Hex tile...YEAH! And, aw noooo...

Category: Restore & Repair

So we've been trying to uncover the bottom layer of original hex tile in our bathroom to see if it could be saved. (Among 100 other things)

Everything was completely hidden under layers of vinyl tile and tar. But we could see hex tile under the bottom drawer of the built-in! (Always remember to click on photos to take a closer look...)

So, A developed a system of:

1) Using the Silent Paint Remover to get up the big tile.

2) Using the Silent Paint Remover to loosen most of the tar so it could be scraped away with a razor edge scraper (from Home Desperation...er...Depot).

3) Using a liquid tar remover to loosen and liquify the remaining thin layer of tar so that it could be mopped up.

On a 3 am wide awake boredom spree, I added:

4) Washing the tiles thoroughly with clear water and then scrubbing gently with "Soft Scrub with Bleach".

And it was FABULOUS! We have hex tile! Beautiful, beautiful hex tile! This is so exciting, I.....

Oh no.

Oh no.

We should have guessed.

For approximately 2.5 - 3" around the perimeter of the bathtub? No hex tile. Cement. Or something like it.

Honestly. Did they ever leave anything completely ALONE???!!!

I'm going to bed and eating Oreos. I'm not sure how to solve this one.

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Mmmmm? Oh, there you are! Just coming out of an early hibernation. Great. Now I'm drooling with envy over your hex tile. Remind me to post a picture of my bathroom floor so you can see what a real disaster looks like. Grrrr. Now about your problem...can you chisel away the cement to make it level with the bottom layer under your hex tiles? If so, then you can lay new hex tiles over it. I know it's not as good as having the original tiles, but that floor is so awesome. I hearby order you to find a way to keep it. ;P

Well that just sucks. I share your bewilderment at how the POs seem to have approached home repair as though they were the Adams family...were they?

At least the concrete is around the border. I believe with a lot of tedious chiseling, you could work around this...adding a border in the process. A nice masonry chisel at the Home Despot is around $10. I'm becoming a bit of an expert with my chisel with all the work I've been doing lately. So, think of the upside: this is an opportunity for you all to learn stone carving skills!

In a nifty retro 20's bathroom at one of my favorite restaurants, they have a square tile border around their hextile field that is truly inspired. The pattern in the border is the repeating greek key (water symbol).


Tim & Kitschy--

Thanks for cheering me up. Some days you think, "Okay! Maybe this house rehab thing WILL work!" And then...

We'll definitely have to brush up on those chiseling skills....

Well, at least hex tile is still available and the new stuff looks relatively the same as the old stuff. I would suggest chipping away at the cement and just replacing the missing hex tiles. probably my idea sounds easier than it actually will be.

I'm thankful that the PO's of my house never touched anything.

Good luck! Amy

about the concret around the tub i use to live in a old old house that had tile sorta like that. water had damaged the floor and what the landlord did was leave the tile and cover it up with some gook. he didnt have to replace any tile he left what was there and just put the gook over it I watched him do it so if you go to trying to remove the concret be very careful the tile might still be there just covered. good luck and your house is going to be beautiful when you finish. Norma

I have a bathroom like that and covered the tile with some cheap linoleum to protect it until I could find some replacement tiles for about 20-30 missing pieces. does anybody still make these- I'm dying to peel that stuff back up and restore my bathroom to the way it looked in the 20's but am having a really hard time finding the tiles. Any feedback would be appreciated- Thanks,
Bill Robison

We asked the guy installing our tile the same question: can damaged or missing pieces be replaced?

Unfortunately, he said you can't buy an effective replacement. Because of changes in manufacturing and even simple use you'll never match the color.

He did say that if you're removing floor from someplace else you can often salvage pieces of matching tile and then install them. However, the process is not like surgery and you'll likely need a lot of square foot of tile to rescue enough undamaged tile. We didn't have that situation...thus we had to chip it all out and start new.

Hope something does work for you, though. Best of luck!


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