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Unread 07-21-2002, 04:11 PM   #1
Big Bill
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
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Bathtub to Full Shower Conversion:

Hello to All!
After much study of Johns section on mortar bed shower pans and curbs, Michael Byrnes instructions on constructing a mortar bed shower w/the pictures, and reading the extensive text (and project pictures) here in Johns forum regarding all aspects of a project like this etc. etc. AND (what really sold me); The incredible help from all you folks who frequent this forum, I’ve decided to take the leap, and do it myself. (30” x 60” shower)
Never mind that I got quotes of over $4k just to take out a bathtub, install a shower pan, and re-tile w/ new glass enclosure. The kicker: After I had educated myself here on (proper - Bullet proof ) shower construction, the prospective contractors who gave quotes described how they planned to do this job which was contrary to the techniques described on this site! In fact, what they reminded me of was the “copperfield” section of Houston that John describes with all the shoddy construction & tile work. I don’t need someone to install another bad tile project; that’s why I am here in the first place!
Now.... the reason for this inquiry. Oh, by the way my name is Bill, and I live in West Palm Beach, FL. John said that I should check into this forum for help if I decided to take on this project.
I have begun preliminary demolition, (removed the tub, and greenboard/mush, & tiles exposing wall studs. I obviously need to use the two piece drain required for a mortar bed shower, like the one that John and Michael Byrne use, with the weep holes in the side of the drain stem. I’ve not been able to locate this particular drain at HD or Lowes. HD has one that is made by Oatey, and Lowes has one that is similar. They run about $16.00 to $18.00.
My question: is this drain acceptable? (sorry, I didn’t get the model #), but it’s the only drain either one of them sells for use with a mortar bed shower. It’s made of PVC, has a 4 bold flange & adjustable drain stem. The threads in the body of this drain have cuts in them so that water can weep back into the drain through 1/8th inch holes in the flange top, but it is not the same drain that is depicted here on this site.
Can someone tell me the “best” drain to get for this project, preferably the same one that is used in the pictures here, or a better one if there is such a thing.
Now, my other dilemma: I have to relocate the drain. When I removed the tub, there was already an 8” x 14” hole in the slab that had not been re-floated with concrete before the tub was installed. At least someone has already busted out the slab for me in that area, (the house is 15 yrs. old, and I am the second owner). I dug down into the sand to see what lies below. About 18” or so, there is a drain trap. Also the supply lines are in the same vicinity. The 1/2 inch copper water supply lines come up through the slab right in front of the wall plate (tub side) with a bend that takes them inside the wall confines, and up to the shower fixture. Very shoddy in appearance. (Could some of the “copperfield” construction folks be working in So. FL?)
I don’t know if it would be acceptable to just leave the supply lines where they are since they are in the area where I plan to put the drypack pre-slope and mortar bed. My guess is they should be brought up through the 2”x4” wall plate, which means that I have to break or cut out another 3 inches of slab and re-route them. Is this the correct action you all would take?
Secondly. Regarding the drain. I plan on re-locating it about 18” to 2’ in front of the wall. (the shower stall is 30”x 60”) Or, should the drain go dead center? My thought is, that I’d be standing on the drain while taking a shower, and so, it should not go dead center. Also.... Should I go to a lot of extra trouble to move the drain trap right underneath the drain location?, or go the simple route, and plumb to the existing drain trap with a couple 45 or 90 degree elbows? Your advise would be very much appreciated.
Big Bill
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Unread 07-21-2002, 07:01 PM   #2
Rob Z
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Hi Bill

I think it is legal here (VA) for a trap to be two feet below a fixture or two feet laterally from a fixture. It sounds as if you are a bit past those limits. Since you need to trench the concrete anyway to get the drain relocated, I would set a new drain under the new drain. It really isn't much extra work.

The price for the drain sounds so high that it makes me wonder if you have the correct one. The Oatey clamping drain that HD stocks is only about $8-9. Let's compare models numbers to be sure. Try this from the Liberry: http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...?threadid=1791

I think I would get those copper pipes relocated, as well.
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Unread 07-21-2002, 07:08 PM   #3
John Bridge
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Hi Bill, Welcome.

Actually, all the shoddy workmen in Texas went to Florida to do their apprenticeship.

You get good and bad scenarios everywhere.

If you don't have to move the copper supply lines, don't. They are actully semi-flexible copper tubing that has been run through sheaths when you go through the concrete. You should be able to see black plastic wrappings, unless they don't pass through the concrete and simply rise up out of your block out hole.

If they are not wrapped, you should do so before pouring any mud around them. Copper and cement don't get along very well.

Move the drain anyplace you like, as long as it's not close to a wall. You will have to relocate the trap to get it under the new drain. This is so it's easily cleaned in the future.

Four thousand bucks wouldn't be all that bad if they were going to construct a proper shower. Anyway, we'll help you do it yourself. You'll find several people here in various stages of the same project.

The Oatey drain you describe is the one I use most often.
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Unread 07-21-2002, 07:12 PM   #4
John Bridge
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It's like this one only with a plastic insert.
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Unread 07-22-2002, 12:31 AM   #5
tileguytodd
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hmmmmmm Florida from Nov-April doesnt sound bad.....It gets so very coldddd up here

A Hilte Demolition hammer can be rented from a local rental house to make demo of your concrete a snap.Anything less than a hilte is a lot like work
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Unread 07-23-2002, 06:34 AM   #6
Big Bill
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Cool Drain relocation etc.

Thanks Guys for the input. John, the picture of the drain you uploaded here looks like the same one. I guess if it's made by Oatey for use with this kind of shower, it should be OK. I just couldn't find one like what was shown in earlier articles, with the gravel packed up to the insert next to the weep holes.
OK on getting the drain trap underneath the drain. I will allude to the collective advise on this one, and go rent equipt. to do the trenching work etc.
As for the Copper lines, they ARE encased in plastic sheathing. They come up through the slab just in front of the 2x4 wall plate, actually, there is a slight notch in the plate for one of the lines.
What bothers me, is that they will be part of the Pre-slope, and the PVC liner would actually be laying on them a bit. The mortar bed (above the liner) would cover them up obviously. I just wonder if it would pose a problem down the road? (re: heat, expansion, etc...)
While I am at it. Would if be OK to use QUICKRETE to reseal the slab after the plumbing work is done?
Thanks again for you guidance.
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Unread 07-25-2002, 09:47 PM   #7
Big Bill
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Talking Update - help requested

Been enjoying the forum here folks, especially AMYG’s.

Update, more questions:

I successfully relocated the tub drain 18 inches away from the forward wall to become the new shower drain. Is this distance OK?

Also, the water supply lines were easily relocated so that they now go inside the wall from the bottom, instead of coming through the pre-slope drypack area.

I used an air chisel, made the job easy, and didn’t have to rent a Hilti demo hammer.
Now, I am about to pour concrete so seal the slab.
I filled in the hole, and placed more vizqueen over the dirt, and am ready to mix and pour quickrete.
Question:
Should I use a concrete bonding agent on the slab edges containing the area to be re-filled with new concrete? I don’t want it to crack if/when the sand underneath settles. I tamped it pretty good. I also left the reinforcing wire in place.
As for the drypack mud.
What do you recommend I use for the Latex additive? (that HD or Lowes might stock.)
I hope these aren’t silly questions, don’t want to miss something important.

Another Question:
Since I am turning a tub enclosure into a shower, 30 inches seems a bit narrow. Can anyone tell me what might be the appropriate width. The bathroom isn’t that big, but I might be able to expand it a little bit. The length is 60 inches, and I plan to install a bench akin to Dave M’s job there in Canton, MI.

One more Question:
I want to re-tile the floor also. I used that air chisel to take up a course of tile. It left some thinset on the slab below. Can that just be tiled over?, or do I need to remove the thinset. It’s tough stuff. Would I be better of just tiling over?
Any advise would be welcome. Bill
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Unread 07-25-2002, 10:08 PM   #8
Rob Z
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Hi Bill

I try to locate drains as close to center as possible. Which wall are you refering to as the "forward" wall?

I don't use concrete bonding adhesive. I just clean the raw edge of the concrete off by spraying some water on it. I also leave out just a little of the gravel under the existing slab, and push the new concrete under there to lock it in.

I don't think it is necessary to use any latex additive in your mud since you are working over a concrete slab. I do use latex in mud when going over some of the bouncy wooden subfloors that are in my area.

As for expanding the size of the shower...you can make it as big as you have space for, as long as you leave enough room for the toilet and sink. What is next to the shower? If it is the toilet, you should leave 15" left and right of the centerline of the fixture. What is the layout of the rest of the bathroom?
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Unread 07-26-2002, 05:56 AM   #9
John Bridge
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Bill,

The drain is fine as long as it's not close to a wall.

You can tile over the old thin set if it won't come up. Make sure it won't come up, though.
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Unread 07-26-2002, 07:53 AM   #10
Big Bill
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Thumbs up Bath layout


Thanks Rob and John;

I refer to the "forward" wall as the front of the shower that has the fixtures on it. I have a 30" x 60" space to work with. (roughly)

As you enter the bathroom, the shower is on the right, and aft. The room is approx. 6' x 7' - The shower stall is located back to the far right as you look into the room. Opposite the shower on the far left is the toilet. There is a window on the far wall separating the shower and toilet. To the immediate left is the vanity sink. To the immediate right is a 2' closet. There is a wall on the shower side of the closet that contains the plumbing fixture. The shower stall is 3 sided, with no window.

Rob, I wasn't sure about the latex based additive, but it makes sense for strength when using a plywood floor. Thats one thing less to worry about!
There is about 2 feet or so, separating the shower from the toilet. I can widen the shower stall a couple inches, but the window would preclude it from being more than about 32 inches or so wide without going right up to the corner bead.
My next dilemma is how and where to place the curb.
The far wall, which contains the window, is also the far end of the shower stall. It has/had 1x4's and the greenboard / sheetrock was attached to it. The CBS wall is behind it, with a paper foil vapor barrier, that's it.

I need to figure out how to tie in the curb at the CBS wall end of the shower. Since width is a factor, I need to use the 1x6 single board for the narrowest curb.

The shower wall is just studs with sheetrock on it. There was no insulation, or vapor barrier there when I tore it down. Same with the front (closet) wall with the fixtures in it.
Question:
Should I use fiberglass insulation between the studs, and of course a vapor barrier before putting up the Durock?
As for the CBS wall end of the shower, should I also get that thin insulation they use there, before enclosing with Durock?
And one more question:
Is it acceptable to just use Thinset on the Durock to attach the tiles? By attaching lath, then mudding it before attaching the tiles would take up more of that precious space. What do you think?

John,
That tile was a bear to get off the floor, but do-able with that air chisel. I can run the chisel along the floor, and it chips away most of the thinset.
Guess I have my work cut out for me. (Will save that one for last.)
Thanks again for your indulgence, and most expert advise.
As always...
Your guidance is very much appreciated.
Bill

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