3x3 shower install

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dburn

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Hi, I have spent the last month or so reading about shower installs and I decided that my original idea of a simple home depot shower base with direct to stud plastic walls was not the best idea and I would prefer to tile the walls.

I started by seeing what I had to work with so I removed the original shower which consisted of a 3x3 fiberglass pan, drywall for the walls, and countertop laminate glued over that. I was surprised after removing it all that it wasnt completed rotted out but there was some water stains, Im not sure if there is anything I should do about those like spray them with bleach or something but the wood seems solid.

I am now left with studs, some 2x6s on the subfloor, and 40 year old plumbing that backs up to the second bathroom tub.

I would like to ask for some advice so that I can work on my plan for this renovation.

Flooring:
The subfloor looks to be in good condition, but I was planning to put a piece of plywood over the 2x6s and screw it down. If anyone is familiar with this type of subfloor (Portland Or) and has a recipe for success they could share I would appreciate it, i.e. leave a 1/8th gap all around, screw it on X" centers. The rest of the subfloor in the bathroom is 1/2" particle board (which i know everyone will tell me to remove) but due to the asbestos sheet flooring I intend to cover it in a new layer of vinyl or something so I do not want to go too thick on the subfloor under the shower.
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Plumbing:
I realize this is a plumbing forum first and foremost but I am undecided if I will do the plumbing myself or hire someone who can pull the permit and do soldering of some new fixtures ensuring I wont screw up this critical step.

Since the bathtub in the second bathroom is on a common wall with the fixtures and I see some green/blue staining on the pipes, can I replace that plumbing through this back wall? It seems like a great time to do it since it will be accessible and a permit will be pulled anyways (I am not sure if we will renovate the second bathroom before we move in a few years).

Should I go down into the crawlspace and run new pipes up to the shower/bathtub? They are 40 year old copper but now would be the time to do it to make sure they last. If they would last no matter what I will just cut them off below the Tee which goes from the bathtub to the shower faucet and put in all new from that point up. You can see the tub faucet in this picture and from there the pipes run up to the shower faucet which is on this side above where the picture ends. The pipe is 1/2" copper and there was never any noticeable issue with using both showers at the same time so I don't know if the piping size would need to change or if it can just be replaced starting below the existing tub faucet but I would want it to meet code.
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There is a 2" drain pipe in the crawlspace (which had a small leak as you can see) which I had to cut to remove as it was cemented to the drain in the the fiberglass pan. I think I need to either cut that clean and install a longer piece up to the finished subfloor, or if there is somethinn more needed I will need to replace some more piping back behind the trap.
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Shower install:
Once the above is sorted I can start with the new shower install. I am not interested in attempting a tile floor so I would like to purchase some pre-made shower base to use with tile walls. If people have recommendations on bases that are good but dont break the bank I would really appreciate it. I have looked at the Swanstone SS-3636 in a show room and it seems pretty sturdy but I dont know if I am in love with the surface finish, it was $350. I also saw this Jacuzzi JCAY3636 which was acrylic instead of the swan material and it was ~$400. There are a lot of cheaper ones like Dreamline or something but I worry about those being too flimsy.

After I determine which base to get I will move on to the walls. Based on my reading for this simple install I could go with poly sheeting behind some CBU and then tile, or, no polysheeting and either paint on waterproofer, or membrane such as Noble valueseal or similar. I am undecided what direction I will go for this but will take any advice you can offer for a first timer with no tile/mudwork experience. I understand the detail when mating the wall waterproofing to the shower pan is crucial and I have read about most common methods but will probably ask again as I finalize my plans.

I appreciate any advice you can offer as this is my first shower install. I have a lot of experience at general DIY tasks and basic fabrication so I think the above is within my abilities if I have a good plan.
 

jadnashua

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If you use a shower receptor, you shouldn't need to do anything to the floor planks prior to installation. If you changed your mind and wanted to tile the pan, there are tileable, pre-made pans that can be used that do need to attach to plywood - they cannot be installed directly onto the planks.

A few of these shower systems include:
- Wedi
- Schluter Kerdi
- Laticrete Hydroban sheet

Both Wedi and Kerdi have been around for decades...the Laticrete product came about around 3-years ago after Schluter's patent expired. To get an idea of how those systems work, Schluter has the most complete video library, but the Laticrete product is similar. Wedi is different, though, and in some ways, simpler. Wedi uses tileable, foam panels and you use a sealant and screws to put it all in place. Schluter and Laticrete can use drywall that is then covered by their waterproof sheets (sort of like putting up wallpaper but with thinset), or, you can use other sheets like cbu if you insist. Schluter also has a waterproof, foam panel you can use that is screwed in place on the walls, then you seal the screw penetrations and seams.

Personally, I like the tiled floor of a shower. I also MUCH prefer a totally waterproof shower enclosure verses a water resistant one that you'd get with cbu on the walls (the floor would be waterproof, but a conventional shower pan has a thick layer of deck mud that is porous that essentially never dries out). There are ways to use all three of those systems listed above with a shower receptor. The key is properly sealing the walls to the pan.

While you have the studs reveled, check them for plumb, and either sister or shim or plane them so that they are all in plane, or you'll make installing the wallboard and tile MUCH harder on yourself!

Note, to use any premade pan, the floor must be level. You can level the pan if you use a receptor, but not the ones you tile unless you do your own base in place.

If you're going to change the shower valve (you probably should, depending on the type of valve that's installed, it may be required) while you're in there to pass current code requirements about anti-scald. Those streaks probably indicate either the valve leaked, or some water penetrated around the trim of the shower valve...and, it's not the actual valve that had the issue.

For tiling issues, suggest you check out www.johnbridge.com.
 

Dj2

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"Should I go down into the crawlspace and run new pipes up to the shower/bathtub? They are 40 year old copper but now would be the time to do it to make sure they last."

I would at least replace the 1/2" risers and the rough in, since once finished with your project they will be hidden. Use L type copper.

About tile: use the deflection formula at johnbridgeforum to see if you can use tile (heavier) on your joists. The last picture doesn't show any joists...I assume that what we see is a beam. I don't know the thickness of your planks (5/8"?) but I would think you will need plywood on top of them and of course re-do the drain riser.

The old water mark on the planks is probably nothing to worry about.

Should you consider hiring a plumber? depends on your level. You don't want to make any mistakes here. Your call.

Load pics when finished!
 

dburn

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"Should I go down into the crawlspace and run new pipes up to the shower/bathtub? They are 40 year old copper but now would be the time to do it to make sure they last."

I would at least replace the 1/2" risers and the rough in, since once finished with your project they will be hidden. Use L type copper.

About tile: use the deflection formula at johnbridgeforum to see if you can use tile (heavier) on your joists. The last picture doesn't show any joists...I assume that what we see is a beam. I don't know the thickness of your planks (5/8"?) but I would think you will need plywood on top of them and of course re-do the drain riser.

The old water mark on the planks is probably nothing to worry about.

Should you consider hiring a plumber? depends on your level. You don't want to make any mistakes here. Your call.

Load pics when finished!


Based on your response whether I myself replace the plumbing or hire it out I will run new risers from the crawl. There is not that much piping so I figured replacing it all with copper is similar in cost to using sharkbites in the crawl and using PEX on all the joints in the wall. I would have to buy all the tools so the cost is likely similar to hiring a pro. Also I do not know the codes so I figured I would prefer to spend my limited time on the tile and wall work.

The planks are 2" thick 6" wide tongue and groove. They are not perfectly flat so I will likely install plywood on top even though I plan to use a shower receptor. I am still trying to determine which one I should use but I think regardless they recommend using a mortar base. I will use the manufacturer instructions once I narrow that part down.
 

jadnashua

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A mortar base will allow you to level the receptor. You could tack some roofing felt down over the planks to help prevent the wood from sucking moisture out of the mortar...the mortar doesn't really bond, but is used as a filler there. You must use plywood over the planks if you want to install a foam pan like the Kerdi one, or Wedi, or similar, since the mortar does need to bond it in place.

Generally, the floor you describe, is only used on the west coast, and is sufficient for ceramic, but not stone. The calculator at www.johnbridge.com does not work with that type of floor construction where you have beams often in a 4' square grid with the 2" planks spanning between. If tiling, you'd need a minimum of 1/2" plywood attached on top. If you haven't watched any of the Kerdi videos, take the time. Having a totally waterproof enclosure that dries out faster, and moisture can't penetrate is much nicer than the conventional methods. If you can cut it symmetrically, you can use their foam tray for your shower. I know they have a 4'x4' one, but there may be a 3'x3' one, but the larger one can easily be cut down to 3x3 by cutting 6" off each side. If the current bathroom floor covering isn't cushioned vinyl, you could screw down the ply on top of it, then either cbu or something like Ditra, and tile it without exposing yourself to asbestos. If it's cushioned, you can't. If it has luan plywood underneath, you shouldn't tile it, either, unless that is removed, which you don't want to deal with, so a new, sheet flooring is probably your best alternative.
 

dburn

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Ok, so I had someone replace all the pipes and faucets for both my tub and shower and now I am putting this thing back together finally. I have a swanstone shower pan installed and I am trying to install the push on "Flo-Fit" drain. The drain pipe is not secured very close to the shower location so it moves a lot and pushing this thing on is basically impossible as it appears to require tremendous force. I need to go into the crawlspace I guess and secure the pipe somehow. Does anyone have a recommendation on how best to secure this geometry? Should i use some metal strapping and wrap it around the U and screw it up to the subfloor symmetrically? I need to be able to push straight down on it pretty hard,
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jadnashua

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If you can fit it in there, you can put blocking underneath to hold the trap in position. If you used strapping, you'd want to ensure you didn't use very long screws, but to get any bite, they'd have to be a heavy gauge. Depending on what's underneath, you might be able to stack something under there and maybe shim it at the right height.

As to finishing the walls, suggest you check out www.johnbridge.com for help. As I mentioned previously, my preference is a waterproof method where you tile directly to the waterproofing. Conventional works which would require a moisture barrier behind the wall, lapped over the tiling flange of the base, then cbu on top of it. I prefer a sheet membrane verses a liquid applied one. If you go with one of the foam panels like KerdiBoard, or WediBoard, you get your wall board and waterproofing in one step. You still have to waterproof the seams and screw penetrations, but that's quick and easy. If you use Kerdi sheet membrane, you can use plain drywall on the walls since it would be behind a totally waterproof surface. CBU works, too, it's just harder and costs more.
 
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