Bathroom Shower, Gut and Replace

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by flexinflux, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. flexinflux

    flexinflux New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mountain West Utah
    I'm in the process of obtaining bids to redo a 50-year-old, tiled shower stall with a bad trap/drain. This is a 3x3 enclosure with white tile.

    Today I received a proposal from a local plumbing & HVAC company asking me for roughly six thousand dollars. Their bid includes ripping everything out down to the studs and rebuilding the entire threshold and enclosure with metal mesh, concrete and a kind of thinset (no backerboard). It also makes mention that the existing corroded trap will be removed and replaced with a contemporary ABS "p" trap and a new pan is to be used as well.

    The reason I'm writing is in hopes of determining just how realistic this particular proposal is. I realize that costs can vary due to economic conditions and geography, but perhaps a few of you would be willing to offer your thoughts on what a project like this should cost on average? Anyone else been in a similar position?

    Thanks.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    They're talking about mudding the walls, which, if you can find someone that still has the skills, is a nice way to achieve flat/plumb walls when the studs may not be all that great. Pricewise, that's in-line...could be more, could be less, with a lot of that depending on where you live. Some of the price depends on the tile used, which can vary from $1/sqft to over $100 just for the materials. The critical thing is how they plan to build the pan, as when doing a conventional shower, this requires a preslope, waterproof liner, then the setting bed. If they're talking about putting the liner on the floor, flat, get another quote from someone who will do it per industry standards.

    It's good to educate yourself on the proper way(s) to build a shower - there are many. There are many more ways to mess up! Check out www.johnbridge.com and look through their 'Liberry' section. The bible in the USA is the TCNA handbook (Tile Council of North America). This lists the available, tested, approved ways to build most anything using tile. Personally, I prefer a surface membrane verses the traditional methods. In some ways, it is simpler. In a totally cement based traditional shower, moisture will penetrate some into the substrate (the pan and the walls, especially where the showerhead spray hits regularly). A surface membrane puts a waterproof layer immediately beneath the tile. If using something like a good porcelain tile (good does not necessarily mean expensive), the tile itself won't absorb much of any moisture, and the whole shower dries out very quickly. Mold takes three components: moisture, food, and the spores. The only one that is easy to eliminate is the moisture if you use a surface membrane to stop it penetrating. A conventional shower can last and perform quite well, I think the newer techniques add some neat, useful features and benefits. And, they can go together easier and quicker. Quicker means less money and downtime.
  3. flexinflux

    flexinflux New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mountain West Utah
    Thanks for your lengthy reply. I did check out the forum(s) you recommended and they were very helpful. I was briefly considering the option of doing this myself, but after a little reading I can tell that this is probably one project left to someone else.

    Perhaps getting bids from plumbing companies was the wrong way to go? It seems after my reading that this kind of job is really about finding a good tile company even though plumbing is still involved.

    But still, ... -having a hard time wrapping my head around this recent bid. Oy!
  4. Ecoman

    Ecoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    in my opinion the price is to high...get a bid from 2-3 contractors before you make a decision and get everything in writing when you sign the contract.
    here is a useful article on Choosing the right home improvement contractor


    You may also want to consider getting the materials yourself ...it can save you money ...the tile, the shower pan, quick pitch system, the fixtures
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you are replacing the shower, you will need a good tile contractor and a good plumber. I sub my tile work out.

    This is a good time to replace the shower valve. Parts for the old one will be harder and harder to find, and the new valves are pressure balanced.
  6. flexinflux

    flexinflux New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mountain West Utah
    Thanks for the input guys. I'll look into possibly trying to save a few sheckles by buying some of the materials myself. Thankfully I had the valve updated a couple of years ago, so it might be acceptable to keep it where it is. Strangely, the plumber that installed my valve is the same one who told me that my crusty drain was fine just to leave it.

    -Trying get a few more bids on the job this week. The second bid also came in at just under 6 grand. It always amazes me that while it is easy to get people to come look at a job, it's nearly impossible to get them to actually follow up and get the work done.
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