major remodel and shower questions

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Old 12-03-20, 10:31 AM
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major remodel and shower questions

I’m contemplating a remodel of our upstairs bathroom located off the master bed room. This will be right above the front door entrance. I plan on stripping the shower section to the studs, replacing the shower valve install an exhaust fan through the roof and using large tile squares up to the ceiling. Also replace floor and toilet. Current vanity is good as is sink.

Although I did a great job of remodeling the other upstairs bath (with replacement of tub, toilet, sink, vanity, floor, exhaust fan and electrical stuff ) right down to the studs, I’m not sure about removing and installing a new shower bed and drain. See pics.

current shower install

as it now stands

What she wants

In addition my other half wants to extend the shower to make it into a “walk-in” style without a door. She wants’ to extend the wall to the right towards the window as the shower entrance. The pictures are deceiving. There is more room than it appears. I told her that it is not possible, mainly because it will interfere or intersect with the window and may not be to code. And the drain will not be centered. That might mean a custom made shower bed.

The other point I want is your opinion, suggestions and tips on what is entailed to remove existing shower bed and installing a new one? Is the shower bed just sitting on wood framing or is it set in mortar or some kind of “material” bedding.

If it helps the house was built in the early 70’s and located in Western New York (West Seneca suburb of Buffalo). Many plumbing and electrical codes were not established or overlooked back then, but by comparison to the older part of the subdivision, my house and section was more closely inspected and built. I have no plumbing issues or electrical problems

At 71 years old I just might have a professional come in and at least provide a quote.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 11:04 AM
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The old pan looks like it's fiberglass, so it should pop out reasonably easily. Though the pipe may need to be cut underneath first, or the pan cut out if the pipe can't be released from below. Not a big deal though. It's likely just sitting on top of the plywood subfloor.

Old shower pans would often be on a mortar bed, but I think there are much better solutions these days. There are much higher quality shower pans (I don't think they are fiberglass, some kind of resin I believe) which just drop in. Or you can use a Kerdi (or similar) which is basically like a sealed styrofoam pan which has the appropriate slope that you tile over. The pre-made pan is certainly the easiest, but Kerdi provides a full custom tiled look.

Once you're down to the subfloor, it's not a huge deal to move the drain, depending of course on joists. The pans you choose can have a centered drain, or a drain off to one side, or the corner. There are even curtain drains now, so you have lots of options depending on how crazy you want to get.

I would also consider a glass shower wall to separate the toilet and shower instead of a built out wall. It will make the bathroom feel much larger - but of course that's your call. Or maybe a half-wall with glass on the top-half, those seem to be all the rage these days.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 11:17 AM
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I would also consider a glass shower wall to separate the toilet and shower instead of a built out wall. It will make the bathroom feel much larger - but of course that's your call. Or maybe a half-wall with glass on the top-half, those seem to be all the rage these days.
Funny you should suggest that. My wife also suggest a glassblock wall. My immediate response was that it looks tacky. But maybe I'm wrong. I'm not a big fan of the current subway tile look nor do I want that gym or WMCA shower look.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 12:09 PM
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Norm, when I get home I will post a few pictures of the walk in shower I installed in our house back in 2012.

I went with Prova membrane system, identical to Dittra and used their foam pan which installed right on the plywood floor and used the existing drain, the other half of the walk in shower used the same foam material but it just sloped down the the primary shower area.

We had a similar fiberglass shower and the extra area, essentially the "foyer" to the shower eliminated the need for doors/glass, so much easier to keep clean.

The Prova material was easy to install and I have high confidence it and the drain connection will be leak free forever.

I was a little leery of using drywall inside the shower so I went with CBU but now see they have a foam board that looks interesting.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 12:15 PM
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The drain in a shower can be located anywhere. You just need to slope the floor so water flows to it. Leaving your drain where it is might be a benefit depending on the direction of your floor joists and how the drain piping is run. keeping the drain within the same joist bay would help but you also need to keep an eye on the elevation to maintain fall in the drain line. You also don't want to extend it too far away from the plumbing vent.

There are pre-fab shower floor kits in either foam or plastic. They are light in weight and might save some work but look carefully to make sure you can get one and make your drain location work. I start at the drain location and work outward. The base support can be bigger than your final shower as you just cut off the excess but you need to buy a blank/kit that's big enough to cover the whole shower after you've cut it down to size.

My master shower is a bit big and the drain is not centered so a shower pan kit was not a good option. I did it old school with a mortar bed. Doing the floor and getting the slope was easy though there was some grunting carrying in the 60 pound buckets of mortar.

I love a walk-in shower in summer when it's warm. Come winter though I want a door to hold in the heat while showering. I built my sower so the door folds back flush against the wall when not in use and the rest of the year it's used like a regular shower door.

Pay attention to your shower opening/door size. 22" is about the width of my shoulders so getting into the shower through an opening that small may feel claustrophobic or detract from a premium feel.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 01:21 PM
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Great information from you guys. So the walk in idea is not so far fetched as I think? It's not a problem with the window intersecting the shower area? And there is apparently no code violation with doing that?
Marq, anxious to see your walk-in. And I will use cement board when I do the walls and tile. That's how I did my other bath.
So I should look into using PROVA, Kerdi, or Dittra. These materials are able to be supported by 2 x4 ceiling joist framing and plywood floor and can handle a near 200# person?
PD, correct I do not want to re-locate my existing drain. It's location is sort of locked in between joist and directly above the light fixture in the foyer below. In fact at one time the shower drain leaked and filled the light globe in the hall with water (kind of like those 3 Stooges movies.) LOL. But the light continued to operate! When I fixed it I had to remove part of the hall ceiling below and found the shower trap in a very tight frame of 2 x 4's next to the light fixture.
Zorfdt mentions that the old pan will just lift off the floor. I assume it might be glued? Or will it just be sitting in place? What keeps it from moving?
PD, that idea of your shower door folding flat against the wall is good. I may want more info on that when the time comes.

It's funny, but I had no fears or qualms about ripping apart the main bath several years ago (and that with several other people in the house hold) and installing everything new even though I never did it before. Same thing with the kitchen remodel. Never installed cupboards before or crown molding. And it turned out perfect. But this shower thing gives me doubts.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 03:48 PM
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You can look up the code online but it is OK to have a window in the shower (I have one in mine). The issue is if the glass is tempered and how high it is off the floor of the shower. Your window looks low so the glass would need to be tempered for safety and to meet code if it is "within" the shower. The next question is if the glazing (visible glass) part of your window is outside the plane of the shower. The window frame can be in the shower but it's the glass that counts.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 04:12 PM
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So I've spent the last few hours Googling shower pans and basis. So I'm a little confused. I don't want to tile the shower floor. I want to buy a base (? or would that be a the pan) that just sits on the ply wood floor. Does that need to be thin set in? Some say yes other say no. I think I should see a local bath and kitchen guy (I know one that was very helpful when I did my kitchen) and get his opinion. And it seems that I should purchase through a dealer as opposed to a direct buy from the internet.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 04:29 PM
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I want to buy a base
Just have to confirm overall size and drain location!

1st picture:
This is looking into the shower, opening on the left is entrance, the area inside is 3' deep x 4' long, opening on right is an interior window to the shower area which is 4' deep x 4' wide so a bit of an "L" shape.

2nd picture:
Looking in the window to the Prove drain, floor is tiled!

3rd picture:
Looking from shower area to window on left and entrance on right!

One comment, we also had initial concern about cold drafts without a door but found once water heats up and steam forms nothing, and I mean nothing, makes it's way into the shower so no cold air concerns!




 
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Old 12-03-20, 05:14 PM
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I want to buy a base
Just have to confirm overall size and drain location!
So that should be from stud to stud. I'll need to strip the existing shower 1st then do an accurate measurement. This may cost a lot. Custom basis seem to be $1000 and up.
 
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Old 12-03-20, 06:45 PM
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The Kerdi (or similar) shower bottom is a great way to go as you can tweak where the drain goes. Granted, you'll still need to tile it, but it's a flexible option that you can design a shower in almost any configuration.

The plastic/resin pans are much easier. Some just drop in place with a few roofing nails to hold it. Or some cement or thinset can help level it and ensure it has a solid base. This is the one I installed about a year ago. It was really easy as I didn't want to have to tile the floor. But yeah, you're stuck with a few options in terms of drains.
https://www.amazon.com/DreamLine-Sli.../dp/B00AAS3U54
 
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Old 12-06-20, 03:18 PM
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Update!

I actually started the remodel project. Stripped two walls of the existing shower so far. I promised my wife I would take my time on this and work at my leisure.


Supply piping comes along the right wall

Stair well behind back of shower wall

Notice I only removed the area of shower wall that had tile. I'm thinking that I may not need to remove the upper section. How about after I strip the old wallpaper I coat that area with something like red guard since it's very unlikely to see water that high and it will be tiled up to the ceiling. The new wall sections will be cement board. Then tiled. I'll be lowering that shower head by about 6" to 8" to allow wife or short people a chance to reach it.

Been browsing the Internet for shower faucet systems for ideas. I kind of like the external or surface mount spa systems that have multiple nozzles along with shower head and hand held wand. Came across a brand call PULSE. They look good and have the features we want. And the price is right ($200 to $400 range). But I question what kind of internal plumbing that they use. I think they are using the braided plastic (not even PEX) like in the cheap sink supply lines. That bothers me. It will last maybe 7 to 10 years before they crake and leak. Anybody have any knowledge or opinions about this PULSE brand? I'd rather buy a MOEN, DELTA, PHISTER, or AM STD. But haven't yet looked at what they might have. But I suspect the price may be way up there. But if it's right I'll pay the price. I still plan on replacing the valve set no matter what rout I go. It currently is an old MOEN unit that the cartridge has been replaced once in about 40 years.

So I talked to my local kitchen and bath guy. He helped me when I did my kitchen. He has no problem with selling material and no installation. He even agreed to check my gutted area before I actually buy product. He gave some great ideas about the shower pan. He suggested to go with a standard 60" and most likely my drain can be adjusted (depending on how the joist go). After going home and looking at the total situation wife and I decided a 48" pan will do the job and still gives us a bigger shower without squeezing out bathroom space.

So my main questions today is what do you all think of the surface mount shower spa idea? Any pro or cons? Not replacing the full shower walls (only where old tile will be removed)?
 

Last edited by Norm201; 12-06-20 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 12-06-20, 05:47 PM
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I kind of like the external or surface mount spa systems that have multiple nozzles along with shower head and hand held wand.
Everybody that I know that has installed multi head system eventually relinquished back to the basic head. Too much water, too little hot water capacity, a novel experience, stick to the basics.

Don't short cut the quality, life time guarantee of the shower components you don't want cheap!
 
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Old 12-06-20, 07:04 PM
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Hmm...something to think about.
 
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Old 12-07-20, 02:14 AM
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I will say the hand held attachment is handy, I just spent the weekend cleaning the grout, that's about the only time we ever use that feature!

We had a really nice rain shower head in there but my wife didn't like it (not enough pressure for hair washing) so that came out and just a basic shower head (less the water restriction) so that's our custom setup!
 
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Old 12-07-20, 06:32 AM
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The hand held is a must for us. We seldom use the overhead shower.
Another item I want to avoid is MOEN"s POSI-TEMP feature. I prefer a single handle faucet but goes in both directions, i.e. hot and cold as opposed to starting only in the cold position and then turning towards hot.
 
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Old 12-07-20, 08:51 AM
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When I redid our main shower a couple of years ago we opted for a hand held head only. It has a full volume setting (almost like rain head) and is mounted on a sliding rod bracket for adjustable height.


Adjustable/removable shower head

When the shower was first built it had a fixed head so we mounted the valve on the side near the door to avoid getting wet until the temp came up. This new valve sticks out more and occasionally gets bumped (down) to a cold position. If this was a new install I would mount the valve on the side wall where the head is mounted since the adjustable head can be aimed away to start.
 
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Old 12-07-20, 10:46 AM
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I just got out of the shower where I thought:

Stair well behind back of shower wall
Maybe a good place to work in a bench and deeper-than-stud-depth niche.
 
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Old 12-07-20, 05:13 PM
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Maybe a good place to work in a bench and deeper-than-stud-depth niche.
Actually I did think of that. But wife nixed it. To hard to keep clean and eventually just a place to collect dirt and other things. But I do plan on building in soap and brush cubbies in the wall. I don't want anything protruding out from the wall except maybe a grab bar.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 09:17 AM
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What is the best way to remove this drain from old shower bed? It's glued in. Should I just cut the flange area and lift the whole bed out? Or is there a way I'm not aware of. I'm a little concerned about the trap. It's shallow trap sometimes referred to as a Los Angeles trap.

 
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Old 12-08-20, 10:13 AM
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See the two dark notches part way down in the drain. Insert something into them (think massive screwdriver) and unscrew the top part of the drain. That should leave the rest down below undamaged.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 10:29 AM
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PD, about 25 years ago I replaced this drain. IIRC properly I don't remember any screw on mechanism. Right where you see those notches, below the next step is a heavy fillet of glue. I just bought a rotary saw kit and will begin to cut just below those notches. Then I suppose I will need to cut off the "sleeve" portion that slips over the drain riser.
 

Last edited by Norm201; 12-08-20 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 12-08-20, 11:16 AM
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Let me retract that last post. PD, you appear to be correct. It does screw on. It even says so on the edge not to use oil or any type of grease. But how can I unscrew it. It seems seized on. I tried a rod and hammer on those notched section but it won't budge. Looks like a special tool is need to grip all 4 notches and a long pipe to get enough torque on it.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 11:59 AM
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Drain wrench with nubs that will fit into those grooves?

Drain wrench

Aren't you the hardware store guy?

 
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Old 12-08-20, 12:25 PM
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Yea, I just hope I didn't bugger them up so bad that the wrench wont grab it. Didn't realize that made them for a shower. I have one for the tub. Hopefully Lowes or HD will have it.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 12:49 PM
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I cut a scrap of steel bar to the size (about 2" long) needed to drop in the slots. Then I put a wrench on the scrap of steel and use a second wrench to turn the first. It will be hard to turn. It's a big fitting with a lot of thread touching creating friction. Worst case you can chisel it out but try to preserve the drain piping underneath in case you are able to reuse any of it.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 01:58 PM
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I guess committed to cut this sucker out. I even called a plumbing supply house (IRR) and they have nothing that big to remove the drain. I tried using a sink wrench like this . I was able to jamb it inside in a reverse action. I was actually able to deform the shape of the drain and put so much pressure on it I nearly broke my wrist when it finally slipped.
Here's a better picture of it.


 
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Old 12-08-20, 02:07 PM
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Try some PB Blaster on it. Even though it is plastic that might loosen up any crud on the threads.

Can you print something on the 3D that will mate closely with the slots? Strong enough?
 
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Old 12-08-20, 03:55 PM
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I had to cut it out and finally removed the shower pan.
Well I kind of screwed up a bit. 25 or 30 years ago when I had fix the leak that developed I must have done it from the underside or hallway ceiling below. The part with the nubs is in fact a shower drain coupling glued to the riser from the trap. Under the shower pan is a large hex screw that screws on to the pan drain. There was no way I could've unscrewed it properly without cutting open downstairs celling.
So now I'm stuck with this dilemma. See pic. The glued part of flange coupling is still glued to the riser pipe. I need to get that off in order to install another one. Any possible ideas that I can remove it and still make the riser pipe usable?

 
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Old 12-08-20, 04:57 PM
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Have you confirmed what typ of pan/system your using so you know what the drain connection will be before attempting to removing anything? Worst case you may need to get down there to remove more than just the remnants of that glued on connector!
 
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Old 12-08-20, 05:21 PM
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Possibilities:

Hole saw to match the O.D. of the pipe and a guide plug to center it while cutting.

Slip-in connector for the drain rather than outside coupling.
 
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Old 12-08-20, 05:30 PM
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No not yet. After I gut the are a then we're going look for a new pan. At that point it will be decided what else I may need to do. I'm hoping I don't need to move the drain location. But the joist are running in the right direction to allow for that contingency.
 
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Old 12-11-20, 10:30 AM
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After lots of patience and careful grinding I managed to remove the old shower drain from the riser pipe. I bought a 2" repair coupling to use as test fitting. I was very careful not to nick or grind off any of the pipe riser. And the coupling fits smooth enough and tight enough that I feel confident that the new drain receptacle will be leak proof when glued on. I also found an interesting fitting. They have a shower drain adapter that is slightly offset. That could allow for any minor dimensional error to make nice fit with a new pan. I was not aware of this. It pays to roam around the hardware are of store every so often just to see what's available.
 
 

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