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-   -   Help!...Demolish/Rebuild Small 35-yr-old Bathroom (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=50433)

sinkholed 06-03-2007 10:24 AM

Help!...Demolish/Rebuild Small 35-yr-old Bathroom
5'6"x9' main bathroom in 35 yr old ranch house with unfinished basement underneath. Tub is 60"x29", with the 5' length of the tub running along an exterior wall. Wall contains a 2'x2' horizontal slider window. Tub walls are/were tiled with 4" ceramic tile. Window is not flush to tilewall, rather it is recessed outward so as to create a 4" recessed "ledge" all around.

Next to tub, served by same "wet wall," is toilet. Next to toilet is sink, hung into a 48"x22" base cabinet's countertop. It's also along the same wet wall, but the cabinet is alcoved 24" in towards the wall.

This creates a rectangled total floor space (ie: less tub & alcoved cabinet) of 5'6"x6'6" (36 sq ft) which is/was covered by 1" mosaic ceramic tiles.

Plan is redo entire room using same layout (minimize plumbing changes). Aluminum window framing is moldy. Many tubwall tiles loosened and fell off, and much wallboard has been removed down to the studs. Toilet wall had leaked, which, when coupled with water that "sprayed" through and around the tub's shower curtain, led, over the years, to a deteriorated subfloor: there is a slight spongy depression in floor right in front of toilet, and examination of subfloor from basement reveals moist wood. I believe I am way beyond mere repair stage, and need to basically redo everything down to the joists and studs.

I'd like to do as much of this myself as is "reasonable". I'd really appreciate the advice of members here in determining the order of things to do, what are best practice materials, and what I can tackle myself -vs- what I should leave to the professionals. That other bathroom I mentioned has a shower/toilet/sink, so we can use that while work on this one is being done.

A couple of more considerations before I layout my preliminary plan. The exterior wall along which the tub length runs is "outside" my foundation. Not sure what you call it, but the house actually extends approx. 3' from the foundation. So basically the underside of the tub -- and most problematically the tub drain -- can only be accessed from that little "crawl" space that's formed by the joists that extend beyond the foundation (I hope my description has made it clear what I'm talking about).

Luckily, however, I also need to redo my 2nd bathroom (AFTER this one is finished!) I say lucky because the other side of the wet wall for bathroom #1's tub is bathroom #2's wall sink. So I plan on removing wallboard (and also as much floor as is necessary) from bathroom #2 to gain access to the drain hookup for bathroom #1's tub.

So, here's the order or operations that I've envisioned for this project, which, by the way, needs to result in a fully functioning bathroom in a short 9 weeks from yesterday (August 4th)!

I have an experienced framing expert to help me, a close friend who has been building a two room addition onto his vacation home. I don't envision any problems tackling steps 1-thru-13 by myself/with him. Depending on our success -- or lack thereof -- with the tub installation, I may find myself bringing in a professional to do that and the tile work. But right now I'm just trying to clear that I've got a good and properly sequenced plan of attack.

I hope and expect that I will find myself returning here often during this project to avail myself of the expertise of members for more detailed explanations on the individual facets of the project. THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!!!
  1. Remove toilet
  2. Remove cabinet/countertop/sink
  3. Remove wall tiles & wallboard
  4. Remove tub (all walls & ceiling would then be down to studs)
  5. Remove/replace window
  6. Reposition/rewire electric
  7. Remove floor down to the joists
  8. Add/replace studs & joists as necessary
  9. Add/replace plumbing as necessary
  10. Add insulation as necessary
  11. Install new subfloor materials (so as to receive finish tile)
  12. Install new wallboard (tub will receive finish tile; rest will be painted)
  13. Install new base cabinet
  14. Install new tub
  15. Install new tile floor/marble threshhold/bathroom door
  16. Install new toilet
  17. Install new electric fixtures
  18. Install new wall tile in tub area
  19. Install towel bars/grab bars/etc
  20. Paint

Davestone 06-03-2007 10:42 AM

Looks good,i can't think of anthing myself,other than making sure of subflooring, and proper plumbing. :goodluck:

Davy 06-03-2007 03:20 PM

Hi sinkholed, welcome. Sounds like you're ready to get going. Remember to keep all your questions about this project here on this thread, helps us keep up with your progress. :)

Rd Tile 06-03-2007 04:07 PM

12. Hope you mean cementboard.

Exhaust fan would be nice to have also.

sinkholed 06-04-2007 04:05 AM

Thanks guys. To answer the responses so far...

Surprised to find I haven't missed anything in my order of attack. May all aspects of this project go so smooth ;)

From what I've read here I've come to understand the importance of a solid subfloor; I'd appreciate your input on best practices/materials for that. The mosaic tile that's down now was supposedly set in mud (a neighbor called it concrete & had to use a sledge to take it out; I'm hoping to use a sawzall), but I don't think I'll be redoing with that.

Slipped up calling it wallboard; not sure which "greenboard-like" wall material I'll use; as with the subfloor, I'd appreciate suggestions.

The ceiling has an existing light/heat/exhaust fixture in it. It's not vented outside, just into attic. I understand I could use standard flexible dryer vent coil to exhaust outside, but not sure if I have time or inclination to do that now.

I really hate having a window in the tub, but likewise I'm reluctant to take on changing that. Given the location of bathroom along exterior wall, and the fact that attic/roof used truss construction, I'd LOVE to kill the window & go with a skylight instead. Wouldn't be too much of a job to install, but unless I pony up the dough for a pro, I just don't see me managing to add one myself.

Right now I'm trying to pick the bathroom vanity. As I'd said, it's an alcove cutout 48" wide and 24" deep. Currently has a built-in plywood cabinet, but the wife wants to replace with a genuine furniture-like piece, wood finish, with drawers, so I'm stuck trying to please her and fitting it in.

I don't like going smaller (45"/42"/36") but fitting 48" in 48" space may mean I have to cheat; ie, no wallboard on side walls to save some snugging-in space, maybe sidesplashes embedded into wall. Seems like countertops come 49". Maybe I can have them custom one to 48", because I don't think I can increase the 48" space any? Maybe I could wallboard the sides of the space AFTER the cabinet & countertop are in place?!?

Thanks again, and yes, I'll make sure to keep all my posts on this thread.

Mike2 06-04-2007 07:51 AM

Hey sink, how about a first name? :)

I'm guessing this new tub will also serve as a shower. If so, going back to RD's post above, you will need to use cement board with moisture barrier behind instead of just wallboard/greenboard. Order of installation needs to change too as the tub needs to go in first.

You mentioned a shower curtain in your first post so I'm guessing again the previous installion was also a combination tub and shower unit. How does that sliding window look? Still in good shape? Wood or vinyl?


sinkholed 06-04-2007 09:05 AM

Thanks Mike. Bob is my name. Chose sinkholed because $4,000 ago I hard a yard with grass and 2 trees, but that's another story :shrug:

Yes, tub will double as a shower. Regarding cementboard, the floor tile my wife had been looking at from Lowe's, it was recommended to use "Hardi backer board" over the plywood subfloor. Is that also but one of several cementboard brandnames that I can use on the walls? Should the cementboard I use in the tub area also be used on the rest of the bathroom walls? If not, I assume I'll have to end one piece of cementboard at a stud, and then continue from that stud with another wall material. Any problems with taping/spackling that joint?

Your mention that tub has to go in first means I swap #12 & #14? (tub before cementboard)
12. Install new wallboard (tub will receive finish tile; rest will be painted)
13. Install new base cabinet
14. Install new tub
Sliding window is original installation aluminum frame. I'm imagining I could remove & clean it up & reuse it, but a newer wood or vinyl is probably better and hopefully not too much $ for a 2'x2' unit.

Mike2 06-04-2007 09:21 AM

Hardibacker will work just fine, both on the floors and in your tub/shower surround.

Yes, make your transition from Hardi to drywall over a stud. And if at all possible have that stud positioned such that this transition occurs outside the "wet" area but still under a tile. Hardi comes in 1/4" thickness for floors and 1/2" (nominal) for walls. That 1/2" stuff is actually 7/16" so you will have to fair out to 1/2" wallboard. This can be done with thin-set and tape. Which is another thing, don't forget to tape the Hardibacker seams. Get Hardibacker instructions here. http://www.jameshardie.com/backerboa...stallation.php

Those instructions do not mention the need for a moisture barrier in a tub/shower setting, but that is most important.
Lets us know if you need some guidance with that moisture barrier installation.


sinkholed 06-05-2007 06:29 AM


transition from Hardi to drywall over a stud ... positioned such that this transition occurs outside the "wet" area but still under a tile. Hardi comes in 1/4" thickness for floors and 1/2" (nominal) for walls. That 1/2" stuff is actually 7/16" so you will have to fair out to 1/2" wallboard. This can be done with thin-set and tape.
What are the pros/cons of using Hardibacker for ALL the walls? I'm worried the transition from hardi to wallboard will be visible if I don't do a perfect job. The wife wants to paint the untiled portions of the walls, and I understand you can do that with hardi since it's smooth. I'm not just worried about achieving a smooth transitioning from hardi to wallboard, I'm also concerned about transitioning from hardi to hardi -- there didn't seem to be any tapered edge on the hardi sheets. Isn't that gonna make it harder to get that smooth transition?

You mentioned using thin-set & tape (as opposed to wallboard compound and tape). Do I take that to mean I should use the same material as I will be using to set the tiles to the wall?



Mike2 06-05-2007 06:44 AM

Bob, the transition from Hardi to wallboard I was talking about takes place under tile so it's not visible that way. Place some tape over the seam, comb out some mortar, set the tile, then on to the next one.


jadnashua 06-05-2007 05:25 PM

Yeah, plan to end things where the last tile will cover the joint - the tile will adhere to drywall with thinset fine. When taping the seams with the cbu, you aren't trying to make the joints invisible like you are with drywall, it is strictly for strength and it doesn't make any difference if you do it first or do it while tiling. In fact, it is often easier to do it while tiling, then you won't have any humps or speedbumps of dried thinset to try to get to tile over. Drywall is a lot cheaper, and comes in bigger panels for fewer joints, so use it in all of the dry areas.

tile mom 06-06-2007 09:34 PM

by the way, someone on this forum recommended using a 4" putty knife to feather out the edges of the tape. Worked great!! thanks.

I have a question which I will ask on this thread as it may be helpful to "Sinkholed" ( sorry to hear about your yard troubles). Actually two questions... OK- three...

1) if you have to attach the barrier to the studs and then the CBU over it...don't the holes made by the nails or staples ( in the liner) let water thru?

2) I can't find the thread ( maybe it's late and I should be asleep) that talks about how much space b'w the bottom of the tub (and over the curb or lip )and the Hardi there should be. I think it was 1/2 inch??

3) Is it ALWAYS advisable to start your tile at the NEXT to bottom row, make sure that is level, and then do the bottom row later making cuts where needed to meet the tub? Also , 1/4"? 1/8" for caulk between tub and bottom row?? HOw much?

many thanks -

jadnashua 06-07-2007 05:13 PM

Don't worry about the nail holes in the vapor barrier. You should never get liquid water there...it is a vapor barrier, and you won't get any appreciable vapor through a nail hole to do anything; especially sandwiched between the cbu and the stud.

1/4" is fine, 1/2" might work, too, depends on the size of the tile...1/4" is probably better.

If you tub really is installed level, start at the tub if you want...no problem. It is supposed to be level, so that's okay. Thenk you can use spacers to keep it off of the nice flat hard tub lip to hold the rest of them up without the ledger.

sinkholed 07-06-2007 04:51 AM

Tub goes in tomw; is subfloor sufficient?
I'm at the point where I risk divorce if I DON'T get the tub in tomw. If I need to do anything tonight, I will, but I'm beyond doing it "right" and have to settle for "best under the circumstances." Married guys n' gals, I hope you know where I'm coming from :crazy:

Have 5x9 bathroom down to wallstuds and subfloor. 1/2" luann (sp?) ply over 16" oc DouglasFir 2x6 joists (deflecto-lator gives me 1499, so if I tighten up should be ok for ceramic that the wife wants).

Some deflection occurs at ply seams not made over joists. This can be somewhat remedied from underneath by shimming the slight gaps between joists and ply? Also could nail/screw existing ply to joists to tighten it up? Bottom line: what's down HAS to stay, or I will be asked to LEAVE :shake:

All that's going in tomw is the tub. I WILL have time to address remaining subfloor concerns before tile goes in on floor. (And then there's the tile for the walls, but that's another story/time/thread).

Should I ADD anything on top of (or from below) this subfloor BEFORE the tub goes in? I'm thinking maybe 1/4" ply on top (plus maybe the shimming/fastening already menioned)?

I'm expecting that after tub install I'll add 1/4" hardi as base for the finish floor tile, but what should I do TONIGHT before the tub goes in tomw? And if I add anything like 1/4" ply, can it be AFTER the tub goes in, or should it be before (tub is 3sided alcove along exterior wall).

Thanks all. Neither my marriage nor my bathroom may last very long, but I need some practical advice on a compromised method that hopefully saves both :bang:


PS: What EXACTLY should I be putting between the wallstuds & the 1/2" hardi I'm going to be putting on the walls in tub area? Is it just 4mil poly sheeting, and is there a link that details how it's attached, etc?

Shaughnn 07-06-2007 06:30 AM

Are you certain that your sub-floor consists of only 1/2" Luann? Firstly, Luann is not a suitable substrate material even if you could find it in 1/2" thickness. Next, your sub-floor needs to be a minimum of 3/4". For tile, you should then be adding a second layer (at least 3/8") laid perpendicular to the first.

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