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Old 12-20-2014, 11:08 AM   #1
JCubed
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"Contractor" bailed, is this bathroom started right? Where do I start?

*See end for short version* First post, trying to clean up what the person I thought was competent started, the more I researched as he went the more I realized things were being done wrong. Fortunately/Unfortunately he disappeared, luckily I had only paid him a small portion for the work he had started. Now a year later I'm picking up on this bathroom.

Anyways the plan was to take out the giant Jacuzzi tub from when the house was built (1987) and convert the entire area to a tile shower with a tub against the wall (tub inside of the shower but the heads are outside of the tub). Now I'm fully aware that having a bathtub in the shower is a potential cleaning nightmare and I'm comfortable with that.

So what has been done, this is a bi-level home, the master bathroom is in the basement so it sits on a slab. There is also a main drain that runs partially above the slab in this area, so as the previous bathtub was installed, he decided to build a platform to build the shower and tub on to avoid having to touch the house drain. So for the walls I already have the hardiboard, the plan for waterproofing the floor was using rubber waterproofing membrane which I already have, I would really prefer the kerdi method so I'm not opposed to going that route.

My primary question and concern is the bathtub that was supplied for this project. It is an alcove type with an apron in the front. Is it at all possible for me to water seal the apron to the shower floor? If that is possible would it forgo the requirement to bring the waterproof membrane up the wall (for the tub apron) since its a plastic? I would assume if that's the case then I would just started the shower floor slope right from the bath tub. I feel like I have exhaustively researched this and can't get a definitive answer if this tub would be suitable to build into a shower or if I should just get a drop in.
Sorry the photos are rotated not sure why that happened.

*Short Version: Building tile shower with bathtub against wall, can the bathtub shown be water sealed to the shower floor or should I get a drop in tub and build a wall up?

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Old 12-20-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
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Welcome, Jeremy.

I believe you have the proverbial snowball's chance with that design, but.........

First change you'd need to make is to abandon the traditional liner method of construction and change to a direct bonded waterproofing membrane method of constructing the receptor and walls. The Kerdi is one such, USG's Durock Shower Membrane is another, NobleSeal is a third. I've not mentioned any liquid applied membranes as I don't favor those as pan liners.

1. Where is the shower drain?

2. How do you plan to create the appropriate slope for your shower floor?

3. Do you plan to have a curb for the shower area?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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Jeremy, I rotated the photos for you. If you're using an Iphone to post, that seems to be a problem with the photos as of right now, as I understand it.

I can't figure out how you'd get a shower in that space with a wall in between, and still have access to the tub. Any opening that you would leave would have to be sealed off the same as if there were no wall there at all.

I understand what you're wanting to do, and probably why you're wanting to do, I just don't think there's a practical way to do it that will assure you of not having leaks somewhere.

If I absolutely had to have a tub there, I think I'd just get the biggest one I could find to fit in that space, adapt a tiling flange on it if it didn't have one, and make a tub/shower out of it. I know that sounds a lot simpler than what it would be, but that's what I would work toward.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback so far guys.
I added a photo of one of the examples I found online of what I'm trying do without as extravagant as a tub.
My two ideas were a pan style rectangle drain along the back, the wall with the window, or a standard shower drain in the center and slope the floor towards the drain. I ended up buying a square drain made for tile showers and under that wood floor next to the tub the drain is already run to the center of the platform.

I was going to use deckmud for the shower floor so I could create the proper slope to the drain. As far as a curb goes, curbless sounded like a great idea but I think that since I'm building this on a platform raised off the slab, I am using a curb at the entrance as seen in the photo example.

There is a little more than done in that photo as that was taken on one of his last few times working, he added a 2x4 laying flat right in front of the tub to I guess essentially build a curb in front of the tub. That's what caused me to really start thinking if that style tub could be used if the shower was going to be right next to it where you would walk through the shower to get to the tub. The reason I want to do it this way is larger shower size and easier accessibility to the shower, there will be no division between the tub and shower but the partially framed half wall and step up will divide the wet area from the bathroom, which will likely be using shower glass and a glass door.

I am more than willing to do what I have to to make it work if it means modifying the tub, changing to a different tub or reconfiguring things.
I will most definitely change the waterproofing method, I ended up with the rubber because it was readily available at home depot. Are any of the suggested direct bonding methods available at a local retailer like home depot or lowes? It seems Kerdi is only carried in select stores. I had planned to use RedGard on all the Hardiboard prior to tile.

Kman- Tub absolutely has to be there. Wife won't go without tub, we also have a fairly unique master bathroom that is divided into two rooms connected. Current shower is a TINY stall shower (probably 3x3) previous tub took the entire area shown and took about 1 hour to fill.
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:56 PM   #5
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Just curious cx. Why would you abandon the vinyl pan on this shower
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:04 PM   #6
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No way to use it against the face of his existing tub, Robert.
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:48 PM   #7
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Would I be able to use Kerdi or Nobleseal on the face of the tub?If I do would I still have to go up the standard height? The tub face has quite a few curves and angles to it so outside of the bottom 3 inches or so it would be pretty hard to tile the face of the tub.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:12 PM   #8
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It's not a good design and not very many setters would tile it the way you want to do it just because of the risk involved. The plastic tub front isn't designed for tile and may flex too much even if you do find a way to get thinset to bond to it.

The pic in post 4 has a top set tub, it's at a high risk chance of leaking too. It does seem a little wider than yours and the shower head shoots straight down which will help keep very much water from hitting the tub or deck.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:56 PM   #9
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Perhaps a roman tub built into the space might work better?

Or use the alcove or drop-in tub but have some glass walls installed to slightly segregate and to protect the space from the shower side.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:30 PM   #10
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The idea about glass walls is an interesting one I haven't thought of, how would I seal the glass wall to the shower floor though to ensure its waterproof?

Davy- I understand it's not a good design, is the whole thing a bad idea in general or would there be a right way to do it? I have seen many pictures online which is what gave me the idea, I will say though I have never seen one that uses an alcove tub with an apron, only drop ins or the style that can stand on their own.

I'm likely willing to invest what I have to in terms of correct supplies and hardware to make it work, I just don't want to invest into something that isn't possible period.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:48 PM   #11
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I was thinking of a drop-in tub and you put the glass on the tub surround. It could be a slider or a door. The glass company would install it and seal it properly...likely with clear silicone and/or clear vinyl as needed.

Maybe glass block could be installed instead of glass with a shower curtain over the opening.

A stand-alone tub could work although you'd need reasonable access around it for cleaning purposes, which doesn't sound like fun.
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:14 PM   #12
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In my own bath, I used an undermount tub. I built a Kerdiboard surround and sealed the tub to the Kerdiboard so it's fully waterproof. The Kerdiboard on the end ties into the Kerdi shower pan.
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Old 12-21-2014, 07:07 PM   #13
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building up the floor like that, just to avoid having to do the plumbing right is quite hack. Especially when you take into consideration that a plumber with the right equipment could have put in propper underslab drains in about 3 hours.

As for your water proofing dilemma, how about extending a kerdi shower pan behind the tub skirt and up a couple of inches. Basically the front of the tub tub will end up sitting in the shower pan.
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:30 PM   #14
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Jeremy, I'm not saying it's impossible to do. I was saying that the way you were trying to do it was a bad design. Maybe Kerdi on the tub face would work, I can't say.

Is the tub apron removable or is it part of the tub?
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:58 AM   #15
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The apron was a solid part of the tub, non removable.
Regardless, after the comment on building up the floor to avoid under slab drains really got me thinking about what else was done wrong as I didn't supervise every step the hired hand did.
I tore apart the deck that was built and found disaster, drain pipes that weren't glued at all, tub drain didn't have proper slope (hardly any slope at all). With that I started the deconstruction to go back to the slab floor. The tub is gone, all the drain that was made is gone, I am no longer going with my original idea as I dont feel comfortable with the difficulty in getting things water sealed and making them fit.

My new plan: Proper under slab drain, the entire area will be a tile shower with a built in bench, I will relocate the bathtub to the other half of the bathroom and have it completely unrelated to this project. Ideally I think I'm going to try and go with an entire kerdi system if I can find a shower tray/pre-sloped kerdi board that will fit my area. I'm sure this is going to create many more questions for me, I already have the John Bridge books on bathroom remodel so that has gotten me somewhat in the right direction.
I may post pictures of the "work" that was done to show how bad it really was this evening, pretty disappointing to see the money down the drain.
I really appreciate all the help so far.
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