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06-04-2012, 02:36 PM
Hi guys I'm new to the forum and was hoping to get some expert advice/tips on a bathroom remodel I'm going to take on. I have a few questions I was hoping you guys can advise me on or point me in the right direction to research more before I get started.

My background- basically a weekend project guy that is pretty handle with tools and can use my head. Most of my tile and bathroom experience though has been helping others with their own projects.

Project background- small bathroom full remodel in a 7 story condo on the top floor. Plan to remove current tile floor and old cast iron pink tub along with wall tile that goes halfway up the wall (2/3 the wall around the tub). Plan to replace and retile the floor and install a walkin shower using the schluter 30x60 off center shower kit. Also floor to ceiling tile in the new shower with a sidebar shower head on one side and an overhead rain shower.

Question 1. Ill start with the flooring because it's probably the easiest to answer. I need to put down cork board due to condo soundproofing rules. Currently it is a cement floor, with laminate, then cork, then tile. Once I remove the current tile and cork what do i apply to the laminate to adhear the new cork to it? Then do I use a basic modified thinset over the cork to adhear the tile to that? Note I haven't chosen the tile yet but I'm leaning towards some 8x20 rectified ceramic tile.

Question 2- pertains to tiling the shower. The walls are both block and poured concrete so I would like to put up a smooth surface ontop of them such as green board, or hardibacker. My reason for this is because as I said the current tile goes 2/3 up the wall and then it is some kind of plaster or stucco. I'm trying to avoid having to perfectly chisel this stuff off. What would you reccomend to use and how to anchor the green board or hardi backer to the walls? Liquid nails and tapcons?

Thank you guys for any help you can provide. Sorry for any errors I'm typing on a phone right now due to a down Internet.

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06-04-2012, 05:00 PM
1.Don't install tile over laminate.Go down to te concrete,then cork glue,cork,then modified thinse,then tile.NTCA requires 1/2" cork and epoxy grout.
2.I would mud the walls out to meet the current finish,remove any paint,and then use Ditra.

06-04-2012, 05:37 PM
Dave thank you for the reply. I found it odd myself that they put the cork and tile over laminate. Only reason I can think of other than being lazy is the Place was built in the 50s I think which may have asbestos in the laminate (at least that is what someone told me) However there is a chance it is just painted concrete like you see in a gargage. I can only see a small spot of it where they didn't tile by the water heater. I guess I'll know once I pull the tile.

As for mudding the walls, I thought of that but what would I do outside the shower where I'm not tiling. I don't want to leave that plaster/stucco junk up? Suggestions?

Houston Remodeler
06-04-2012, 05:39 PM
Asbestos tiles were usually 9" squares.

You can chip up asbestos tiles without fear as long as the pieces don't get airborne as a fine dust. Chipping hammers and laminate removal tools work well.

06-04-2012, 05:45 PM
Paul I was talking about the "laminate" having asbestos not the tile. The current tile is only maybe 10 years old. Or did you mean the laminate came in 9in tiles?

Houston Remodeler
06-04-2012, 06:00 PM
The advice hold the same if the laminate is suspect of having asbestos. Chip it off the floor and get back to the slab.

I added the bit of the 9" tiles for the 7 lurkers we have for each poster.

06-04-2012, 06:10 PM
Thank you Paul. I'll be back in a few days with more questions. Do you have any suggestion for evening out the wall for paint and tile?

Houston Remodeler
06-04-2012, 06:41 PM
GB isn't good for anything excpet emptying your wallet IMHO. CBU requires mechanical fasteners. You'll fare better with Kerdi board which can be held in place with goobers of thinset. Check out the Kerdi board videos on the schluter web site.

06-04-2012, 07:10 PM
Yeah I looked into the Kerdi board but I need to paint part of the wall. I can't do that with Kerdi. Ill try to take some pictures to show you what I mean. Basically my walls are about 88 inches high. From the floor up to about 36 inches it is tile which sticks out of the wall about 3/4 to an inch. Above that is some type of plaster/stucco stuff which I'm trying to do away with. I figured it would be easiest to fasten something over that so I can paint it smooth with new tile or wainscot From the floor up to about 36in high.

Houston Remodeler
06-04-2012, 07:18 PM
yep, pics will help

06-05-2012, 10:00 AM
As mentioned in a differnt thread Im about to start redoing my bathroom. I obviously understand that each city, state, country are different but I have some basic questions. Basically Im removing a tub, rasing the fixtures, swapping out the drain to 2in, and installing the schluter shower system. Plus tile in shower and on bathroom floor. Does this whole project need a permit? Or is it just the plumbing part? Also I plan to have a plumber do that part so is it him that pulls the permit or me? I tried to answer these question myself at our city website but I don't think Ive ever been more confused in my life from looking at that and have no idea where to begin. Can any of you pros point me in the right direction. Also Im in South Florida if that helps anybody answer anything.

06-05-2012, 10:08 AM
Greg, it'll help if you'll keep all the project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

Permitting on remodel projects varies from requiring no permit at all for any of it to one place I've worked that required a permit for "anything other than painting the interior of the house."

I recommend you visit your local code compliance office and tell them the scope of your intended project and determine what permits are required and who is required to "pull" them.

As a general rule, the owner of the property is liable for the permitting and can generally apply for any permit required. It is also common, and usually allowed, for the licensed mechanical contractors (plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc) to pull their own permits.

But the only way to really know is to ask. If in doubt about whom to ask, start with the office of your city engineer.

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-05-2012, 10:42 AM
Thank you cx. I'll keep everything in this thread from now on.

06-05-2012, 11:18 AM
Alright guys now I got a major problem here. Got intouch with my local building department to ask about permits. The lady asked me who my GC was and I said I dont have one. I plan to do the work myself except for hiring a plumber to move up the shower controls. She told me I cant do that! I said what do you mean? "I need to do all the work myself?" She said "NO YOU CANT DO ANY OF THE WORK, YOU NEED A GENERAL CONTRACTOR TO DO ALL THE WORK"

Basically this just completely shuts down anything I wanted to do. The worst part about it is down here in South Florida they're some of the WORST contractors in the country (no knock on anybody here). At least if I did it I would talk my time and pay attention to detail (and have the common sense to hire a professional when needed) UGH!!!! Anybody know anyways to go about this?

This is exactly why people don't pull permits

06-05-2012, 12:37 PM
Greg, I don't see any information in your User Profile indicating your geographic location, but I've heard of only a few (one?) places where our visitors were told they, as property owners, were not permitted to do their own remodeling work.

And if true, I have no idea how those code compliance jurisdictions could possibly hope to enforce such a restriction. If I had been told such a thing at my compliance jurisdiction office, I'd be on the phone with my local representative, whatever y'all might call'em there, in something under a New York minute.

Now, it is very common for the homeowner not to be allowed to act as contractor for such work, but anywhere I've ever worked the homeowner was certainly allowed to actually do the work himself. If permits were required, he would need to obtain the permit and to pass all required inspections, but he couldn't be prohibited from actually performing the work.

I'm sure we'll hear from folks in other states and local jurisdictions saying they've encountered what you're up against and maybe they can give you better answers, but I'd be starting up the chain of command locally before that first conversation had officially ended.

But add some information to your User Profile so folks can see where you are and maybe be better able to advise you. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-05-2012, 01:18 PM
I'm 99% sure you'll find out that the person you were talking to was incorrect. Maybe she didn't realize you were the property owner working on your own house. I just wanted to add that in most places you want to have the plumber pull her own permit. That way she's got her name on it and is responsible for performing the work to code. If your name is on the permit it's your problem.

06-05-2012, 01:25 PM
CX thanks again for the reply. I changed my profile to edit my location and will add more to it later (Fort Lauderdale Florida by the way). Before I saw your post I actually called them back to ask again so I could make sure I understood them the first time. Funny thing is the lady began to get uspet with me saying "what part of not being allowed to perform your own work and needing a contractor to do it dont you understand?" All I could do was laugh and say "every single part of that. I have never in my life heard of a homeowner not being allowed to do their own work". Im gonna call back tomorrow and try to get someone else on the phone. Ill try to get intouch with inspectors directly this time.

On a side note, how does it work when you hire someone to act as the GC but do the work yourself like you just mentioned (I have a feeling this HAS to be the case). What exactly are you hiring them to do other than put their name on the permit?

06-05-2012, 01:30 PM
WOW Wendy thanks for that tidbit!!! I thought I need to pull the permit for the plumbing and the plumber was still responsible. Very good to know. This is the stuff that makes this place great plus you all are very helpful and patient. As for the person at the building office, she was well aware it was my own place. That part was made VERY CLEAR to her.

06-06-2012, 12:48 PM
Alright guys I'll be back in business soon. Im currently working with a girl's husband who I know and he is going to help me out with all the permit issues. However, I am really stuck on something I am trying to plan out.

As mentioned the bathroom is small (5x9), all the walls are either cider block or pored concrete. No drywall, no cement board, just tile half way up the walls tiled directly to the concrete or cinder block and above the tile and on the ceiling some form of plaster that is not smooth at all.

I want a smooth finish through the bathroom so I can tile part of it an paint the rest.

Option 1-Someone mentioned to just mud the walls but can that be painted then? Will it be smooth? Can I skim coat mud with drywall plaster then sand it for a smooth finish?

Option 2 is to add hardibacker 1/2in or green board 1/2in directly to the concrete or cinder blocks. I dont have the room to add furring strips to the walls then the hardibacker or green board. Can Hardibacker or green board be attached directly to the cinder block and concrete? I would assume I can just skim coat the walls with thinset and then stick the hardi directly to the thinset like you would do with a floor correct? Maybe add a few tapcons to prevent it from coming loose. What type of thinset? modified or unmodified? I would assume unmodified. I assume in the shower area I can apply the kerdi directly to the block with the thinset. However, I have some reservations about planning to do this considering I dont know how smooth I can get the walls with that plaster junk on it above the current tile. That can become a major issue once I start tiling.

thoughts anybody or any other solution? (I know this is mainly a tile forum sorry for these types of questions but I would assume you guys run into stuff like this)

06-07-2012, 11:11 AM
BUMP this super old thread. I got the SAME issue. Cinder block walls, no room to fur out the walls, shower will be tiled but the rest of the bathroom will be painted. Plaster over the concrete that will not come off clean enough to probably be smooth and even.

06-07-2012, 11:26 AM
Greg, posting identical questions in more than one place usually results in confusion and duplication of effort on the part of our all-volunteer army of help here. If you don't think you're getting a timely response to your questions, just make another post to your thread to bump it to the top of the queue for attention. :)

You can re-plaster your CMU walls with fat mud (wall mud) if you like and tile directly to that. It's not generally considered a DIY sorta procedure, but there's no reason a reasonably talented DIYer can't learn to do it. May take more than one try, though.

Once well cured, you can skim coat the mud with dry-wall mud to make a smooth, paintable surface if you want.

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-07-2012, 01:16 PM
Once again sorry about that it won't happen again. Why is it frowned upon to just skim coat the walls with mortar and attach 1/4 in hardibacker? I think in my early post I said 1/2 in but I meant 1/4. Will hardibacker not stick to the mortar? It works on floors so why not the wall? Gravity?

06-07-2012, 01:43 PM
If you can get James Hardi to tell you (in writing) that you can do that, I'll certainly stop saying you can't. But not until. :)

And that's not the way HardiBacker is installed on floors. Yes, you use thinset mortar under the HardiBacker, but not to adhere it to the floor. The mortar is to fill any possible voids and provide a 100 percent footprint for the panels, they're attached with mechanical fasteners. The fasteners hold it down; the mortar holds it up.

But, as with all the other recommendation we make here, it's your house and your tile and your dinero and you can try any installation method you think will work for you. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-07-2012, 02:07 PM
Thank you cx. I just always like to know why something will or won't work. Probably why my DIY projects tend to work out. I like as much info as possible before doing something and I did not know that info about the thinnest on the floor. Thanks. As for mudding the walls I have two questions

1. Since the walls are concrete and cinder block I still need to put up mesh correct? Just not the tar paper ( since I'll be using Kerdi later). If this is correct what type of fastener do I use to anchor the mesh to the concrete?

2. How thin can the mudd thickness be? I'm assuming 1/2 in is standard but can it be only 1/4inch or will that be too thin and not stable?

I guess that is technically 3 questions though. Sorry

Richard Tunison
06-07-2012, 02:34 PM
Hi Greg.
Can you please post some pictures of your project. It will help us to respond accordingly.

I grew up in Broward Co. What area is your condo in? Just curious. Seven story, I'm guessing along the New River.

06-07-2012, 03:19 PM
Im going to post some this weekend Richard. My computer is down right now and Im using my Iphone (which apparently you cant upload pics from). Area is down towards the beach.

06-08-2012, 07:36 AM
I, too, am renovating a smallish bathroom in a condo (7X9). Based on what I've learned so far, I am acting like an expediter to arrange for a GC to handle most of the work. I did the demo and will do the vanity/sink install and finish work.

The biggest thing I've had to deal with is the HOA. They know what we're doing since they paid for removing and replacing the subfloor, so the more I can play by the rules, the more leverage and flexibility I have in doing what I want on the project. Make sense? I've found the boundaries according to the bylaws of the HOA and am working inside of them. And, yes, my GC is taking care of the permitting issues.:tup2:

Plus, we still have the satisfaction of doing the demo (everyone in the family got in a few whacks with the sledge!), selecting and purchasing materials (which cuts way down on costs), designing the layout, and finally finishing it out.

Check out my thread: