2 New Bathrooms, call me out on the tiling...

Old 01-29-08, 06:40 PM
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2 New Bathrooms, call me out on the tiling...

Hi everybody.

I completely guttted the only bathroom in my 1980's townhouse, and am turning it into two standard 8'x5' bathrooms. One is 90% done (workers grouted the shower and floor tile today). The other is all greenboarded and mudded, but no cement board yet. I know the guys working on it skipped a step here or there, and am curious 1) what I can expect and 2) What I can do to fix said problems, keeping in mind I intend to move within 3 years.

Bath 1 (The almost done one)
- Greenboard walls, lightweight mud
- 1/2 durock on floors and tub surround. Floor has 1/2 inch plywood subfloor. durock screwed directly to studs with no moisture barrier in tub surround. They used a durock floor patch for the seams, but no silicone anywhere.
- 8x8 ceramic tile, secured with OmniGrip, and grounded with a non-sanded grout, with 1/16 spacers, on entire floor and from tub to ceiling. They also grouted the seam where the tile meets the tub base.
- Workers don't think sealing is necessary, but I disagree.

Bath 2
- Same green walls and mud.
- 1/2 durock floor on 1/2 ply.
- 1/4 Hardiboard purchased for neo-angle shower, and after reading I will install a plastic moisture barrier. On one shower wall, the workers put up greenboard. I know people used to tile right on that, but I hear that is advised against heavily these days. So i figure I will throw Hardiboard over that.
- Same tile, adhesive, and grout everywhere, but with 1/8 spacers this time on the floor.

I know there are alot of problems above, some more concerning than others. But in terms of absolute disaters-in-the-making that must be addressed, lay it on me!


Old 01-30-08, 06:30 AM
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If I could predict the future, I'd be picking lottery numbers. The question is not "How long until I have problems?" the question is "Can anyone tell me why I am willing to accept and pay for substandard work that does not follow recognized published industry guidelines?"

For that question I have no answer.
Old 01-30-08, 08:34 AM
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Aw-w-w-w-w, c'mon Tilebri? This one is easy to predict the outcome.

Brandon it's too late now but just so you know when you hire your lawyer...

Greenboard in wet areas for tile installations was outlawed by the Uniform Building Codes a couple of years ago. Tile installers know it, drywall manufacturers know it, building inspectors know. It's not like it was a big secret. The only people that don't know it are the mindless hacks that can't read anything but a label on a beer can. It's likely you won't have to wait three years to have the happy pleasure of doing all of this again before you can sell the house.

Half inch thick cement board would be required for the walls of the surround but not necessarily for the floor. A subfloor of 1/2" thick (plywood or OSB) is not code (anywhere) and is not sufficient, I doubt that's what it really is. It doesn't matter which thickness of cement board is used on the floor, it doesn't offer any structural benefit what-so-ever, it is merely a compatible tooth for the tile thinset to stick to.

A moisture barrier is required behind the cement wallboard. Silicone is not required and wouldn't be the best idea in the wall tile interior. There is nothing wrong with a grout joint of 1/16" and unsanded grout is what should be used there.

The wall/tub juncture SHOULD NOT be grouted, it should be caulked.

Sealing IS NOT necessary in a lot of cases. Most of today's products have acrylic additives and sealer is another means of a retailer getting your money.

There are books these days that spell-out all this stuff - OH! Nevermind! Beer can labels only, I forgot.
Old 01-30-08, 10:08 PM
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Thanks Bud for the honest and helpful info. Thanks Bri for the cynicism, which is sometimes the best constructive criticism.

All points noted, and luckily it is not too late to fix most of the flaws. The contractor has been relieved from this job, and since he was unwilling to make the repairs I was unwilling to pay him the full amount. As usual the end deal is the one where everyone compromises and leaves unsatisfied.

I will NOT be able to put the moisture barrier behind the Bath #1 shower, but I can pull the grout from between where the tile meets the tub and silicone instead. I am concerned some about not having the moisture barrier, but considering the prior tiled wall was ceramic glued directly to greenboard over 20 years ago and showed no damage whatsoever on removal, I am hoping for the best there.

In bath 2, no tile has been set, so I can cut out the greenwall in the shower, and put up the moisture barrier and 1/2" hardibacker, so at least one will be done right.

You are most certainly right about the ply thickness on the floor. It was the original with house and I really didn't work with it much.

I'm not a fan of the "cross your fingers" approach, but at least with regards to what's been completed, thats the best I can do.

Thanks again!


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