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Unread 12-06-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
newbi11
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Converting Bathtub to shower

Hi all,

I've been lurking on this forum for awhile and I would just like to thank everyone on this forum for all the information that I am able to find.

I am currently researching on a project for converting my existing bathtub to a walk in shower with frameless glass doors. I have a few questions that I can't find the answers (or tutorial) to myself. Hoping some of you gurus can help me out here.

Just some background information, this is my first project and I am definitely a newbie. I am trying to do as much research as possible (to the details) so I know how to react when I find something unexpected when I open up walls and do my demos... considering I am new to the whole business, forgive me if I use the wrong terminology and go easy on me with the acronyms

1. I am hoping that I can use the Kerdi Shower kit, I am trying to find out what kind of drain pipe I have underneath the tub. I went to my basement and all the drain pipes exposed there are ABS pipes (black plastic) - does that mean it is most likely ABS pipes under my bathtub? When I purchase my Kerdi kit, should I go for ABS Kerdi drain or PVC drain and use a transition coupler (here's where my terminology gets messy ) for ABS > PVC? I will also need a reducer from 2" kerdi drain to current bathub 1 1/2" drain pipe. So should it be: Kerdi Drain > Reducer > Coupler > existing ABS?

2. I know I need to slope my pipe properly and will need to extend the current drain location to the center. How exactly do I do that? I've seen people hang the pipe with straps nailed to the floor joists, is that the standard way? also, if I slope my drain pipe, wouldn't that make my drain not leveled or tilted, how can I ensure that I can slope pipe while maintaining the drain perfectly leveled?

3. Since the shower kit tray will be slopped towards the center, any tips on how I can tile that kind of surface? wouldn't tile edges that "stick out" not easy to step on?

I think that's all the questions I have now. I will probably post more questions here as I continue on with my research! Thanks everyone!
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Unread 12-06-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
Bodie Powers
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Welcome Herman.

It would be helpful to add your location to your profile.

Most jurisdictions require a minimum 2" drain for a shower and 1-1/2" drain for a tub. Yes this makes little sense to me, too . Regardless, you should be aware of this requirement, particularly if you are having your work inspected. Also, it is a no-no in general to reduce a pipe diameter in the direction of the flow. If you have access below, you may want to consider resizing the entire shower drain line to 2". Kerdi makes both ABS and PVC drains.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 11:26 AM   #3
newbi11
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Hi there,

I have added where I am from in my profile now, I am from Toronto, Canada.

yes I am aware they make ABS and PVC version, I am just wondering which approach should be better as I am aware that ABS might have issues with leaks down the road.

Thanks!
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Unread 12-06-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
Bodie Powers
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Some believe PVC melts better with the glue, making for a better bond than ABS. Some believe PVC is quieter than ABS. I dunno. Most local codes allow either. Chevy or Ford. What does your local code say? If properly installed, either PVC or ABS will not leak. Maybe one of the pro's here will comment. When I do a remodel I stick with what's already there.

I've read that many Canadian jurisdictions allow 1-1/2" shower drains....is that true for Toronto? If so, you still have the issue of reducing from 2" to 1-1/2"....generally not allowed. What does your local code say about this?
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Unread 12-06-2013, 12:58 PM   #5
newbi11
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Sorry for the newbie question, Bodie... What are the disadvantaging on downsizing? I am not installing any rain shower, it will just be a normal shower with shower head and tap, so waterflow wise it should be the same as the bath I have now.

As far as I read, it seems like as long as you downsize right after the drain (not behind the P trap instead) then it should be fine. Any insight will be helpful.

And feel free to chip in for the other questions I have! Thank you!
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Unread 12-06-2013, 04:00 PM   #6
Bodie Powers
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The short answer is: It's the code.

By no means am I a plumbing expert, but I believe the theory is that a reducer creates a water dam which can lead to a clog (a properly sized drain line depends on scouring action to keep it clean and free of clogs and a reducer impedes the scouring action). However, as a practical matter if the reducer is placed right at the drain it is easily accessible and cleaning is not an issue (as opposed to a reducer 15 feet downstream from the drain). Lots of folks do what you are contemplating without a problem.

There are many discussion threads on the web debating the general 2" shower drain vs 1-1/2" tub drain requirements.

For a more complete explanation you might want to drop in at TerryLove.com forums....they've got plumbing pros that can do a better job than I answering your questions.

...but like I said, it's the code and if you're being inspected you'll need to comply. If you're not being inspected and wish to use a reducer between the drain and the trap, you'll have lots of company


As for the 1/4" per foot slope question....there's sufficient flexibility in plastic drain pipe to allow for both a level drain and the slope. If you get into a situation where flexing the drain line isn't possible, then you can use a Fernco type coupling that easily bends enough to straighten the drain.

You also asked how to tile a sloped surface without creating lippage: use small tiles. How small really depends on the size of the pan and the percentage slope, however I think most of the tile pros here would agree that 2" or smaller would be suitable for most pan installations. You can purchase 2" tiles that are pre-attached to a webbing, typically ~ 12" square...makes installation a snap. Just remember to pull/stretch the webbing outward when installing to maintain proper spacing between the individual tiles.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
newbi11
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Bodie.. you rock!! thanks so much for your insight. I am going to go for the ABS version of the kit then.

And yes, we are going to go for mosaic tiles for the shower, so I should be ok then.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
Bodie Powers
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My son just reminded me that the trap is designed to compensate for the 1/4" slope...sorry for mis-informing you.

You mentioned you were going with a Kerdi kit....were you planning on using the 60" Kerdi pre-fab pan designed for tub conversions? If so are you planning on centering the drain, or leaving it at the far end? Schluter makes pans for both configurations.

Keep in mind that the pan with the drain at the end will have a narrower/steeper bowl around the drain (due to it's proximity to the pan edge) than the centered config. You want to make sure the tile you choose is small enough to conform to that drain bowl. Also be aware that the slope on that pan is only 1/8"/ft in the long direction (most pro's around here recommend a minimum 1/4" slope to avoid standing water). If you go with that pan, make sure that you set it level, or perhaps ever so slightly tilted toward the drain to ensure water drains out of the pan. I'm probably not making sense so I'm including schematics for both pans...you'll see what I'm talking about.

(I got these drawings from Schluter tech support a couple of years ago....they weren't on their web site at the time)
Attached Images
File Type: pdf drain at end.pdf (28.6 KB, 171 views)
File Type: pdf drain at center.pdf (27.6 KB, 201 views)
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Unread 12-09-2013, 11:20 AM   #9
newbi11
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Argh I am not really looking to cut open the plywood to extend the drain pipe... if anyone has any tutorial that will be great.

Particularly, I am not sure how to make the cut to the plywood and then screw it back to it's place properly.. Do I need to make the cut to where the plywood and the floor joist meet or do I pry up the plywood?

Anyways, I will be using the tray that comes with the center drain, reason being if I choose the offset drain, the slope will even be steeper and harder to tile. I am doing to be tiling mosaic tiles for the shower floor so hopefully there won't be any problems!
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