Bathroom Shower Surround Level/Plumb Issue [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-24-2019, 04:48 PM
Long-time lurker, first time poster. This site has been a great resource and never had to post to find good answers/discussion ;)

I am re-tiling a standard 3'x5'ish tub surround for my in-laws after their tile contractor bailed after removing existing tile/drywall. Planning on 1/2" Durock, AquaDefense waterproofing, mapei ultraflex lht thinset.

With sistering, shimming, and planing, I've gotten the side & back walls flat/plumb/square/level.

The front wall framing seems have a twist/curve along both axis. Other side of wall is a laundry room, closet, and another bathroom. If I sister new 2x4s to make it plumb/level/square, the tile will come too far out over the tub. It will also create transition problems. I know I should redo the entire length but trying to avoid that if possible.

I can get the wall flat & co-planar to within 1/4". I would like to screed/skimcoat 1/8" on either side of the wall twist. Would doing this be stable/reliable? If so, would it be better to use thinset/fat mud/wall float/other?

Appreciate the feedback.

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06-24-2019, 09:11 PM
Welcome, Jeff. :)

I'm confused on your terminology a bit, both before and after your edits. Usually in a tub surround, I would call the wall running the length of the tub the back wall, with the other two walls being called end walls, the one with the plumbing fixtures referred to as the plumbing wall.

You say the side and back walls are plumb, square and flat (you can't have a level wall unless it's part of your floor, eh? :)) I'm guessing that would be what I'd call the back, or longest, wall and one of the tub end walls, yes?

And your only problem is with the other end wall, yes? And this would be the end wall that does not contain the plumbing for the shower? (Sorry, I can't envision a "front" wall in a tub surround application.)

If that's the case, and if you have access to the other side of that wall to make your framing adjustments, I'd wanna do that. There are lots of options to address a change in plane in the bathroom wall if the tub area needs to be in a different plane due to framing adjustments. I can't really tell what you're up against by your description. Perhaps someone else will.

As for your question about repairing your wall by coating it with something 1/8th-inch thick, I suppose it would be possible, but you're not gonna find it at all simple to do. There are a number of cementitious patching materials out there that might fit the bill, but thinset mortar or fat mud are not among them. Every manufacturer of tile setting products makes at least one such patching material, and your local home center will have others in the concrete products area.

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-25-2019, 10:37 AM
Fair enough, sorry for making this confusing.

The long wall & non-plumbing end wall are flat, plumb, square.

The plumbing wall is the issue. At the header, it projects towards the tub ~.75"; but 8" down the wall it is ~1" away from the tub. The wall is also out of square and has "twist" along the middle instead of a "wave".

If I sister studs to make it plumb/square, the finished wall will project past the tub deck.

I face planed & edge jointed the studs for sistering before doing anything else so it may be user error but not a lumber issue...

I can get the wall coplanar horizontally but not square.

Vertically, I cannot get it plumb but I can get within 1/8-1/4" of coplanar with a hump. Not sure if I could skimcoat either side of the hump and then go a little thick with thinset mortar to address this?

No access to the framing from the other side without tearing out walls in three areas - bathroom, laundry, and closet. Laundry and other bath are tiled. The other side is a mess. They added new studs on face from header to footer in the stud gaps rather than sistering on edge with the studs.

I'll get some pics next time I go over and diagram on those.

06-25-2019, 12:51 PM
If you're afraid that sistering studs would result in too much protrusion, have you considered using a planer to shave them down some in spots? It'll still be difficult to do but would avoid the protrusion problem. Also, wet shimming, while not a common method, is an option for getting a plumb and flat surface. Schluter as well as Sal DiBlasi have good videos on wet shimming posted on youtube. If I ever had to wet shim, I'd probably use something like Kerdiboard and not cement backers.