Converting from tub to shower - Drain questions

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Nick Gibb, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Nick Gibb

    Nick Gibb New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    I have removed the tub from a condo I am rehabbing and am going to go with a standing shower. The plan is to create a sloped mortar bed (single layer, no pre-slope) and seal the floor and walls with Laticrete sealing liquid. The existing floor is concrete that was originally broken away to install the tub diverter and drain. My question is about the new shower drain. Due to a low hanging structural member in the bathroom, I cannot build the floor up too high. The drain line (which runs to a drum trap) is 1 1/2", galvanized and is currently below the existing floor level. The plan is to use a 1 1/2' to 2" elbow right off the existing pipe, 2" pipe to the location of the drain and then a 2" elbow to go back to vertical. I then plan to attach a screw in 2" drain (steel or brass) to set the height for the lowest point of the floor. pour and screed the mortar bed around this and seal (will add in a fibre sheet embedded in the sealing liquid to strengthen around the drain hole). Then walls and tile the whole space.

    Am I going in the right direction? Suggestions? Am I missing something crucial? Can you suggest a 2" drain I can screw right in to the galvanized elbow?

    Thanks in advance for the input.

    Nick
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
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    Several gotcha situations here. Unless you can get dispensation from the inspector, the drum trap and the 1.5" line really needs to go along with any of the galvanized you have access to while dealing with things. Drum traps are no longer legal, are impossible to get a snake through, and are often full of crud and ready to leak or clog. Since you're changing the function from a tub to a dedicated shower, the inspector may require you to bring anything you touch up to current code.

    While I like surface membranes, I have no experience wiht the Latticrete stuff. It might work, it might not.

    Being a multifamiliy dewelling, both code and the condo rules likely require any of the plumbing work be done with a permit and inspections. While you can probably dismantle things on your own to save money, there's a limit on what you can do when building it back up. Having common walls and floors, any glitch you may have or create impacts not only you but potentially many other owners, thus the requirement for limitations on what can be done by the homeowner. It'd be a different thing if it was a single family standalone home.

    Now, getting access to change the drum trap and hooking things up to a viable 2" or larger connection may be tricky. Also, some larger buildings don't allow pvc and require all of the drains to be cast iron. This is generally not something a DIY'er is up to. Don't dig yourself into a big hole...both the inspector and the condo association could give you big grief. All it takes is one owner calling it in or a leak that they trace back to your errant work (not saying you couldn't do good work).
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    I would make sure you always have a pre-slope.

    JW
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  4. Nick Gibb

    Nick Gibb New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    John,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am looking into a linear drain system, but wanted to get your ideas/suggestions based on my drain placement situation. As you can see from the attached image:

    Condo Rehab 027.jpg

    Condo Rehab 028.jpg

    The placement of the drain is not the most convenient. The 2x2's you see on the floor will frame in the walls to get them straight and plumb, but that puts the drain in a strange position (wasn't the greatest position to begin with). My new plan is to attach a 24" linear drain right at the new wall position (3/4" inside the 2x2 footer [1/2" for cement board, liquid membrane waterproofing, then 1/4" for tile]). Floor will be a straight slope from the opposite wall to the drain. My concern is based on the drain pipe position. What would you suggest for a linear drain system and how to connect it? I looked at the system from "Infinitydrain.com" that I like, and the coupling looks pretty easy and straightforward, but I don't think my drainpipe is in the right position. Could I cut down the drain pipe, add a 45 degree no hub coupler and tie in to the linear drain? Better solution options? Is there a side discharge model from another company I could tie in to a 90 degree elbow off the floor pipe (which is a threaded 1 1/2" iron pipe)? I really appreciate your input and suggestions, so thanks in advance for your forthcoming replies.

    Nick
  5. Nick Gibb

    Nick Gibb New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    I have a finish question. Once I install the linear drain (into a channel cut 1" to 1 1/2" deep into the floor), what should I use to fill both around the linear drain as well as the area already chiseled out of the floor? Concrete? I will be building a mortar bed on the floor sloped to the drain and sealed with Laticrete liquid membrane, so there should be no moisture getting to the newly patched area.

    Also, I will be installing a rain head shower that will run through a concrete beam in the ceiling. After the pipe is run through the channel I will be cutting in to the beam, what would you suggest for sealing in the pipe. Concrete? Hydraulic Cement? The ceiling area to be patched will not be tiled, just painted.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    Hopefully, you've got good liability insurance! One should never generally cut a concrete beam. It may take a licensed structural engineer to review, sign off, and supervise, if it's possible at all. Each condo bylaws differ, but you may be making changes to parts of the building you do not own and could be opening yourself up to huge liability issues. Often, you own to the finished walls...stuff behind it is the 'group' of condo owners, and you can't touch it unless you get their permission and follow the rules. Almost everywhere, a multifamily dwelling requires only a licensed plumber, electrician, etc. to make changes. Doing it yourself is potentially subjecting you to big liability issues.
  7. Nick Gibb

    Nick Gibb New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    Wow Jadnashua....it is really an honor to meet an Olympic gold medalist. What year did you win your gold medal in the wet blanket toss? So far both times you have answered my posts it has been to tell me that I shouldn't even attempt what I am thinking about trying. Nice to see that you are so free with offering up constructive advice. I am not talking about cutting a concrete beam, I am talking about routing out a channel for a 1/2" piece of pipe to lay in, and then re-covering with cement. The concrete between the floors of the building are at least 9" thick or more (the drum traps are at least that deep). The concrete beams are 12" thick, thereby effectively making the depth through the floor and the beam 20". I find it hard to believe a 12" to 15" long channel cut into the beam 5/8" wide and no more than 3/4" deep that will then be refilled with cement as potentially bringing down the building. While I understand and appreciate your point of view, your negativity regarding my possible direction of work is not appreciated.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    Well, I also live in a condo...there are many things that I could do on my own, but because of liability and condo rules, I don't and pay someone to do it for me. All I'm trying to get across to you is a condo is not a single family dwelling where changes you make are likely to only affect you. Good luck. It also sounds like you're not getting a permit, otherwise, you wouldn't be doing this. If you were a licensed plumber, you wouldn't be asking these questions. What you're doing opens up all sorts of liability questions, even if done 'right', without a permit and proper credentials, the condo association and the local inspector could end up making this a very expensive operation...much more than if you'd done it 'right' in the first place.

    Again, good luck.
  9. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    Sorry Nick Gibb, but Jim is right...

    A lot of folks think nothing of notching the bottom of a wooden floor joist, but they are also in the WRONG.
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Location:
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    Nick can you open that floor up a little and move that drain line forward? JW
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is a look at a drainage fitting (2" MPT) that we connected to a 2"- 1 1/2" copper reducer to connect the old shower's waste system to a new Cast Iron Watts Drain.

    This is one of our goto systems in these vancouver Condo's. Inspectors love the copper, cast, brass system and once the plumber does his thing we come back and repair the through hole and fire stop.

    This will be a kids shower and feature a linear drain across the back wall.

    JW
  12. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    So your going to screw cast iron shower drain onto that copper?
  13. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Like this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    JW
  14. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I see thats a brass bushing now. I like that John. Good work.
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Thanks. This is a pretty standard tub to shower conversion for use here in Vancouver.

    I haven't come across a tub yet that I couldn't rip out and make into a shower. With this job the patching of the through hole will be the hardest part of the job.

    Make sure you always flood test these new projects.

    With all multi family homes, high rises and such fire blocking or fire proofing needs to be in place. I'm a huge fan of the Hilti products for this.

    JW
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,529
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The condo associations I have dealt with not only require a permit and inspection, but also a LICENSED and INSURED contractor to do the work.
  17. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Good point HJ.

    This renovation is under city of Vancouver Inspections. I am a licensed contractor and personally carry 4,000,000 in liability insurance. My plumber who is connecting the drains and doing all the plumber work is also ticked and his company carries 10,000,000 liability insurance.

    Working on the 19th floor of a waterfront condo here in Vancouver or any other city for that matter you don't want a crew without insurance!

    We patch the through hole today and call for our first plumbing inspection tomorrow. Then I'll set the shower' pre-slopes and install the waterproofing measures then get the inspector back for a flood test inspection.

    As with most condo renovations the local strata needs to give the client permission to do the work. This job obviously has it and including the city in the equation just makes sense. You can never have enough eyes on a job and if your renovating your home or condo you should do the same.

    JW
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    HJ's point was that the OP lives in a condo, and is apparantly trying to do this on his own...risking LOTS in the process. It's one thing solicitiing ideas, but proper execution is mandated and multifamily dwellings have some of the more stringent requirements, then throw in the condo rules as well. At least around where I live, those condo rules are non-negotiable, they're part of the deed filing each person signs when he buys his place.
  19. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,038
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Jim here in Vancouver you can do your own plumbing as long as it is not in common property. Things like a new faucet for the kitchen sink are OK. But what we are doing is in common property and Vancouver building codes require a ticked plumber to do the work. My man Ian from First Call is a plumber with 20 years on the tools.

    We prepped up the through hole and fire proofed it with fire surpression bricks and then did a concrete overpour.

    All reinforced with rebar, hilti pins, stucco lath, angle iron and of course my favourite Mapecem Pre-Mix Fast Setting Screed Mortar.

    You can see at the drain the product all ready drying. And at that point it is a good 3.5" thick!

    Love that stuff!!!

    [​IMG]
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    Local rules vary...but in many places in the USA, it doesn't matter if it is a multifamily dwelling, you need a licensed worker to do the work (strangely, you can do your own HVAC stuff, but not electrical or plumbing in my city). Now, if it is a single family dwelling, as long as it is done with a permit and inspected, you can do whatever you want.

    Chicago has some of the toughest plumbing regs in the country, and may be one of the more expensive places to do plumbing, so people try to cheat. It can be ugly if their effort gets discovered. We seem to have lost the OP.

    In my condo, they define everything behind the finished walls and floor as common area, which complicates it on the condo side, not even considering what the city wants.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
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