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Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 1:24 PM

We have a broken ceramic soap holder in one of our bathrooms. The entire wall is tile. I've got a replacement, but I'm afraid I'll do more harm than good in trying to remove the old one. The house is 30 years old and I'm located in the northern hemisphere. ;>)

My first inclination is to beat it with a hammer and try to break/chip it out. I've searched through the entire Bath Breaking thread, to no avail. Nothing suggested there seems to fit my particular circumstance.

I've considered heating it up, but I don't want to burn the house down.

Any advice?

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#1

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 1:36 PM

Drill some small holes in it. That makes it easier for the inevitable controlled destruction.

Tape it first (masking or blue tape). This will help stop the drill from skating around. DON'T drill through (keep the backing substrate as intact as you can).

Don't forget to put some towels or an old blanket in the tub first. Otherwise, you may be back asking about how to get the chipped tub out of the bathroom (and who knows how long that discussion might go on).

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#2

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 1:38 PM

Break out all of the grout from around offending soap holder (you've probably done this already).

Then try a small masonry bit and several holes drilled into the soap holder to weaken it prior to some delicate blows with hammer and hardened chisel.

OR

A diamond tipped masonry cutting wheel on a Milwaukee hand grinder and cut some groves into the soap holder prior to delicate blows with the hammer and hardened chisel.

(Masonry bit would be cheaper though)

EDIT: ER UM ya just like Doorman said

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#3

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 2:02 PM

Have this guy come over

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 2:05 PM

Where's his PPE?

Gawd I'm a hypercritical SOB.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 2:08 PM

He's a real man, doesn't need any of that sissy stuff to get the job done

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 2:22 PM

Yah, you guys are prolly right...

Those two guys I see down at the saloon (Stumpy and Lefty) say the same thing.

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#20
In reply to #7

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 8:43 AM

Don't forget their best bud, Patch! Or is that Righty?

Tom D.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 2:09 PM

Real men don't use PPE.

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#19
In reply to #6

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 7:38 AM

Real (really) blind and deaf men.

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#8

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 4:49 PM

Before you start (if you haven't already started) remove the grout around it to minimize the risk to the adjacent tile. You can do this using a grout saw. They're cheap and available from any of the big box diy stores. Such as:

http://www.bing.com/shopping/professional-carbide-hand-held-grout-saw-w-dual-replaceable/p/D553A5DE32F4CE995E1D?q=Professional+Carbide+Hand+Held+Grout+Saw+w%2f+Dual+Replaceable+...&lpf=0&lpq=grout%20saw&FORM=CMSMEE

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#21
In reply to #8

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 8:55 AM

...or even a piece of hacksaw blade, which might need to be slightly thinned down to fit well......

Getting the grout out first is extremely important.

Make a line of holes across the middle from right to left and from top to bottom with a small masonry power drill.

Work with a small hammer and a small chisel. Don't rush......

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#9

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 7:16 PM

Got a dremel? Nice, light tool for this kind of job.

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#10

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 7:40 PM

Here's a shot of the offending dish.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 9:49 PM

Looks like it just been "glued" over one 'smashed out' tile space, meaning the right hand side one may be broken already.

So concentrate on breaking out the 'middle square' where the vacant tile would appear to be - via drilling/tapping, as described above. The middle gone, the side 'overlapping' bits should fall off. If not, strike sideways using a hard wood drift, so the "glue" is in shear.

If they don't come off easily, its because the tiles are actually trimmed to size. Then you need to do more drilling and tapping to reduce the glued area.

(It's a good idea to put an old blanket in the bath, so you don't grind chips into the bath enamel with your size 15 safety boots and the bigger falling bits don't do damage)

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 1:01 AM

You are asking the right question. I do tile (among many other things), so here is my two cents:

1. do not drill, there is not need to and you would likely need a diamond bit anyway.

2. get a small cold chisel, about 3/16" (as measured across the width of the tip) or smaller (a cheap one is fine).

3. lay towels on the bottom of the tub, and tape (blue painter's tape is easiest) along the edge of the tub, and then tape some brown paper bags from the edge of the tub about 3' long centered on the dish (newspaper is too thin).

4. starting at the center, tap a hole straight into the holder.

5. carefully and gently tap outward until you get to an edge. as you can see, the back side of the dish is what is adhered to the wall. You will need to gently chip this out as well starting from the center and working your way outward.

6. when you reach the edge of the dish you will be tempted to tap toward the adjacent tile. don't do this, as you may end up have to replace that tile too.

7. I should have mentioned early on: you must wear safety glasses! regular glasses will be safe enough.

8. if you are lucky you can find a replacement dish with the same footprint. If not, you will an angle grinder (a 4" or 4 1/2" should work fine) with a diamond blade (you need a smooth edge not slotted). If you are lucky you already have one, or your neighbor/friend/relative has one; if not, you may be able to rent one. Tape the edges before you cut. and wear a good mask, as it will make some dust.

9. you want to thinset the replacement (tile or dish) into place. dry fit before you apply to make sure you have chipped out enough material. grout with non-sanded grout, otherwise the grout will fall out later.

10. for more info on setting tile/grouting you can google it - there is a lot of good info out there.

hope this helps. happy chipping!

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 1:03 AM

oops! #7 should be "regular glasses will not be safe enough."

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#17
In reply to #10

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 2:22 AM

Done. Have one on me.

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#12

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/22/2011 11:49 PM

Oscillating cutters (the Fein Multimaster is the grandfather) are tailor made for the task. Buy, rent, borrow or steal one. It will make the necessary cuts swiftly and without any damage to the surrounding. Home Depot or online catalog is the source.

Estimated repair time is 20 min. If you are an artist at it, 40 min.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 12:40 AM

Sorry Guys, evolution happens.

Unless you are really retired, this is the tool to go. Makes little dust and cuts straight up to the point you want it. Get that half moon diamond wheel and vibrate yourself a millimeter cut new hole and buy something nicer to fit in there. Fein was the first and still one of the best. If you check Harbor freight, you can get one for $50,00 or sometimes a lot less. G.A.

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#29
In reply to #12

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/24/2011 7:17 AM

I've been waiting for about 3 years for an excuse to buy one of those.

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#16

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 2:03 AM

You'll want to cover the tub, as noted, then score the porcelain finish with a glass cutter. Then get a chisel and use rapid, light strokes, like you are cutting a diamond, to break it apart. This was probably held into place with the same grout as the tiles were set in, so you can the try to get the old grout off using the same chisels. Use sharp, strokes, as it looks like an older install, and the other tiles might be waiting for this opportunity to leap off! Work slowly, little fractures, low cost, notwithstanding the beers you consume observing the results and contemplating the meaning of life.

All the surface has to be flush to the backboard or resetting the new one will come out tippy and irregular and probably fall off next time it is whacked. As it looks pretty old, you might consider just cutting out the backboard around the soap holder, and rebacking it. This is easy enough to do, but let us know if you need some tips on that.

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#18

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 6:52 AM

Some of those are retained with clips and just caulked around remove the caulk and tap it upward. The clips are like a wedge as the soap holder is pushed down on it it draws it tighter to the wall.

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#22

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 9:33 AM

The same color tile is most likely not available and the new tile will not meet the old..So, cut with a tile saw as once said a nice 1 foot square remove the tile and the soap dish and replace with tile and soap dish with the same color tile. Looks intentional and is intentional..be selective as you may want to retile the whole wall..

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 10:13 AM

What you say might be true, if I were married to a normal woman. We have spare, original tile from when the house was built 30 years ago.

She also has found a holder, though not exactly the same, with the same footprint.

I'm getting closer to doing this. I may wait till the first snow flyies to start, though.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 11:47 AM

You got lucky there! (except that you have a broken soap dish). I should also mention that as a DIY'er you should be very careful not to penetrate the wall behind the tile as you run the risk of water leaking in behind and causing mold and dryrot (I have seen my share of both inside shower walls, and it gets expensive to fix). The tile may be thinsetted onto backerboard, or it may be adhered directly to dry wall, so be careful and good luck!

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 12:19 PM

Thanks for all your good advice.

I'll be careful.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 8:38 PM

It's a bit of slip and hit hazard as it stands

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 11:30 PM

Seems a slip and slice hazard likely too

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#28

Re: Removing a Ceramic Soap Holder

08/23/2011 11:51 PM

Just got back from buying a 3/8" cold chisel and a grout saw.

More later.

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