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Unread 02-09-2010, 01:53 PM   #1
Frankd1
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DIY bathroom question

Hi everybody,
I'm building a house through a builder and I will be doing the tiles in the 2 upstairs bathrooms after closing as well as the tiles on the soaker tub box and deck and the 2 walls that form the backsplash for the tub.

The builder will be leaving the floor as the current subfloor for me, they used 3/4" thick or 23/32" thick OSB nailed and screwed to 2x8 joists 16" o.c. They are also going to do a "light" install on the vanitys to facilitate removal so that I can tile under the vanity's as well.

I plan to use 1/2" Hardie backer board or similar for the floor tiles - this will give me a 3/4" or so floor height to accomodate future 3/4" thick hardwood floors in the bedroom and hallways....

Couple of things reagarding the ensuite bath:

1. regarding the 2 walls that form the tub backsplash: because I'm doing the tile work I am guessing that they drywalled right up to 1/4" or so above the top edge of the tub....I should probably cut out the drywall to a height of 18" above the tub deck and then install 1/2" Hardie in its place and then tile up the wall to a height of 16" or 17"? This won't be an area exposed to constant water but I'm still a little leary tiling over drywall that close to the tub, the tub is installed in the corner of the bathroom. You will see what I mean with the included photos...

2. regarding the tub box and tub deck: I think they will close off the frame work with plywood....I don't want to install the tiles directly over the plywood (again being concerned about water) so I was going to use 1/4" Hardie but my concern here is that the finished product will become too thick....around 1/2" thick by the time I am finished with the cement board, thinset and tile, especially on the end of the box next to where the double vanity will be installed and I don't know if there will be an issue with fit when reinstalling the vanity, picture 1 and 4 show what I am referring to..
Should I remove the plywood if in fact that is what is closing off the tub box and then replace with 1/4" cement board and tile over that? This will help to keep the box from becoming too thick.

I mentioned I THINK its going to be drywall right to the tub and then plywood for the box because the last time I was in the house, which is when these pictures were taken, the walls had not been closed off and the tub box was still open frame work and I haven't been in since, hopefully this week I can go in and see....

I have attached some pictures to clarify what I am talking about. The pictures of the unfinished product are that of my house. The pictures of the finished product are that of the model home which is exactly the same as my house.

The main bath is less of a challenge because the tub in there is a one piece acrylic mirolin with one piece acrylic surround so for the floors I will use 1/2" backer installed a 1/4" from the base of the tub and then caulk or silicone the gap once finished with the tiles.

I was also thinking about radiant floor heating for these 2 bathrooms, something along the lines of suntouch mats....

I guess i can only upload 5 files for this post, so these 5 show my ensuite prior to completion but it gives you an idea of the 2 walls on either side of the tub - those are outside walls, and then the tub box itself..
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Unread 02-09-2010, 02:28 PM   #2
Frankd1
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So here are some more pictures, these are the bathrooms in the model home and mine will be exactly the same....

The 1st picture shows the strip of cut tile on the tub deck along the front edge of the tub as well as a portion of the backsplash area, you can also see the fit to the end of the vanity and where I am concerned about the the box becoming too thick if I were to install cement board over the plywood and then causing the vanity opening to become to small..

2nd and 3rd picture show how the front face of the tub box and top deck area will be finished as well as the backplash area on the 2 walls surrounding the tub. The height of the tiles above the tub are 16"

Do you think its even necessary to replace the drywall with cement board in the backsplash area? I don't think the builder does this when they do the tiling - they probably figure that this area is not exposed to constant water by the way it is set up. Obviously if this were a shower or tub with a shower then drywall is a no no. But what do you think in this scenario?

With regards to the tub box, if there is in fact plywood closing it off should I remove it and replace with 1/4" cement board? Again, I don't think the builder would do this because they figure its a low water traffic area and tiling over the plywood is fine....I will try and stop by the house tomorrow to see whats there....

Pictures 4 and 5 show the one piece acrylic mirolin tub and surround in the main bath and how the tiles meet the base of the tub....pretty straight forward here I think!

By the way I am somewhat of newbie in case you were wondering!!

Thanks,
Frank
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Unread 02-09-2010, 03:17 PM   #3
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1) Yes, cut out the drywall and install backerboard. You can leave the joint between backerboard and wall board under the tile, if you want. This makes finishing and painting the drywall easier. Before you install the backerboard, you need to install a tub flange kit (do a web search to find them) to the edge the tub next to the wall. It's not much protection by itself, but in conjunction with the caulk between backerboard and tub and the caulk between tile and tub, you'll have 3 layers of protecton. Can't have too many with a tub installation like yours.

2) Take the plywood off and install 1/2" backer board.

Quote:
I plan to use 1/2" Hardie backer board or similar for the floor tiles - this will give me a 3/4" or so floor height to accomodate future 3/4" thick hardwood floors in the bedroom and hallways....
Do your tile shopping first. You are likely to find that floor tiles are about 3/8" thick. With 1/4" backboard and thinset plus your tiles, your floor will be 3/4" higher than the subfloor, just perfect for adjoining rooms with hardwood.

Wouldn't it be simpler to move into the model house?
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Unread 02-09-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Bob! With regards to your last question about moving into the model home, well its funny you should mention that because the model home is only 3 doors down from my house and I go there quite often to take measurements and such and the agents in the office said the same thing However, the wall behind the tiled backsplash is drywall I'm sure, and the tub box is covered with 5/8" plywood - this I just confirmed with the builder.....

1) Just to clarify your point #1 about leaving the joint between the backerboard and drywall underneath the tile: I plan to tile up the wall 16", so it is ok to cut out the drywall to 14" high and then replace with a 14" high piece of backerboard and then the joint will be 2" below the top edge of the tile which is ok because water shouldn't be an issue this high up the wall. However, where the top edge of the tub meets tile will be protected with backerboard underneath...

2) If I end up cutting the poly vapor barrier underneath the drywall is it ok to just tape up the cut marks?

3) The backer board should stop about 1/4" above the top edge of the tub correct?

4) On the 2 outside front corners of the tub where the backsplash tile meets the top deck tile is it ok for the backerboard to extend down those couple of inches so that it meets the strip of backerboard that I will put along the top deck of the box that runs along the front edge of the tub? I was thinking a 1/8" gap between the 2 pieces at the 90 degree joint and then use tape and thinset to fill the gap similar to 2 pieces next to each other on the floor.....

5) You mentioned a tub flange kit which I will look for....but what I am picturing is that this gets fastened to the back edges of the tub that run along the wall, and then does the top of the flange extend upwards so that it is under the bottom edge of the backeboard and then all sealed up with caulk?

I will take the plywood off of the tub box and replace with 1/2" backerboard. The box framework as well as the small portion of top deck that runs along the front edge of the tub is covered with 5/8" thick plywood. I just received an email from the builder confirming this...

Thanks!
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Unread 02-09-2010, 05:59 PM   #5
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Frank, I edited your last post to add numbers to your questions. I deal with numbers all day, and this is easier for me.

1) Yes.

2) Repair stray cuts in the poly with duct tape.

3) 1/4" max, 1/8" min. Lean to the smaller gap. Your tub will go down, it's not likely to go up.

4) You can put backerboard anywhere you want. If it happens to get painted, just skimcoat with drywall compound and paint. That area seems like a good place to get wet, so backerboard is fine. 1/8" gaps between pieces of backerboard is fine.

5) You have the right idea. The flange kit has a peel and stick section that sticks to the tub. Good idea to clean the tub with alcohol. Also, leave the flange kit out in a sunny area to warm up and become flexible.

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Unread 02-10-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
Frankd1
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Thanks for the edit Bob!

I got thinking about this yesterday and maybe I am starting to overthink things but here it is:

We talked about removing the 5/8" plywood on the front face of the tub enclosure and replacing with 1/2" cement backerboard,

1. Do you think that the plywood sheeting adds strength and rigidity to the front face of the enclosure?

2. Will replacing the 5/8" plywood with 1/2" backerboard screwed directly to the enclosure/box framework compromise any integrity?

- my understanding of backerboard is that it doesn't have the same structural properties as does plywood and its sole purpose is that of a tile substrate, but correct me if I am wrong

Here is what I was thinking:

3. In order to preserve the original 5/8" thickness of the front face and top deck area, I was thinking about sheeting the opening closed with 3/8" plywood and then installing 1/4" cement backerboard over top and this will give me back the 5/8" as well as having the structural properties of the plywood. Sound OK?

4. In this application, I'm guessing that I should still run a thinset layer between the plywood and backerboard? I wasn't sure if it was needed in this case because it is a smaller area.....

5. I'm guessing that because of the small area the difference in structural properties and strength of the 5/8" plywood sheeting vs. 3/8" plywood sheeting with 1/4" backerboard is negligible?

6. It looks like my tub has molded in feet on the bottom (from the picture) and the tub and these feet sit directly on top of the subfloor supporting the weight, and I gather that because of this setup there is no need for a mortar bed underneath the tub? I hope not because I don't know if its possible to add one now....

Thanks for the picture of the flange kit!
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Unread 02-10-2010, 11:58 AM   #7
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1) and 2) I was thinking about this last night and was just about to suggest making some 6x6 squares of the plywood and screw them to a few of the framing joints from the inside to stiffen the structure, but then I thought that the framing is tied to the walls and will be covered by the backerboard, so it would be stiff enough. So, no, don't worry about removeing the plywood.

3), 4) and 5) I wouldn't. See 1 and 2.

6) It looks like there is a rib or ribs under the tub's floor. I don't think you could get any mortar under there without raising the tub, and I don't think you really want to do that. I think it'll be fine.
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Unread 02-10-2010, 04:38 PM   #8
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Thanks Bob, points noted!

I may add some bracing between the frame work just for good measure...

The tub definately has its own feet and ribs on the bottom so I have no intention of lifting it...

In my many hours of online research I found out about Kerdi membrane (remember I'm still a bit of a newbie ), and it says it can be applied right over drywall...

1. What do you think about this for the 2 walls that form the backsplash area?
Instead of cutting out drywall and replacing with backerboard I could use the Kerdi up the wall 16" from the top edge of the tub and then tile up the same 16" flush with the top of edge of the Kerdi, I could then finish the top edge of the tile with an aluminum trim strip or even a nice trim tile.....

2. If the above is possible, can I still use a flange kit for the tub?

3. Can the Kerdi membrane be applied over the plywood sheet on the tub box?
I wasn't sure if this stuff can go over wood or not....

The little bit of tile that I have laid in the past was over a cement floor in a basement so these scenarios are new to me.

I learn fast and I'm open to any suggestions, methods and techniques!
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Unread 02-10-2010, 05:36 PM   #9
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6 - Place 100 soft pounds in the shower (2 bags of thinset works well) and get a blue can of expanding foam for under that tub. Take the bags out 24 hours later.

1- I would stop the kerdi 1 or 2 inches shy of the tile and let the tile overlap, giving a nicer edge.

3- No to the plywood. While drywall is spec'd< i would use CBU.
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Unread 02-10-2010, 09:02 PM   #10
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1. So spray the foam all around the underside of the tub? Any particular brand of foam?
Does this help to reduce possible shifting and give a little more support underneath the tub between the ribs and feet as the foam expands and dries?

2. How thick is the Kerdi?

3. No Kerdi directly over plywood...understood! I will stick with the original plan of removing the plywood sheet from the front face and replace with backerboard.....
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Unread 02-11-2010, 06:13 AM   #11
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1) I think Paul is suggesting Great Stuff in the blue can. This doesn't expand as much the regular version and is used around window and door frames where an high expansion rate may deform the frames and cause sticking. It does remain somewhat soft (website says you can tuck it in if it gets out of place) so I don't know how much support it will offer. If nothing else, it will insulate the bottom of the tub, so your hot water will last longer. If there were a readily available structural foam product in a DIY friendly package, I'd recommend that.

2) Kerdi is about 8 mills thick.

3) OK
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Unread 02-21-2010, 02:46 PM   #12
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I was finally able to get into the house and take a few pictures of the bathroom - these pictures basically represent how the bathroom will be when I move in, the vanity will be installed but I will be able to remove it in order to tile underneath, the toilet will also be installed but thats coming out as well....

You can see in the pictures the backsplash area of the tub - this is drywall that has been painted..

The front of the tub enclosure/apron has been closed up with 5/8" plywood screwed to the frame work and the top deck area of the tub also has 5/8" plywood pieces screwed to the top frame piece.

In the pictures in my first post you can see the open frame work and the gap that the front edge of the tub makes with the top frame piece in order to allow the top deck 5/8" plywood to slide underneath the tub slightly and be screwed down.

These most recent pictures also show how the drywall is installed down below the top edge of the tub along both walls.

Here are my thoughts on how to proceed with this:

1. Kerdi membrane along the backsplash area to a height of about 14" or 15" up the wall - I plan to tile up the wall to a height of 16" or 17" (see pictures of finished bathroom in model home) so the Kerdi will stop an inch or two below the top edge of the tile.

2. The gap that is between the back edges of the tub and the drywall is around 3/8" so I will try and put the Kerdi as far down below the top of the tub as I can, from there I will fill the gap with silicone.

3. I think the general consensus as far as the plywood sheeting is concerned is to remove it and screw down 1/2" backerboard directly to the frame work on the front apron area as well as the top deck which is about 5" wide....

4. The gap between the tile and the top of the tub will be around 1/8"? Then caulked or siliconed....where the tile makes the 90 degree in the corner I plan to also use caulking instead of grout because it is two different walls....

5. Does it matter if the apron backerboard stops above the floor backerboard with an 1/8" gap, meaning I install the floor backer first, or should I install the apron backerboard first with a slight gap between the OSB subfloor and then install the floor backerboard so that it butts up against the apron backerboard with a 1/8" gap? Sheesh, I think I confused myself with this question, lol....

6. I'm probably looking at a 1/4" floor backerboard because I plan to install hardwood floor in the adjoining bedroom at a later date, so I figured: 1/4" backer + 3/8" tile + 1/8" thinset should get me to a 3/4" height for a smooth transition to the hardwood.....
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Unread 02-21-2010, 03:01 PM   #13
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Some more close-ups:
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Unread 02-21-2010, 03:14 PM   #14
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Frank,

I haven't read everything, but I would work it so the tile goes under the edge of the tub even if you have to cut down the wall a little. Butting the deck tiles up to the edge always looks amateurish.


Don't know if anyone else addressed it, but your toilet flange is down on the subfloor. It should go on after the tile is installed. It'll be too low once you get your backer board and tile on the floor.
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Unread 02-21-2010, 04:03 PM   #15
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Hi John,

I'm guessing that you are referring to this edge on the top deck along the front edge of the tub?

As far as the toilet flange: because the builder is leaving the floors as just the OSB subfloor because I am installing the tiles myself they said that they are required to install the toilet firmly to the OSB in order for the house to pass inspection prior to closing. So...I will be using flange extensions to bring it up to the proper height once the CBU and tile is installed.
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