Need help re-doing enclosed clawfoot tub.


Old 01-09-16, 08:30 PM
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Need help re-doing enclosed clawfoot tub.

Hello guys,
This will be a long post - so you will have to bare with me.

I will be starting this project in the next few months so I am trying to plan in advance. Thank you so much for any help you may be able to offer!

Just recently moved into a home and the previous owners enclosed a clawfoot tub, they did a rather decent job actually - but they used that laminated faux tile board junk for the shower walls, with a LOT of caulk and sloppy cuts etc.

I am not going to UN-enclose the tub, because I would have to remove all the surrounding walls and redo the floor, move the plumbing, etc.

I would like to pull down all the paneling until I get to studs around the tub, then I would like to sheet rock and tile.

Or should I use a shower wall paneling and cut it to sheets with caulk joints in between?

I have some questions regarding the process of this:

#1 - Once I install sheet rock against the studs, what sort of waterproofing membrane should I use before installing the tile?

#2 - I am thinking of using the "sheet" tile, the stuff that is pre-attached to a mesh backer and is usually 12"x12". I am thinking this would be best for joining the angled walls and getting close to the curved tub lip etc. Does anyone have a better idea?

#3 - Should I interlock the sheet tile at each "seam" where the angled walls meet?
Or should put half tiles in the gaps at the end of the sheet and then start fresh on the next wall and have a vertical grout joint at each wall section. I hope this makes sense to whoever is reading..

#4 - I currently have the two handle style diverter as pictured, I would like to switch to a single handle - I know how to cut out and re-sweat a new diverter but are there pro's/con's to switching to a single handle?

#5 - Do I have to seal the grout with anything once the tile and grout is cured to prevent water from seeping in and eroding the grout over time?

Here are some pictures:
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Last edited by Getyourshineon; 01-09-16 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 01-10-16, 12:21 AM
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If this were my shower I think I would consider using cement backer board and not wall board to prevent mold problems behind the wall. Then to tile or not to tile will be something you seriously should think about. In your shower area I see you have many angles in the wall and to change those angles will mean a great deal of work. If the tile is close enough especially in the corners and you grout and caulk well you shouldn't have any problems. However when done right panels may fit even tighter and prevent mold growth behind the walls on the wood.

Tile on the other hand will look nicer but it may require some angle cuts to get the tiles to fit better. As for single lever handles it shouldn't be a great deal of trouble getting one in from your pictures but it will require some soldering and turning the water off for a while as well as a new cover plate. Just be sure to follow the instructions exactly to prevent any water damage. Many things too will depend on your use of the tub and whether you mainly will take showers or use it as a tub too. Having answered that question you now know where to put the new valve.

There are tilers and plumbers on this forum who can give you more advice I am giving you advice based on some of my personal experience. A few years ago now I had a new shower put in and worked some on that project myself. When I didn't work on some things I was observing what they did.
Old 01-10-16, 11:45 AM
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Thank you for all of the great information.

I am now thinking of installing a hard backer board and then using a Deco-Poz concrete/plaster like finish over that. For a nice smooth seamless look. I think it would be easiest with all the angled walls and would illiminate seams.

I would then apply a very good quality sealer over the top of it.

This is the product:
Ecoprocote Deco-Poz Concrete Microtopping
Old 01-10-16, 01:57 PM
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What a can of worms you have there. First off, do some research on finishing a tub with tile as your first post shows you have little knowledge of what you are getting into. Your second post further solidifies your literal view of your project. Cement board only under tile in a wet location. Seams are mesh taped and thinset closed. Your cement overlay is basically a paint on product that will show what ever defects are in the substrate under it. Cement board is not designed as a finished wear layer. It is merely a superior bonding surface for the tile, which is the wear layer.

I will give the previous owner points for creativity but the design was out of convenience and not based on any best practices. A soaking tub, or claw foot tub should not be used as a stand alone tub and not have a shower integrated into it. There is no integral tile flange and you rely 100% a bead of caulking to keep water from the cavity behind the tub. You yourself said his caulking was thick and ugly. And I have seen enough water damage from failed caulking to never recommend that as your last level of defense. I am curious as to how the interior of the wall is framed, it probably doesn't meet best practices either.

While you don't want to hear it, a new tub, designed to fit in an alcove is what is needed for this remodel.
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