Caulking around bathtub quandary

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fakegamergirl

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Hello there! Me again. You guys were so supportive and helpful with my last inquiry, I thought I'd seek your guidance once more.
To reintroduce myself, I'm a 31 year old stay at home mother to a 1.5 year old toddler. I have no experience and am learning as I go.
As a refresher, my situation is that we bought a poorly flipped manufactured house full of quirks, bandaids, hidden problems, and problems we would've seen if we had more knowledge. Lesson learned! However, we are stuck with it for now and trying to make the best of it. We would have sued for lack of disclosure of clearly known defects but we only bought this because it was literally the best we could afford, so fixing it up is the lesser of two evils.

Our guest bathroom has drywall/gypsum. It's not even remotely up to code. The original "tile" was pressed particle board with thin paint to mimic real tile in appearance. We aren't construction savvy. We didn't know til it started chipping the paint within a couple months! The previous bathtub was painted plastic which became severely stained and peeling rapidly. When I learned of all this, I gutted the bathroom myself. Underneath the bathtub, I exposed a layer of rat poop, urine, black mold, etc. along with a poorly positioned p-trap. We ended up having a plumber come and move it back and lower. We didn't want to get another plastic tub, which is all that mobile homes usually get. No, this mama wanted a real tub. We managed to find one the same length we needed, although wider, so we had to trim ceramic tile with a carbide blade while already installed. We couldn't afford to pay someone for tile installation and this wasn't a task I was prepared to take on as a beginner.

We did not remove the drywall. I know this is a huge no-no and it's not up to code. I know very well that this will make it a very vulnerable area for mold and water damage. I did remove the areas that were full of mold and damaged. I did seal up the drywall to provide some protection and the area around the faucet, since it was open to install the new plumbing, was replaced with cement board.

We purchased interlocking tiles designed for bathtub surrounds that can be directly applied to drywall. I did want to tile down over the bathtub flange, but the house didn't want to allow this, as the flange stuck out further than the wall and this would've made for a very uneven wall. So, I tiled just above the flange, which is screwed in and siliconed to the wall by the plumber. The tile is very thin due to being vinyl and not ceramic, but it sticks out ever so slightly. I'm explaining all of this thoroughly because I have Googled and YouTubed like crazy trying to find a solution and was disheartened to see that the replies were always "You need to redo it" and "I won't help until you bring it up to code" and those just aren't options here.
So, maybe somebody out there loves a good puzzle or has faced this situation themselves.

The idea I have is possibly backer rods and caulking/caulk strips.. maybe vinyl/rubber wall base? I do believe the silicone will eventually break down and lose the seal, and these vinyl tiles can't have water entering the ends.

Please forgive my imperfections. I'm doing my best. I'm in a very poor mental state and nobody can possibly criticize me harder than I do to myself.

This is just one of many problems we now face, as the valve the plumber installed never had it's retaining clip in the cartridge and our bathroom and room behind it flooded last night. He also installed the hot and cold pipes on the wrong sides so we had to put them right. And the faucet just sprays everywhere instead of flowing smoothly. Please be gentle with me, I beg you.

Thank you in advance for any advice or ideas you may have.

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Sylvan

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WOW


"as the valve the plumber installed never had it's retaining clip in the cartridge and our bathroom and room behind it flooded last night. He also installed the hot and cold pipes on the wrong sides so we had to put them right. And the faucet just sprays everywhere instead of flowing smoothly."

1- Was the plumber licensed

2- Instead of you making things right you should have called the plumber back and ask for a copy of his insurance and I will explain why below

3- Once you redo the plumbers work normally they are no longer responsible as your the last one to fiddle with it

Many years ago I was called by John Wanamaker to replace a 2" oil supply line leading to their oil tanks for the two boilers

I sent two guys over to dig up the soil and replace the pipe and backfill the hole

A few weeks later I received a letter asking for my insurance carrier because I was being sued for placing "Toxic waste" on their property. I called my agent and he said I was not covered for oil as my plumbing license was ok to install a boiler that uses oil but I was not authorized to work on oil lines

I called a hazmat company I used and they told me it would cost me $350.000 to remove the contaminated soil above and below the lines I replaced

Declaring bankruptcy was not an option as it was a criminal act according to the EPA

As we were going back and forth about how I was going to take care of it I received a call from the building superintendent and he said "congratulations your off the hook" the reason being the oil company was making a delivery and their hose came apart from the fill connection and they poured several gallons of oil on the same spot I replaced the piping

If you had not attempted to make things right and just called the plumber you had a decent chance of having his insurance company bring the work up to code as "he was the last one to work on it and the leak contributed to possible future mold.

Most insurance companies rather settle the claim without going to court for them it is cheaper than hiring a lawyer and then they would ask for a general release from you saying you accept the payment in full and you hire who you want to fix it right

Unfortunately any advice from a professional other than "bring it up to code" leaves them open to litigation knowing something is a code infraction and they gave inept advice on how to cover it up even temporarily

The "Plumber" by installing the hot and cold reversed should get on his knees and thank the Lord no one was scalded and you made it right

Good luck

 
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fakegamergirl

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"as the valve the plumber installed never had it's retaining clip in the cartridge and our bathroom and room behind it flooded last night. He also installed the hot and cold pipes on the wrong sides so we had to put them right. And the faucet just sprays everywhere instead of flowing smoothly."

1- Was the plumber licensed

2- Instead of you making things right you should have called the plumber back and ask for a copy of his insurance and I will explain why below

3- Once you redo the plumbers work normally they are no longer responsible as your the last one to fiddle with it

Many years ago I was called by John Wanamaker to replace a 2" oil supply line leading to their oil tanks for the two boilers

I sent two guys over to dig up the soil and replace the pipe and backfill the hole

A few weeks later I received a letter asking for my insurance carrier because I was being sued for placing "Toxic waste" on their property. I called my agent and he said I was not covered for oil as my plumbing license was ok to install a boiler that uses oil but I was not authorized to work on oil lines

I called a hazmat company I used and they told me it would cost me $350.000 to remove the contaminated soil above and below the lines I replaced

Declaring bankruptcy was not an option as it was a criminal act according to the EPA

As we were going back and forth about how I was going to take care of it I received a call from the building superintendent and he said "congratulations your off the hook" the reason being the oil company was making a delivery and their hose came apart from the fill connection and they poured several gallons of oil on the same spot I replaced the piping

If you had not attempted to make things right and just called the plumber you had a decent chance of having his insurance company bring the work up to code as "he was the last one to work on it and the leak contributed to possible future mold.

Most insurance companies rather settle the claim without going to court for them it is cheaper than hiring a lawyer and then they would ask for a general release from you saying you accept the payment in full and you hire who you want to fix it right

Unfortunately any advice from a professional other than "bring it up to code" leaves them open to litigation knowing something is a code infraction and they gave inept advice on how to cover it up even temporarily

The "Plumber" by installing the hot and cold reversed should get on his knees and thank the Lord no one was scalded and you made it right

Good luck
The valve was only installed about 2 weeks ago and he did refund that job. He was hired through Thumbtack and the only plumber we could afford. Since we know exactly what was done, we have been able to catch problems before true disaster could happen. We are redoing the floor in the room on the other side of the bathroom and it was already water damaged and I'm in the process of repairing the wall and subfloor. The water didn't go too far because we shut the main line off pretty quickly, and the bulk of the water went on myself and the bathtub. We also used a dehumidifier, blow dryer, heater, and towels to get what we could.

We just want to seal the tub in its current state as best we can.
 

Reach4

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If I assume the tile is waterproof, I would consider silicone RTV. Somebody practiced in this can do it nicely, but I would need masking tape above and below the area that I want the RTV to be in. I would shove the RTV in, then peel off both pieces of masking tape before the RTV sets. Backer rods are for bigger holes, I think. What is the biggest crack/hole that you have that you are trying to cover with sealant? I am not a pro.
 

jadnashua

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That lip on the tub is referred to as a tiling flange. When tile is installed, it should lap over that flange down near the surface of the tub deck. As it is, water coming down the wall will want to curl underneath the edge. It does not appear that there's any real gap there. It is going to be tough to make that joint somewhat water tight that will look decent.

In the industry, neither tile nor grout (and if I read it correctly, this is neither) are considered waterproof, they're a decorative, wear surface. So, some moisture management needs to be done. On a wall, that's normally done one of two ways:
- a moisture barrier behind the material, and lapping over the tiling flange to direct any moisture that gets there into the tub (covered by the tile)
- a surface waterproofing membrane applied underneath the tile. That can be either a sheet membrane or a painted on one - I prefer a sheet membrane.

Without moisture management behind the surface, and nothing to direct any moisture that gets behind into the tub, you'll have issues down the road. How soon, hard to say.

Maybe someone will come up with a way to seal that joint. I'll think about it. No guarantees!
 

fakegamergirl

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That lip on the tub is referred to as a tiling flange. When tile is installed, it should lap over that flange down near the surface of the tub deck. As it is, water coming down the wall will want to curl underneath the edge. It does not appear that there's any real gap there. It is going to be tough to make that joint somewhat water tight that will look decent.

In the industry, neither tile nor grout (and if I read it correctly, this is neither) are considered waterproof, they're a decorative, wear surface. So, some moisture management needs to be done. On a wall, that's normally done one of two ways:
- a moisture barrier behind the material, and lapping over the tiling flange to direct any moisture that gets there into the tub (covered by the tile)
- a surface waterproofing membrane applied underneath the tile. That can be either a sheet membrane or a painted on one - I prefer a sheet membrane.

Without moisture management behind the surface, and nothing to direct any moisture that gets behind into the tub, you'll have issues down the road. How soon, hard to say.

Maybe someone will come up with a way to seal that joint. I'll think about it. No guarantees!
From the post, I wrote:

"We purchased interlocking tiles designed for bathtub surrounds that can be directly applied to drywall. I did want to tile down over the bathtub flange, but the house didn't want to allow this, as the flange stuck out further than the wall and this would've made for a very uneven wall. So, I tiled just above the flange, which is screwed in and siliconed to the wall by the plumber. The tile is very thin due to being vinyl and not ceramic, but it sticks out ever so slightly. I'm explaining all of this thoroughly because I have Googled and YouTubed like crazy trying to find a solution and was disheartened to see that the replies were always "You need to redo it" and "I won't help until you bring it up to code" and those just aren't options here."

This is, in fact, marketed as waterproof and safe to apply on drywall. Feel free to research into it-- There are currently two brands that I know of Innovera and Dumawall. My question wasn't about the wall, or the tiling, as I explained quite in depth. And the replies I've received thus far are exactly what I said caused pause in my even asking

If you aren't here to help, please do not reply at all.
 

wwhitney

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This is, in fact, marketed as waterproof and safe to apply on drywall. Feel free to research into it-- There are currently two brands that I know of Innovera and Dumawall.
Thank you for the reference. I wouldn't generally consider an interlocking vinyl tile to be waterproof, but I looked at the Dumawall tub and shower installation instructions, and they do claim to be "100% waterproof when used with DAP Kwik Seal Ultra in the seams." [Although they still recommend a water resistant substrate.] So if you did use that sealant at the edge of every single tile, I agree that the tile/tub transition is the main issue.

Unfortunately, the tub flange is a pretty difficult issue. Dumawall tells you to install the tile over the tub flange, even if there is a "slight angle to the tile to accommodate the flange". Reach4's idea seems plausible. I assume at this point it would not be possible to insert a Z-flashing behind the bottom row of tiles and over the tile flange? Even that would require a caulk solution in the corners.

If you're willing to put in a bottom row of ceramic tile, say 2" - 3" tall with a bullnose, one other option that comes to mind is this: verify that Kerdifix will bond to the face of your tiles using a scrap piece of tile. If so, get some Kerdiband and cut a strip of it to maybe 1/8" narrower than your tile is high. It should be applied vertically from the tub deck upwards, wrapping around the inside corners without interruption in one single piece. Use Kerdifix to bond the Kerdiband to both the flange and the face of the tile. Apply your ceramic tile over the Kerdiband using a cementitious thinset mortar.

I wonder if there is some like the vinyl wall base you mention that could be installed directly with Kerdifix in a single step. Thinner would be better to reduce the tendency to catch water.

Good luck.

Cheers, Wayne
 
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jadnashua

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Calling a vinyl product a tile in this case is pretty sketchy, but hey, marketing. The recommendation for a moisture resistant backer is to help if your sealing job is not 100% perfect. Not saying it is or isn't.

It would have been better if you lapped the material over the tiling flange so it would act more like shingles on a roof or wall. As it is, as I said, trying to make that seam waterproof and look good is problematic. Water will try to weep around the bottom edge, and if there's any imperfection in what's behind, it will get into the drywall, then all bets are off.

You could put a bead of sealant along that seam, but making it look good is going to be the hard part. If there was a gap you could fil, that's one thing, but at least from the picture, it doesn't look like it. That means, whatever you put there will end up on the surface.
 

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From the post, I wrote:

"We purchased interlocking tiles designed for bathtub surrounds that can be directly applied to drywall. I did want to tile down over the bathtub flange, but the house didn't want to allow this, as the flange stuck out further than the wall and this would've made for a very uneven wall. So, I tiled just above the flange, which is screwed in and siliconed to the wall by the plumber. The tile is very thin due to being vinyl and not ceramic, but it sticks out ever so slightly. I'm explaining all of this thoroughly because I have Googled and YouTubed like crazy trying to find a solution and was disheartened to see that the replies were always "You need to redo it" and "I won't help until you bring it up to code" and those just aren't options here."

This is, in fact, marketed as waterproof and safe to apply on drywall. Feel free to research into it-- There are currently two brands that I know of Innovera and Dumawall. My question wasn't about the wall, or the tiling, as I explained quite in depth. And the replies I've received thus far are exactly what I said caused pause in my even asking

If you aren't here to help, please do not reply at all.
I'm the right person to chime in. I understand that a DIY may not care as much about codes or licenses, but wants something that's safe and works and fits a tight budget. But the tile is not installed correctly. The tiles should go over the tile flange to create a water tight surface. Unfortunately there is no way to properly waterproof this installation. But the vinyl tile is surely inexpensive. So just go over it with another layer and cover the tile flange this time. Also make sure the the tile is recommended for this use, ie shower wall, or you will likely have more headaches soon.
 

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By the way, how are you sealing the gaps between each tile ? You state that the tiles interlock so I'm assuming there's no need for further treatment in the gaps. I'm further assuming that any water that does get in the joints has a channel to flow down. That might be fine if the tiles were over the tub flange but may not work well with the tile behind the tub flange. So it's possible that no amount of caulk or sealing tape at the flange will make it entirely waterproof.
 

DIYorBust

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I think the problem is that the seal won't likely last forever, and usually the sealant are just designed to keep errant or occasional water from passing through, not to maintain a joint on a very wet area. To create a reliable solution you would need a continuous barrier from the tub deck, to the highest level the shower water hits the wall. I know you don't want to take it apart, but honestly with lock togeher vinyl tiles, that would probably be worth the effort. And it's not about doing it to code, it's just about making it work well for you. It's your house, do what you want.

I can offer you one quick fix, but I doubt you'll like it. A shower curtain that goes all the way around the tub. Your toddler baths could still cause leaks around that flange, but you might get away with caulking it up.
 

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I happened to have a roll of 1.5" tub surround tape. It's flexible enough that it would wrap over the +/- 1/4" tub flange. If you can get a 2" wide tape, you might be able to cover the screw heads in the flange.

tub_tape.jpg

It's not clear what type of screws you have in the flange but I'd use stainless steel flat head screws (#8 or #10) and make sure they are countersunk in the flange. You'll need a countersink drill bit to do that.

You might also need to put a dab of silicone caulk at each vertical joint, where the joints meet the tape. Otherwise you'll likely have a tiny gap there for water to find it's way behind the tile/tub. Ditto for the corners.

We also don't know how well the tub is supported. The tape will likely be more forgiving than any caulk if the joint flexes at all. You might be able to determine how much flex you will have simply by looking if the gap increases when you climb into the tub.

At this point, this is a stop-gap measure and as you probably realize, redoing properly is the only permanent solution..

Good luck
 

Reach4

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I happened to have a roll of 1.5" tub surround tape. It's flexible enough that it would wrap over the +/- 1/4" tub flange. If you can get a 2" wide tape, you might be able to cover the screw heads in the flange.
Couldn't that tape be applied over a small hardened bead of GE Advanced Silicone 2 Kitchen and Bath Silicone Sealant Caulk, if that alone proved inadequate?
 

Chucky_ott

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Couldn't that tape be applied over a small hardened bead of GE Advanced Silicone 2 Kitchen and Bath Silicone Sealant Caulk, if that alone proved inadequate?

I thought about that but didn't know how messy it would be nor if the hardened silicone would interfere with the application of the tape (I.e. I would want a crisp fold along the entire length).
 
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