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Unread 12-20-2010, 12:21 PM   #1
cptmorgan13
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Complete Newb Planning Small Bath Remodel

Ok so here's the deal. I'm a new homeowner, and I've decided I really appreciate good tile work and I wanna actually do some. Right now I'm deployed, but I'm heading home in Mar11. Already have a kitchen floor I'm gonna have to tile (due to 'sploded dishwasher), but me and my wife also planned on doing the bathroom floors. But after seeing some of the work in these forums, I'm leaning more towards just redoing the whole shower too.

Unfortunately I don't have any reference pics of the shower currently but I'll get some. The main purpose of this thread is to just kick around some ideas and get some suggestions from my betters here so I have some ammunition when I get back and start tearing stuff apart.

Oh, and before it comes out later, I'll only be in the house until about Jul11 or so, and then I have to move. So yes, I am looking to tile significant portions of a home I'm going to have to most likely sell, maybe rent. But dammit I don't care cuz I wanna make it purdy.

First question: Curent shower consists of tiled walls and a pan. Considering my timeframe I'm looking at leaving the pre-fab pan and just tiling the walls and small bit of floor around the bathroom. Most of the beginner how-tos just have hardiboard, and I don't know anything about kerdi, ditra, or any of those other cool products you guys mention. If I'm leaving the pre-fab pan...

1) Is that a good idea? It it going to cause issues (aside from just not looking as nice)?
2) Can I rip out the old tile & drywall and just lay down hardiboard, or would you recommend something else?

Thanks much in advance for your guys help.
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Unread 12-20-2010, 12:53 PM   #2
bbcamp
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First off, Sean, thank you for your service!

1) Give the pan a thorough cleaning. If the pan is in pretty good shape and looks as good as new, go ahead and keep it. Keep in mind that "good as new" has to stand up next to "brand new tiles," so be critical in your inspection.

2) You'll need some sort of waterproofing in the shower stall. The cheapest is 4-mill poly sheeting staped to the studs before adding the backerboard. If you need to fur out the studs so the backerboard overlaps the nailing flange for the pan, then do that before adding the plastic.

One word of advice: July will be here sooner than later. Don't start all your projects at once, and start the one that needs it the most first. That sounds like the kitchen. In the bathroom, look carefully at what can benefit most, the floor or shower stall, and do that one next. That said, and even considering your time crunch, take your time and to a workmanlike job. A little bit of well installed tile sells better than a lot of crappily tile.
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Unread 12-20-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
cptmorgan13
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Ok gotcha about the backerboard. Did some research on waterproof membranes like kerdi and some generic ones. Seems easy and probably more reliable so I'm thinking I may go that route. It's an older home (73) and I know I'm leaving one way or the other, but my whole purpose here is to practice now for better results later. Not looking to cut too many corners in price or workmanship.

Also, seen more than a few references to joist spacing/location in some of the other threads. I assume this is due to weight considerations. The downstairs bath is on concrete in a finished basement (no worry there), but the other 2 and the kitchen are second floor. If I don't plan on using natural stone, should I be concerned about packing too much weight on there?
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Last edited by cptmorgan13; 12-20-2010 at 01:43 PM. Reason: uh...I'm dumb?
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Unread 12-20-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
bbcamp
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It's not the weight so much as the deflection rate. Tile needs a floor structure that, according to the Tile Council, meets the building code for structural stiffness. Most codes say L/360 under a 40 pound per square foot live load. That means if you loaded the floor with 40 psf of stuff, the middle of the floor would sag no more than 1/360th of the maximum span of the joists. A 12 foot joist would be allowed to sag 0.4" under the load. Obviously, a joist system that is stiffer (sags less) than that is better.

The other part of the structural issue is the subfloor deflection between the joists. Joist spacing and subfloor thickness are linked by the underlayment you intend to use. For example, Hardibacker is happy on 5/8" plywood or OSB subfloor when the joists are 16" apart. We use their minimum thickness recommendation as the starting point only, since in most remodel situations, the subfloor gets pretty banged up during demo, and is no longer in like new condition. You'll almost never hear any of us saying "no" to more plywood.
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Unread 12-20-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
cptmorgan13
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Awesome thanks for the explanation Bob. Obviously, I didn't join the Army because of my math skills.

I don't think it's going to be much of an issue because while I'm usually a cheapskate when it comes to home improvements (and have sworn to never be again, due to many instances of my temper causing "spontaneous inadvertant structural realignment and demolition"), I've decided that for what I wanna spend on my first major tile project, there's actually a lot of decent porcelain I like...And also it's cheap

Just got done reading some of your comments in an older post regarding porcelain vs stone and for a first project it makes sense. But I wish more and more I'd found this forum before my first disasterous foray into tiling...

I tried snapping nice black granite with a tile scorer/snapper. Terrible idea. Finally realized it wasn't gonna happen, and instead of buying/renting a saw, I just got thinner tile, and ended up shattering about...I dunno a billion or so, trying to cut around a toilet flange.

I'm ashamed to say, that bathroom now has peel and stick vinyl. But I will not be defeated again. I got a wetsaw waiting for me when I get home

I'll keep scouring the forum in search of answers but I appreciate all the help. You guys rock.
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