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CommanderCut 09-15-2020 02:32 PM

Bathroom Renovation Questions
5 Attachment(s)
Good day!

I am a first time DIY'er. I am running into several problems and am looking for help. My wife likes to "shoot first, ask questions later," meaning that sometimes things get done/purchased quickly, but without as much forethought as I would like. I am the opposite, and I get paralyzed trying to research the perfect solution to every problem, then don't get anything done... What a team!

So here I have my tub (Bootz Aloha, porcelain on steel) installed, and although it was a very tight squeeze getting it in there, it seems that I needed a couple of shims once I went to screw in the washers to hold the tub in place. Unfortunately, this makes the whole assembly a bit thick and now the walls have this "bolster" at the level of the tub flange, meaning the concrete board won't hang right (I think).

Attachment 215350
Attachment 215351

I want to install the hardie board down to 1/4" above the top of the tub flange. But the shims/washer get in the way of installing the concrete board, leaving a huge gap between the tub flange and concrete board (see schematic 1). So that doesn't work.

Attachment 215352

If I go over the shims with the concrete board, I am concerned that my shim-job+washers (0.47" thick) will make the concrete board lean out too far from the wall, causing the concrete board to not be vertical for the incoming tile job AND not line up with the drywall nicely on the non-drain end (see schematic 2). Perhaps I over-shimmed and can take one out on the ones with two shims. But is it ok for the concrete board from stud to tub to not be perfectly vertical? Even one shim will cause it to lean slightly, right?

Attachment 215353

Is the only solution to add furring strips to the walls (from tub to ceiling) so that the concrete board remains vertical and goes OVER the shims/washers (schematic 3)? This will again cause the concrete board to not be flush with the drywall on the right side of the tub near the window, but I read in another post that can be fixed with pencil tile trim.

Attachment 215355

Bootz online install instructions don't recommend drilling the holes through the tub, which could avoid the entire problem by hiding the shims at/below the tub flange, but that doesn't seem an option either.

So my questions are:
1)does the concrete board need to be perfectly vertical when installing or is a slight bow permitted?
2) But more importantly: Am I best served by furring out the studs on the two short ends of the tub and installing the concrete on those? Or is there a better solution that is obvious and I haven't seen yet.

FWIW, my wife purchased 20"x20" porcelain tiles for the floors/walls. She has a bucket of redguard and a couple of mesh tapes, so I assume that is how she is planning on waterproofing. I am sure that I will have (many) more questions then!

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to help! We have our work cut out for us...

cx 09-15-2020 03:45 PM

Welcome, Pete. :)

1. Yes. No.

2. Yes. Not really.

Schematic #3 is really what you want to do, except you want the CBU to continue down over the flange to within 1/8th" to 1/4" from the tub. And while shimming you want to make the studs as perfectly plumb and in-plane as you possibly can. You're gonna want a very, very, very flat substrate for those large format tiles. I recommend rips of plywood of the correct thickness(es) for such shimming.

It is difficult to properly waterproof the joint between wall and tub where the flange ends near the front. The tile industry has long encouraged the tub manufacturers to do better, but you see the result in what you've purchased.

It's possible to do a fair job using an appropriate fabric with a liquid-applied waterproofing membrane, but much care is needed to make that work.

Do be sure you extend your CBU walls three inches or so beyond the front of the tub for your tiled "tub leg" and be sure Mrs. Pete continues her waterproofing over that area. That's usually the first point of failure of such installations.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc 09-15-2020 08:31 PM

Can you shove the tub all the way over to the window wall on the right? If so, you might have a fighting chance at getting that wall to flush out with the drywall.

For the other two walls, at least, you should fur out the studs so the come out past the tub, and vertical, and flat. You should put a straight edge on the studs to make sure they are flat with each other. No bulges or dips.

Also, it looks like you have a seam in the middle of a stud bay? If so, that's not good.

CommanderCut 09-15-2020 09:21 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Thank you for the prompt reply, CX and Mr. Upton. I really appreciate the advice. I made my way off to the hardware store to get some plywood. My neighbor has a planar and a table saw, so I can cut them to the appropriate thicknesses for furring out the wall I think.

I did as you suggested, Mr. Upton, and pushed the tub all the way to the right, which is the exterior wall. I probably did over-shim it a little bit on the first go around, but I managed to avoid having to use shims on that wall this time around.

As for the studs - I don't know what is normal, but these seem a bit... off. There was one missing in the middle - I think the prior builders planned on putting a niche in there, then gave up on it and just left the stud out. There were dangling nails where it should have been <shrug>. So I put a new stud in. It's not perfect - this being my first attempt, and it comes out maybe 1/8" more than the others. Should I replace this and try again? The other studs in the back are far from flat - some have dips - particularly the ones at the corners along the long edge. Not huge dips - but I did place a single shim there. I did not know that I couldn't put a seam there (in the stud bay), so I will take those down and fix that. Thanks for the tip!

Of course, because I pushed the tub towards the back of the tub, the gap on the front of the tub is now larger, up to 0.71" on one of the studs. But no problem - I will add the plywood furring as you suggested.

CX - you said 3" tub leg. On the exterior wall side - there is a window, and I have removed the drywall up to the vertical edge of the window. No idea what I am doing, but that seemed like a good place to stop (for aesthetic reasons, I suppose). It is only 2.15" from tub edge to that imaginary vertical line (that follows the edge of the window). Should I continue this to 3"?

Attachment 215361
Attachment 215359

The other side is up against a wall with a drywall corner (removed due to rust damage) and is 3.22" - so that side should be ok, I guess?

Attachment 215360

So, over the next few days, I will:
1) take down all the hardibacker that I incorrectly put up (all of it)
2) fur out the edges on the drain side of the tub.
3) stud replacement...?
4) Do more reading on how to waterproof that joint between the front tub flange and the wall. I see in your prior responses that you have answered this question numerous times. I will refer to your answers there.

For ease of your reponses, I numbered the questions here:
1) On the window side, should I continue the drywall removal up to 3" which will take it 0.85" around the window (over/under the window) to get a 3" tub leg on that side? Or should I stop at the imaginary line with the window where it is now (2.15")? I am happy to continue the demo to where it needs to go. Seems the only thing I'm decent at so far...

2) Should I be replacing all these studs? sigh...

Thanks for the quick responses and helpful advice. One step forward equals two steps back at the moment.

cx 09-15-2020 10:13 PM

1. I'd try to run my CBU and waterproofing right up to the window casing on that end, Pete, and make the tub leg width below the window the same width as the tub leg on the other end of the tub for symmetry. The lower portions (height of tub) are the most critical for waterproofing. That's where you usually start seeing paint blister and drywall soften when not properly waterproofed.

2. Can't say. What you've gotta do is bring the faces of all the studs into plane with one another. Planing, shimming, sistering, replacing, whatever it takes.

Keep in mind the tile industry recommendation for substrate flatness for tiles with any edge longer than 15 inches is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in ten feet nor 1/16th" in two feet. And for those 20" tiles you'll be happy to have your substrate every bit as flat as that.

Numbering your questions makes life easier on this end. Thanks.

My opinion; worth price charged.

CommanderCut 09-16-2020 06:13 PM

Got it. Well, I have my work cut out for me. Work was busy today, but I will be back with an update Friday after I fix the studs!

I'll do as you said and bring the tub leg out to 3 inches on the bottom on the window side.

Thanks for the advice.

ss3964spd 09-18-2020 06:25 AM

After you moved the tub all the way to one end to close that gap, does your tub drain still line up, Pete? If not, are you able to access it from underneath to move it?

Also, you closed the gap at one end, but opened it at the other. How wide is it now?

CommanderCut 09-18-2020 02:01 PM

The tub drain is one of those adjustable do-hickeys from the big box store, so I think that will be alright. I have access to the tub drain from behind that wall on the left through the closet there to make adjustments.

The gap on the left/drain side of the tub is now 0.71" on the most inside stud and 0.44" on the stud closest to the outside of the tub. I am sure this will change again with the upcoming stud-work I am about to do.

I have had a busy couple of days at work, so haven't gotten anything done in a couple of days. But tonight, I am planning on pulling the tub back out and checking all of these old studs to make sure they are in a plane, especially because of the large format tiles my wife purchased. I know that at least the stud that I placed isn't, so I will need to take the stringer down again and fix that at the very least. I anticipate having to probably fix several of them, as CX suggested.

My wife did offer to purchase a smaller format tile for the walls, and we might pursue that route. We haven't decided on that yet. Currently at this point, I am just trying to get the tub and concrete walls up.

I assume that the concrete boards are no good once you take the screws out, and cannot be used again. Is that correct?

cx 09-18-2020 02:11 PM

If you've not damaged your CBU other than some screw holes, Pete, I wouldn't hesitate to install them again. Put your fasteners somewhere other than the old holes, though.

My opinion; worth price charged.

jadnashua 09-18-2020 02:23 PM

What does the tub have on the bottom of it? When setting the tub, you want to ensure that the rim is level all the way around AND, unless the bottom of the tub has something applied to it already, you want to fill any gaps underneath it to ensure it is well supported. Otherwise, when standing in the tub, that porcelain on steel tub will flex, the finish will craze, and it will eventually start to rust.

Some people use some mortar mix placed in piles underneath the tub, then when setting it in place, carefully level it. The piles give it some room to spread out as you press the tub in place. It helps to put a layer of plastic underneath to help prevent the wood from sucking moisture out of your mortar.

Don't muck around in the tub until the mortar has an opportunity to cure - give it at least overnight.

Porcelain on steel tubs aren't known for their long-term durability...drop anything onto the surface, and you may crack the finish, letting water get to the steel beneath that will then rust.

CommanderCut 09-18-2020 02:39 PM

The tub. O the tub! It was a "shoot first, question later" purchase from my wife. Bootz Aloha, porcelain on steel. The bottom of the tub has a Styrofoam base.

I used Henry 549 to level the floor prior to installing the tub. I followed the youtube video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoB3ziqk0oI

He does the floor leveling at 6 min 25 seconds if you want to fast forward it. I decided to do it this way because I was afraid I would have to pull the tub out later to fix some mistake (which I have now officially made), so I didn't want to concrete it in place. I made the floor level in the areas where the Styrofoam base sits, and I think it actually came out alright. It is level and pretty flat and the tub drain fit well. The styrofoam base doesn't squeak or squeal (you know what I mean? like when it shifts?) when i stand in the different parts of the tub.

I have heard that the porcelain on steel tubs are really not great, and I wasn't terribly pleased when i read about what she had brought home, but I will work what is here I suppose. Is it worth eating the $155 (the cost of the Bootz Aloha) to get a new/different material tub? It may be a hard sell, as that tub is not returnable at this point.

jadnashua 09-18-2020 03:10 PM

The tub can last, but that is less likely if you're not really careful. Porcelain on cast iron works because the CI is really strong and stable. But, even that can get chipped if you drop something hard on it. Plumber's that I have talked with put that type of tub at the bottom of their list, with CI at the top, then maybe acrylic, or maybe Americast, then fiberglass, then porcelain on steel.

SOrt of depends on how long you plan to be there. A little chip in the paint around the drain or overflow can result in rust, as will damaging the finish anywhere else on it.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc 09-19-2020 02:30 PM

For flattening your walls, you can use a planer to trim down the high spots and you can fur out the studs that are really far back and use these drywall shims to fine tune things.

You'll have to fur out the whole plumbing wall and then put corner metal on the outside of it.

One thing to keep in mind is that by furring out the plumbing wall your plumbing fixture is probably too far back in the wall now. I don't know if you were planning on changing that, or not. Some of them they make extensions for but not sure what you have.

CommanderCut 09-20-2020 01:01 AM

Got the planar and some furring strips! Giving it a go in the morning.

CommanderCut 09-24-2020 08:51 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Well, some more progress (hopefully forward progress this time).

Here is where I am at:

Using a planer mostly, and an oscillating multitool/sander for places the planer couldn't reach, I got all the studs in plane. Seems things aren't perfectly square with the alcove - the plumbing wall comes out toward the tub by 4 mm at the near corner of the tub, but not so at the ceiling I guess? The middle stud in the plumbing wall was much farther out than the other two due to some bowing, but i got it in plane with the other two studs as you can see in the pictures below. I used furring strips (2x1x8) to bring out that wall 0.75" which is just at the tub flange, slightly over it on the near side, maybe a mm. I still need to fix the tub to those strips there.

Attachment 215458Attachment 215459Attachment 215460

I also demo'd out the exterior wall to allow for 3" tub leg as CX recommended, installed two sheets of concrete board on the back wall, and had to get a q-tip shoved so far into my nose that it tickled my brain (COVID negative though, so that's a win).

While all this was going on - I discovered a few things. I think there is water damage around where the toilet was.

Attachment 215461Attachment 215462

And the handle that controls the water in the tub is leaking... slowly. Aaaand - as Mr. Upton suggested - with the furring strips and the CBU and the tile, it won't be long enough anyways - and if it's leaking, I'm thinking that it should be replaced. I was thinking about getting a new valve and changing out the plumbing to PEX.

My plan for the near future:
-Fix the plumbing, somehow. Still learning what to do there.
-Finish putting up concrete board, over the tub flange and down to the tub deck (1/4" above it), as per CX's suggestion
-Thinset/mesh tape over the seams
-Kerdiband/kerdifix or some other membrane waterproofing to cover 1/4" gap from tub to CBU and down the tub leg
-RedGuard it all

1) Any issues with what I've done that are glaringly horrible?
2) My wife bought the premixed thinset for the fiber tape/seams on the walls. I have read before this isn't any good, that it is just mastic with sand. Is that true? Looks like manufacturer's recommendation here on page 7 includes mastic? But modified thinset is better for the tape, right? Just looking for some guidance here.
3) This is water damage around the toilet, right?
4) Would you recommend removing and replacing that subfloor there?
5) Subfloor is plywood and measures 3/4". I should use 1/2" hardiebacker for the floor, correct?
6) Toilet flange is 0.75" above the plywood subfloor. Adding a 1/2" CBU on top of that leaves 0.25" before tiling. Would you leave this alone or replace it with something higher?

Thanks again to everyone in advance.

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