Converting a tub into a shower

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Old 08-20-12, 04:53 PM
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Converting a tub into a shower

Without any introduction here are the pictures of the Tub to be converted:

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This is our spare bathroom. We are planning a major renovation to our main bath and need another shower in our home. It seems like a straightforward job, I've helped some people out with tiling but never done anything on my own. My real concern is the current tile, or actually whats underneath the current tile.

A little backstory; I bought this house almost two months ago. It was a foreclosure that was fixed up by Fannie Mae but sat for at least a year. This bathroom was completely redone. From the looks of certain areas of the home that were fixed, I'm not too confident anything in this bathroom was done the 'right' way.

That being said, I don't really know where to start. Obviously the drywall needs to come down, membrane goes up, backer-board, thin-set, tile, grout. I would really like to leave the tile that is already up since it is relatively new and decent looking. I plan on using the exact same style and size of tile for cost reasons. Since this is a regular tub and not a shower, is it possible there isn't backer-board behind the current tile? If there is backer-board behind the current tile, is there anyway to be sure(without ripping it all out)? And IF there is how difficult will it be to replace the drywall with the cement board, without having any level issues?

Final note; I had a plumber at the house fixing some items and asked him what it would take/cost to install the piping to add a shower. He quoted me at $250, saying that was " a lot cheaper than if I went through the company" since he would be doing it on his own time. First off, is that a good price? Secondly if I'm ripping out all of the drywall around the tub, couldn't he install it from there? He was telling me he would have to cut out drywall from behind the valve( which is in our spare bedroom).

Any valuable information is GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks everyone
 
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Old 08-20-12, 05:13 PM
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I had a plumber at the house fixing some items and asked him what it would take/cost to install the piping to add a shower. He quoted me at $250, saying that was " a lot cheaper than if I went through the company" since he would be doing it on his own time. First off, is that a good price? Secondly if I'm ripping out all of the drywall around the tub, couldn't he install it from there? He was telling me he would have to cut out drywall from behind the valve( which is in our spare bedroom).
That sounds like a very good price for his labor alone. I see no reason he couldn't do it from the tub side, but you'll have to ask him. I assume you kept his card?
 
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Old 08-21-12, 11:53 AM
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Yes, I didn't think the price was that bad either. Just opened up the drywall above the tile a bit and to my displeasure the tile is affixed directly to drywall. Looks like my expenses and labor just went up a bit
 
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Old 08-21-12, 12:06 PM
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$250???? Thats a little low IMO. What exactly is he doing?

To convert that shower the drain will need to be changed from 1 1/2" to 2". Thats all the way to the 3" main or toilet vent if thats where it ties in.

Next you have the window to contend with. It would need to be tiled and sealed well or you will have issues.

Now are you just adding a shower or removing the tub and installing a walk in shower? Thats where the 2" line comes in.

Usually bathrooms with a tub only like that have a separate stand up shower....?
 
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Old 08-21-12, 12:07 PM
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I've lived in very few places with a shower including my current home of 35 years which has no shower. Why can't you take a bath in a tub? Just curious. I grew up taking baths in tubs and have never really understood the need for showers.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 11:41 PM
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lawrosa-

I read your post about the drain size needing to be enlarged for the shower and was shocked. I find it hard to believe the current low-flow shower heads put out more water than my faucet in the current tub. I understand this is to code, however.

In order to save a bit of money, I want to have a go at it myself. I also have a buddy that has some experience in plumbing, but is no master plumber by any means.


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What I'm currently wondering is; how do I go about adding this line shower line. The mixing valve that is currently installed has a threaded top that is capped. Can I remove this cap and install some sort of galvanized to PEX adapter and use PEX for the line? I don't know much about plumbing, so if I'm way off, please let me know which material for my situation is best. Would I need an entirely new mixing valve?

Also, when it comes to the window, what would be the best method for waterproofing? Would membrane, cement board, redgard, and tile suffice? Any tips or tricks?

As for bathing, I love it...... occasionally.

Thanks
 
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Old 08-26-12, 05:10 AM
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From a carpenter's standpoint, and I don't like plumbing, so there. Mike, since a tub/shower comes fitted with a 1 1/2" drain, why couldn't the OP add a shower head from the existing mixing valve and a diverter spout? The only thing else I would do to keep from having to redo the entire shower enclosure is install a "halo" curtain. that will take care of all overspray into the window and onto that ledge behind. Just trying to save some money here.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 05:26 AM
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Mike, since a tub/shower comes fitted with a 1 1/2" drain, why couldn't the OP add a shower head from the existing mixing valve and a diverter spout?

Now are you just adding a shower or removing the tub and installing a walk in shower? Thats where the 2" line comes in.


I thought he was removing the tub. I guess not.

Can I remove this cap and install some sort of galvanized to PEX adapter and use PEX for the line?
Sure, pex, copper, what ever you want.


I would do something about the flex lines in the wall IMO. If it were myself I would also convert the steel pipes to copper or pex while the wall is open.


Once you add the shower line you will need a spout diverter.








 
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Old 08-26-12, 10:19 AM
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I thought about that option, Chandler, But I decided to make it a bit more permanent. I also want to practice laying tile for when I do my master shower.

lawrosa, What would you replace it with, and why? If it's worth it, I'll absolutely do it.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-26-12, 10:28 AM
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lawrosa, What would you replace it with, and why? If it's worth it, I'll absolutely do it.


Are you talking about the water lines?

I would replace the hot and cold lines coming up through the floor. If they go all the way to the basement replace then from there and convert to copper or pex.

Here is a vid showing galv piping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD0JhgDqFLk&feature=player_embedded#!
 
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Old 08-26-12, 10:40 AM
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They go down into the crawlspace. How far back would you replace? Is it as simple as cutting the old galvanized section with a saw and connecting the existing galvanized with a galv. to PEX adapter and making all of the proper turns and angles? Are there any advantages to copper over PEX? I've heard PEX is easier to work with.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 10:49 AM
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I like pex. You need special tools to use though. But one you buy it you will always have it.

You need to find a joint on the galv pipe with clean threads. You would need to unthread it. That will be the difficult part.

If you do then thread in a brass pex adapt then go from there.

You best take some pics of the area of pipe you describe. You can get yourself in trouble easy if you break a connection at lets say a tee.

Then you would need to take the pipe back even further.


If you have it in you I always recommend a total house re-pipe. From the main to all the fixtures.

Its a lot of work and if you never done it before it could be challenging. lso the thought of not having water for several days. Or longer if you mess up some.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 11:12 AM
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What tools specifically? I'll absolutely be getting a ton of advice from this site and friends with experience before I think of doing ANYTHING! I think for now I'd just try and tackle this shower. Then My master shower, and if I become comfortable down there maybe I'll make it a weekend project( probably many weekends, doing one section at a time).

Thanks for all the advice lawrosa... I really appreciate it!
 
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Old 08-26-12, 11:36 AM
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To do it right, and I assume you are leaving the tub and ledge. If not we can modify it. All the sheetrock from the edge of the tub to the ceiling and inside the window return, and including the ledge will need to come down...tile and all. What you will have left is a nekkid tub with stud walls and a framed out window and ledge. Since it is an outside wall, insulate it (preferred, Roxul) and put 6 mil vapor barrier over it all. Then install your cbu. You can tilt your cbu in your window ledge and on top of your shampoo ledge now using shims turned backwards. Then redgard after you tape and finish your joints. Determine a level line above your tub lip that will allow full tiles to rest about 1/8" or so above the tub rim. Install a 1x4 along that line and start tiling up the wall, over the shampoo ledge, etc. Make the horizontal plane of the ledge and the window ledge last, since they will be tilted slightly. Install and trim the lower tiles and install them. Others may have different ways of doing it, so wait for their responses, too.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 08:07 PM
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How much of an angle do I want on the ledge of the window and the shampoo ledge? Also, I've never dry walled before. I've heard that I want to cut the existing drywall flush to the stud, then attach a 2x4 to the stud where the drywall was cut flush against. From there I can cut and attach the backer-board. How do I go about connecting/mudding the two? Fiberglass mesh used for cement board?
 
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