Complete Bath Remodel: Best Quality Shower Brands & Cast Iron Pipe Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Handyman, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. Handyman

    Handyman Junior Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Hey Guys,

    Thanks in advance for your help. I have two bathrooms that I will be remodeling soon in my house and I need some advice.

    Our house is partial slab, basement and crawlspace so it makes things interesting in terms of plumbing. Our house is approximately 60 years old and we have galvanized pipe and cast iron pipe in many places. We have a septic system and all of the sewer pipe outside of the house is PVC, but inside it is still cast iron and steel. I had to replace all of the waste pipe in our main bathroom this past spring because I unclogged a sink's waste pipe and I heard water leaking in the crawlspace. Turns out the waste pipe was galvanized and was clogged worse than a glutton's arteries. I think the clog was all that was holding the water in because when I cleared the pipe it had a long rusted out hole in it that was leaking. So I replaced both waste lines in that double vanity with PVC pipe and it was easy to tie into the plumbing in the crawl space because it was accessible. Now I am going to do the remodel on the smaller bathroom first and it is located on the slab part of the house. I noticed that the waste pipe for that sink is also galvanized pipe. Ugh! Also I had to remove the toilet last year to run a snake and I know that the waste line for that is cast iron so I am assuming the same is true for the shower in that bathroom as well. My first question is should I replace that pipe with PVC or let it be? If I want to replace it, that means jack hammering up the floor in the bathroom and the kitchen that waste pipe cuts through (meaning my cabinets will also have to come out as well as my kitchen tile). I REALLY don't want to have to do that and it will only stress my wife out (and therefore me) if I have to. The alternative is that I could do all of this work and possibly end up having to demolish it all anyways if I spring a leak because I didn't replace all of the pipe when I did the remodel. Any suggestions on this issue?

    My second question pertains to what brand of shower I should purchase. We currently have a MAAX brand of shower installed which seems to be really nice quality. The problem is that whoever installed it must have failed to put a mortar bed under the pan since it flexes so badly. It has since we moved in. That combined with the fact that I am 6'-4" and 300 pounds means it is under a lot of strain and has several stress cracks now. Since that is not easily repaired and must come out and since our walls are peeling and cracking and growing mildew due to the fact that the vent was never properly installed to vent out of the roof (this is a major hot button issue for me since our first house had this issue as well and I have heard of so many people with this problem because lazy people didn't want to do it properly when they installed the vent), I have just decided to do a complete gut and remodel. I need to replace the old knob and tube wiring in the walls anyhow. So since I am starting from scratch I can pretty much do whatever I want within reason. It is a small bathroom and our current shower opens in the middle with two sliding glass doors and is a corner install with a neo-round/round design. Still not sure what neo-round actually is. The drain is about 12" from each side. The overall length/width is about 38". I use this shower to wash our two dogs as well so I want it to be a sturdy shower. One thing that I have noticed is that the Maax shower pan sits very high and the newer ones that I have seen don't seem to sit that high. Anyhow I would like your input on where to buy a good shower and what brands I should consider or stay away from. What things should I look for in a quality shower? Should I avoid Home Depot/Lowe's and go to a local bath/kitchen supplier? Thanks!
  2. Handyman

    Handyman Junior Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Also what are your thoughts on push-to-connect fittings for supply lines? I have heard good and bad.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The shower pan may sit way high because the drain and trap are above the slab. This is, IMHO, a cheap, but lousy way to do things as I think it is a major trip hazard when trying to get out of the thing.

    If you want a corner shower with a curved front, you're almost stuck with a premade one, and the location of the drain will be dictated exactly by the specific model you choose. Getting custom glass if you make a custom tiled one in that shape adds up pretty quickly. IF you can make it more rectangle, I'd consider a tiled shower...much more durable IF done right.

    CI pipe COULD be fine. It could be swiss cheese. It might be worth spending the money to get someone to run a camera down it to check, then decide. You could try using one of the USB inspection cameras, but most aren't long enough, and aren't all that easy to direct the lense where you want, plus, their light isn't all that bright, but it is a cheap thing to try if you want to first.
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