Removing fiberglass one-piece tub/shower

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by madflipper, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. madflipper

    madflipper New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Hello everyone, just signed up for this site, hopefully I can get some good information. I am wanting to completely remodel my downstairs bathroom that is original from the construction of the house in 1988. I bought the house 4 years ago. Anyway, it looks to me that the bathtub/shower one-piece unit was installed then the bathroom was built around it. First of all, I have no idea how I am going to remove this thing without having to cut it out. I don't even think it will fit out the door without cutting it up. I want to replace this unit with a bathtub and 3 piece wall surround unit. I guess I would like to know if this is feasible and the best way to remove the unit. Secondly, what am I going to find behind the unit? I'm assuming there isn't any drywall going behind the unit and for me to install the wall surrounds I'm going to have to do this. Looking forward to your advice. Thanks!!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    You're right, they usually install the bathtub and then build the finished walls around it. You'll probably have to remove some of the drywall, since it probably covers a flange at the top. When I replaced mine, I just took a sawsall and chopped it up into manageable pieces. Be careful around the supply pipes so you don't accidentally nick one and create a flood. Note that the size of the thing is probably fairly standard (60" long, stud-to-stud) but the drain may not be in the same location...it'll be close, but you may need to move things.

    Each of the tubs has their own installation requirements...best to find the one you want then read up on the installation instructions. You may need to put up drywall to hold the surround, or it might just go directly onto the studs.
  3. Sincraft

    Sincraft Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Heya there. Experiencing the same things right now :) Except I am a step ahead of you, you might want to follow my thread.

    I can tell you how I took my shower / tub (one piece) out, but there's probably a better way.

    1. First I shut off the water in case I kill a pipe. I should have shut off the electric as I have SEVERAL electrical outlets behind my unit! :eek: I then removed the tub spout, shower head, the overflow drain and the strainer of the tub (couldnt remove the drain itself...even with a drain wrench). I ALSO STUFFED A RAG in the holes of the drain to keep junk from falling in.

    2. Next, I put jeans on and a long sleeved shirt and took A RESPIRATOR AND GOGGLES, along with every saw and blade that I owned, up into the bathroom after gutting EVERYTHING out of it, otherwise you will damage everything trying to get it out. Not a problem if you are removing the items to be replaced, however even then remove them so you can get this hunk of junk outta there. (vanity, toilet, etc etc)

    3. I started by using a claw hammer and just wacking at the drywall (with the claw) ALL the way around the tub where the tub meets the drywall (NOTE: except along the floor) and hacking out/ exposing the flanges that are screwed/nailed to the studs. The drywall lays over little flanges of the tub/shower. Don't be bashfull about this, you new system will have to go into place and you will need to replace the drywall. At the very least you will have to cut the drywall back again after hacking to the stud to do a stud to stud repair and seam of the drywall.

    4. Then I removed the screws/nails holding the unit together, and then took a break.

    5. I started by grabbing the walls with my gloves, and physically cracking pieces of the walls off from the corner down towards the floor. This resulted in a bit of stain in my back, but less fiberglass dust blowing around the house.

    6. OK now, grab an old sheet, and COVER the doorway. DO you know if your ceiling fan(vent) goes OUT of the house or just into the attic or into the floor ? If you are NOT 100% sure, DO NOT turn on the fan to ventilate. If you COULD have someone help you by holding a shop vac at teh end of your tools while you cut, you would greatly reduce your dust. You are about to saw fiberglass, and this is not a nice thing to do EVER. If you have pets or children, you risk hurting them - not to mention yourself if you do not contain the fiber materials blowing everywhere. WEAR A RESPIRATOR or AT THE VERY LEAST a TIGHT rag over your face and ESPECIALLY FULL EYE PROTECTION, not those cool looking sunglass saftey goggles...the goofy ones that are like ski goggles that suck to your face. With teh respirator and the goggles, you will be miserable and barely be able to see what you are doing, and you will probably sweat.

    7. The sawing part was the hardest , for me. I couldn't find the one that I was happiest with. Probably the sawzall. When you saw near the walls, you risk hitting a pipe or electrical line. NOT GOOD. So what I did was set my circular saw to a depth of 1/4 of an inch (maybe a bit less) and cut as much as I could in 3x3 pieces, then I used a sawzall to cut the areas like around bends etc.

    8. My advice. Get the walls down first. Then work with the tub. If you can cut some of the corner of the tub out, you can figit it out in one piece, stand it up and pull it out through the door and into the staging area where you will place your other scrap pieces into it. THESE PIECES ARE EXTREMELY SHARP. ANYONE HELPING YOU SHOULD WEAR JEANS AND FULL SHOES OR BOOTS. You can cut a 4" gash into your leg that is 1/2" deep VERY easily by slipping or having someone push the tub with a jagged edge against you.


    Issues I encountered:
    -My tub had a fiberous THICK bottom to it. No amount of cutting was going to allow me to cut this tube in half. I realized this too late, then realized that if I cut the back corner off, I could get the tub out. Maybe you are lucky enough to not have your tub stuck between two walls, I dunno but I assume you do.
    -My drain would not remove...not matter what I tried. I actually drilled about 30 holes around the drain, to get it out because I broke all my blades on my jigsaw and sawzall working this POS out of my house lol. I only had one sawzall and 3 jigsaw blades. I broke them on the tub bottom with I thought would have been resting on some sort of support but didnt know better..so when it would hit the subfloor while I tried to cut the corners out to pull this out in two pieces, my blade would bend or break. DOH.

    Ok very tired so excuse the gibberish, hope you can get an idea what I mean by this.

    OH btw, let me save you about 10 hours of time by suggesting that you check out the centerlines of your drain in place now so that you buy what you need to match. Check Sterlings website. It looks like the options are (from the wall) 14.25, 15.5, and 17 "'s on center. Mine is 16 so I will have to adjust to fit the 15.5 one. The problme I am having is that there is a can light below to the kitchen that this runs against so I have no movement really. Then the next question is, roughing in a new valve (read my post) and installing the new drain.
    I'm very frustrated at this piont because we pulled the tub/shower out 2 weeks ago, and finally made a decision on what to buy...and now it's on order. I have the shower faucet etc, but cant really do anything until I get teh tub and shower to figure out if it is going to go in without my having to take out more drywall, or???

    S
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Put on work clothes and a resperator. Use the kind that seal tight to the face not the paper type with the rubber band. Get a sawsall and carefuly cut the old tub/shower into the size peices you want to handle. Be careful not to cut deep as the fiberglass is only about 1/8-3/8" thick. and you don't want to cut into anything else. It might be a good idea to turn off the water until the job is complete and then look for nicks in the plumbing B4 turning it back on. You can also cut the drywall with the sawsall if you need to. Have fun. I would use a 14-18 tooth smooth blade but you can use what ever works for you.
  5. madflipper

    madflipper New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Thanks for the info

    Wow, thanks for the info guys. Really appreciated, well looks like I have to cut this thing out, so I am going to get started on it. I'll keep you updated. Thanks!!
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    From the town that a beer made famous: Milwaukee:: SAWZALL
  7. perry2

    perry2 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    Hey guys, new here. I'm doing the same thing but, I want to replace with stone. I understand a water proof mat must be installed and 'lead' is no longer used. I also know I must build a wall where I step in.

    That's about all I know right now, any suggestions appreciated.....

    Thanks,

    Perry
  8. perry2

    perry2 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    If a moderator will remove my email addess I would appreciate that as well. I tried to find the edit function to change user name??.

    Thanks
  9. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051

    I suggest going to this tile and stone forum and searching through the posts:

    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2007
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,821
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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