How to reattach shower soap holder?

I know this is off topic, but this kind of repair is totally outside my experience.

I woke up one morning to find my ceramic soap holder, the kind that is usually affixed to the wall of my shower, on the shower floor. It had fallen off during the night.

It looks like it was attached with construction adhesive to the underlying plaster and lath, and then carelessly grouted just at the top. At the sides there was a good 1/4" gap. (I imagine water got between the holder and the adhesive and weakened the bond somehow.)

So what do I use to reattach it? I’ve heard both thinset and construction adhesive.

And what do I use to seal around the edge of the holder? As I said, the gap is fairly big. Do I use silicone or grout?

Thanks, folks!

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Thin set is the proper adhesive to use. Usually 2” blue tape is strong enough to hold it until it cures. I’m guessing the substrate is good once you didn’t mention it. The gap should be filled with a sanded grout and then sealed with grout sealer.

I had to do this earlier in the year. It had three pumps that I had just filled up, and I guess all the weight was too much. The shower looked like a disaster zone!

The manufacturer recommended 3M VHB tape.

Thanks, gents! (I assume Dusty.Tools is male?)

Michael: Good to know. I see though that thin-set is sold in at least seven pound boxes, where I will need just a few ounces, I think. Oh well. At least it isn’t super expensive. I don’t know about about the subtrate. There is a thick layer of construction adhesive I will have to chisel out. Is there anything I should be on the lookout for?

Dusty: VHB tape looks plenty strong enough, but I am not sure if it will fill the gap, especially once I have chiseled out the construction adhesive that used to hold it in place. It looks like the surface will be pretty irregular. Also, I am nervous that it doesn’t allow me to adjust the holder once I press it into place. Any other ideas?

Thanks again!

Just make sure it’s not crumbly or loose. It would be a shame for the soap dish to be sitting in the tub again with plaster embedded mortar stuck firmly to the back of it.

Ah, sure. Thanks for that. I am afraid that beneath all the construction adhesive, there will be just crumbled plaster and lath (and that was why they used construction adhesive.) If it is al rotten and I have to just clear out a hole, I’ll insert a piece of 1"x4" and secure it in place somehow, maybe drive a few nails part way into it, then apply thinset to that.

Incidentally, I think I am going to clamp it by building a brace that presses against the edge of the bathtub (I said shower earlier, but I didn’t think it made any difference.) That sounds like a lot of trouble, but I really don’t want to do this again.

Why not using a soap holder with some traceless adhesive tape instead?

Because the lath and plaster under the tile is rough and crumbling. Adhesive tape wouldn’t hold for long. Even the thick layer of construction adhesive they used in the original renovation failed eventually.