correct way to fix water problem with 3-piece tub surround

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Old 04-11-11, 08:17 PM
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correct way to fix water problem with 3-piece tub surround

A contractor installed a new bathtub and 3-pice tub surround about 5 yrs ago. used greenboard on the wall but never installed any moisture barrier (enamel paint or anything that'd prevent water from wicking up the greenboard). never caulked where the tub flange butts up against the greenboard. recently found mold and wet greenboard behind the surround's biggest panel...water got through caulking at the bottom where the wall panel and the tub edge meet.

in addition to replacing the greenboard and caulking where the greenboard meets the tub flange, what do I install to prevent any water from coming in contact with the greenboard? Does the greenboard and this water barrier need to be inside the tub flange? only have about 1/4 inch ledge on the center of the long side of the tub. read through the forums and my other home repair books but haven't found my answers yet.
 
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Old 04-12-11, 10:37 AM
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I would first replace the greenboard with a cement board like a Hardi backer board. Greenboard is OK for high humidity but not for water penetration potential areas. The backer board should sit just above the flange on the tub about 1/8 to 1/4 away from it. Silicone caulk the remaining gap between the edge of the board and the tub flange. Bring the surround panels down to the inside of the tub and caulk with a mold resistant caulking designed for tubs with showers.
 
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Old 04-13-11, 04:22 PM
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never worked with cement board (like Hardibacker) before. just finished reading about its installation, etc, esp for walls. I understand that using Hardibacker board for floors and countertops requires a lot more work (as in putting a bed of thinset down between the plywood flooring and the Hardibacker board). For my bathroom wall, other than needing thinset mortar & 2" alkali-resistant tape and 1 1/4" roofing nails, what should I use for the recommended vapor barrier behind the cement board?

will there be any problem re-gluing (liquid nails) the tub surround panels to the Hardibacker board?

just trying to do it right...the second time!
 
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Old 04-14-11, 10:36 AM
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There are different choices for a backer board, but the hardi product is easy to cut and use. It will absorb water as any cement product will but will not deteriorate like drywall. There are products out there that you can completely water seal the backer board with if you want. Some are membranes that are thinset over the backer like the kerdi product and there is one that is of a water consistency that is painted on, but likely not as effective though I could be wrong. If you decide to seal the backer board on the inside you do not want to have a further moisture barrier. If you decide to do things the way that many have done in the past, just use 6mil poly behind the board. Some tiles are better for tubsurrounds than others as they are less porus, and some are designed like granite and marble to have very thin grout lines that further reduces water penetration opportunity.
 
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Old 04-14-11, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the straightforward answers! I'm planning on tackling this rebuild next weekend> I'll let you know how things turn out.
 
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Old 04-14-11, 06:58 PM
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The bst way is to use a nail on surround not a stuck on one. Nothing goes on the wall, the enclosher is nailed directly to the studs. There 3 times thicker and far more water proof.
Use paper less sheetrock not green board at the top and front sides of the enclosher.
 
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