable.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:52 PM on June 20, 2006


I suppose it makes things easier that I actually found a couple of matching original tiles today, enough to cover the removal.

Some good answers here - I'm pretty much a do-it-yourselfer, I'm just new to this particular challenge.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:16 PM on June 20, 2006


i would get a grout saw or cutter and cut the grout out around the preggers tiles, then pry them out. put in the new ones and re-grout. although it may look obvious as the new grout will be all clean.

or else i would paint over them i suppose.
posted by annoyance at 7:19 AM on June 21, 2006


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