DIY Bathroom Remodel questions

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Chris4x4Gill2, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. Chris4x4Gill2

    Chris4x4Gill2 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Alabama
    High guys, I'm attempting to remodel a small bathroom and this is my first attempt at something like this so I want to run my game plan by people with experience to get some feedback and tips.

    I am keeping the layout of the room the same, so I do not anticipate having to move any plumbing fixtures. The house is 1980 construction, and everything in the bathroom seems to be original to the house. House is single story on a slab.

    My biggest questions are with the tub replacement. I currently have a 30"x60" tub/shower combo. It has cracks in the bottom (seems to be made out of fiberglass?) I am assuming there is sheetrock behind the shower walls? I can not fit a single piece replacement unit through the door, and the mrs does not like the idea of a 3 or 5 piece unit being installed so my plan is to buy a tub and tile the walls for use as a shower. Here is my game plan, please tell me where steps are missing or if there are options that may be better or easier than what I have listed.

    1) remove old shower. (looks like i'll be cutting this into several pieces to get it out of the door - reciprocating saw / sawzall)

    2) remove any drywall behind shower. - plan is to score drywall at edge of tub prior to removal of shower. I do not know if there is a stud at the edge of the tub, I will add one if there is not to allow for installation of the backerboard later.

    3) replace any plumbing necassary for installation of new shower head

    4) install tub

    5) install plastic membrane over studs ( is this needed? I have read conflicting opinions.) I am planning on using plastic sheeting stapled to the studs with it ending at the lip of the tub.


    6) install backerboard - what is my best option? seems like the concrete backerboard is the most readily available choice. does this need to start at the top lip of the tub? or should it extend floor to ceiling behind the tub? if floor to ceiling, i guess step 4 will come down to below this step.

    7) tape joints of backer board - mud over joints

    8) install tile - (12x12) using thinset (is mastic a viable choice for this size tile?) 1/8" spacing between tiles for grout. How large should the gap be at the wall / ceiling edges? does this gap get silicone caulking instead of grout?

    9) seal tile / grout - how long should I wait to do this?


    As I get to some of these steps I am sure I will have more in depth questions but how does my overall plan stack up? am i missing anything?
  2. Chris4x4Gill2

    Chris4x4Gill2 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Alabama
    What should I look for in construction of the tub? I want quality, but am also doing this on a budget. What features / materials should I look for or avoid?
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    Tiling issues are covered very well at www.johnbridge.com. Yes, you want cbu (cement board - cement backer unit) on the walls. Often, the old one-piece units were installed directly onto the studs, then the drywall was installed. There's likely a wide flange underneath the drywall (maybe more than an inch). If you can, notch the studs so that the lip of the tub is in line with the outer edge of the studs with the new one. Not required, but better. You could use shims on the wall, but that would make the tile stick out further. You want at least an 1/8" but probably no more than 1/4" gap between the tub and tile. The tile can overlap the tiling flange of the tub as long as more than half the tile is supported by the wall. You never want to use mastic in a wet area...costs more, and most, even if allowed, are limited to smaller tile than 12x12. The stuff stays gooey in a bucket because it can't dry out. Stick a big tile over it, and then spray it with water periodically, and it may NEVER dry out. Still stickey, means movement, means cracks.

    Industry standards call for caulk at all changes of planes or materials, so that means corners and tub/tile transition. There are groutless, tile-in expansion joints that could be used that would eliminate ALL caulk while maintaining full waterproofing, and they are nice. www.schluter.com makes a bunch of them in different finishes and tile thickness treatments. Very common in Europe, if you like the style, they can be very nice.

    Depends somewhat on what features, if any, you want in a tub. There are some very nice cast iron ones that don't cost very much that could easily last 50-years with good care. Acrylic is more flexible, and therefore available in many more styles, especially depths. If installed properly, it can last a very long time as well. It is not anywhere near as forgiving if you have a lot of sand, or ever use an abrasive cleaner. Stay away from the porcelain on steel tubs...cheap, and often fail, easily chipped, then they rust. I'd avoid a fiberglass gell-coat tub...Flimsy and easily scratched (more so than acrylic, but maybe not by much).
  4. Chris4x4Gill2

    Chris4x4Gill2 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Alabama
    Jim - Thanks for the reply. I like your suggestion of notching the studs to allow for the lip of the tub to sit flush. I guess I'll have to wait till I get the current shower out to see what exactly is behind it.

    I have signed up and have been reading threads on JB.com. Also working my way through his book. Maybe I'll get this tile thing right. - I've got to do the floor as well.

    is a plastic membrane needed under the CBU ? (step 5 above)

    As for the tub, I will probably go with acrylic, my only concern was that the ones I looked at sounded very "hollow" when tapped. I suspect this would be minimized once installed though.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,529
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I have NEVER notched the studs when I install a tub. And you could NOT do it at the two ends of the tub anyway.
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