After living in my 60 year old house for a year, I've come to realize that previous owners never re-grouted in the tub/shower area - it looks like they caulked on each grout line. I have noticed that a number of tiles are loose, grout is almost gone in places, or there is a hollow sound behind some tiles (making me think the grout is the only think keeping them there).
I'd planned to re-grout, but I think it's going to turn into a "re-tiling" exercise as they all fall out. I'm pretty sure it's going to come to redoing the backing.
Right now I believe there is plaster over laths under the tile, and it seems to be damaged (when I re-caulked a few months ago, a wet, sandy material was on the back of the old caulk. I'm hoping that's only right at the tub line, but afraid it's not.
If it gets to the point that I have to replace the backer, would my best bet be to have the plaster & laths removed, from the tile areal, then replace them with a cement backer board?
Am I dreaming if I think I can get the new tiled area even with the existing tiled walls (where I'm not planning to replace the tiles)?
Thanks for any advice,