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Unread 11-29-2022, 06:28 PM   #1
davinci513
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Is it a good idea to replace tub without replacing tiled surround?

Hello all,
I'm a GC in Cincinnati and new to this forum but I've been recommended to post this question here as it's a little weird in my industry.

I have a customer that wants me to replace his tub but does not want the tile redone as it's wrapping around a boxed out ceiling and will cost some decent money to replace it all. I've replaced a number of bathtubs but have always replaced the surround with them.

Here are the details:
He has a box of 80 4"x4" tiles that were leftover from initial installation.
The tub is 30x60 which should fit the same as the old tub (which it probably won't because things never go as planned)
I imagine the surround is currently on a mortar bed or cement board.

Can I effectively and without too much difficulty, remove the bottom row of tiles, remove the tub, replace the tub, and get everything to seal correctly and replace tiles with some of the extras?

Let me know what you think and if any of you have done this before. Thanks so much for the help.
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Unread 11-29-2022, 07:10 PM   #2
jadnashua
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It depends...you never know what's underneath until you tear things apart, and then, it's too late to go back!

Industry standards evolve as knowledge and materials science changes. The industry does not require tub surrounds to be waterproof, but you do need to manage the moisture both in liquid and vapor form. An older install may not have done that, and you don't really know what you're going to find until you get in there.

You can make it look okay, but getting it to function properly is where your liability comes in down the road.

Note, if you tear apart the tub, dealing with the plumbing would normally require making the valve and drain be up to current code, so that may involve more areas of tiling that may need to be dealt with.

If the walls are mudded, getting the old tile off may also require cutting some of that out to expose the tiling flange of the tub. That will mean a cold joint between the existing wall and the path, and potentially break any existing moisture control that might have been done.

Somebody else may have a better idea and more specific experience.
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Unread 11-29-2022, 07:39 PM   #3
cx
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Welcome, Ryan.

This is a fully tiled tub surround without a shower?
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Unread 11-29-2022, 07:48 PM   #4
davinci513
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I'm not sure if I understand what you mean but it's a bathtub with a showerhead and faucet combo kit.

Also jadnashua, good news is I can access the valve from the other side of the wall so no tiling necessary there. The existing holes are for a single hole diverter valve so good news there!
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Unread 11-29-2022, 08:09 PM   #5
cx
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Ryan, without knowing more about how your shower was constructed and waterproofed, or not, it's impossible to tell whether you have any hope of replacing the tub and repairing or creating the necessary waterproofing.

The wall/tub junction is a critical area for waterproofing and you need to know what you've got there before you can decide if you can do what the customer wants. Absent such knowledge, I'd recommend you say no to the project.

With such knowledge, it's likely my recommendation would be the same. "Want a new tub? Get a new shower to go with it, Ma'am."

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-29-2022, 10:28 PM   #6
jonchicagoland
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The liability of such a project really outweighs the cost of retiling a tub surround. I've never done this specifically, but I did recently agree to build a shower opening to fit the custom glass, rather than the other way around. It came out good, but the stress really wasn't worth it. There are reasons that things are usually done the way they are.
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Unread 11-29-2022, 11:26 PM   #7
Tool Guy - Kg
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What they all said so far. All I want to add is this: With many bathroom configurations, your only hope is if the tub’s wet wall and wall opposite to the wet wall are not common to the outer wall(s) to the bathroom. Only then would you be able to remove a minimal amount of wall tile on the bottom course to slide the old tub out and new one in. However, it’s much more common that one or both of these walls is/are common to the bathroom’s outer walls…so it’s much more likely that you have to tilt the old tub up into a standing position to remove it…meaning that tons of tile and substrate needs to be removed.

If you can share…
…a wide-angle picture would tell us in an instant if you’re battling a difficult job or an extremely difficult job. Like jadnashua said: it’s easy to make it visually look good…but it’s the long range performance that matters.
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Unread 11-30-2022, 07:11 AM   #8
davinci513
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Thank you guys for your responses. I absolutely agree that trying to do this is more trouble than it's worth. I will let the owner know that as a business owner I think that this is something that could possibly be done but not one that I would feel is a good service for me to provide.
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Unread 11-30-2022, 08:31 AM   #9
Just In Tile LLC
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Morning Ryan, I've done this before but it was for a tub I originally prepped and tiled. The guy I was working for has around 30-40 rent properties and I do all the tile work and repairs between them. I only say that to let you know I did this because I have a long and trusted relationship with the owner so on some occasions I have rolled the dice but in a way I'm still comfortable doing the job.

The tub rusted out so we changed it and I removed the first two rows of 4-1/4", broke out my mud, and carefully slid some roofing felt behind my old roofing felt and over the tub ledge, rewired it, mudded, and tiled. The hardest part was getting the tub in, having the walls mostly complete you lose that precious space you normally need. So I had some minor drywall repair on one side of the tub so I could slide it in.
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