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Old 06-13-2009, 09:11 PM  
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Default Removing Carpeted Step into Bathtub

I am going to re carpet the master bedroom/bath area. I am considering removing the ugly worn out carpeted step into the tub in my master bathroom. I would like the side of the tub to be flush, I'll have it tiled. Any advice on this project?


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Old 06-13-2009, 10:32 PM  
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Originally Posted by Naanccy View Post
I am going to re carpet the master bedroom/bath area. I am considering removing the ugly worn out carpeted step into the tub in my master bathroom. I would like the side of the tub to be flush, I'll have it tiled. Any advice on this project?

1. What do you mean by "I would like the side of the tub to be flush,"
Flush with what?

2. If there is no "side" to your bathtub, then it's probably supported on the exposed side with a wood structure under/behind that old worn out carpet.

And, it's just a lousy idea to install ceramic tile over wood, especially in an area that's exposed to moisture. The reason why is that wood is a natural material that swells and shrinks as it's moisture content changes. Ceramic tiling, on the other hand, is pretty rigid and inelastic. Ceramic tiling simply doesn't have the elasticity to accomodate any dimensional change in any wood it's stuck to, nor does it tolerate any bending of the wood structure supporting your tub (which can get pretty heavy when it's full of water).

Typically, what's done to address this problem with wood swelling and shrinking is that a "tile backer board" will be nailed or screwed down over the wood and the tile installed to that tile backer board. That way, even if there are stresses between the wood that's wanting to swell or shrink, and the tile backer board that isn't interested in swelling or shrinking, the tiles that are stuck to the tile backerboard aren't aware of those stresses, and therefore the grout lines between those tiles have no reason to crack. It's very much like walking along a fault line the day before the earthquake. There can be tremendous stresses in the Earth's crust below where you're standing, but as long as the ground beneath your feet isn't moving, you're not aware of them.

So, look at your tub installation and determine how replacing the existing carpet with a layer of tile backer board and then a layer of tiles for a total of about an inch (at least) would affect things.

And, keep in mind that installing the tile backer board won't strengthen the wood structure supporting the tub. That's gotta be strong enough that it doesn't move (hardly at all) when you fill the tub with water and jump in. That's cuz any bending of the structure under that weight is gonna give your ceramic tile grout joints a really good excuse to crack. Ceramic tile grout is lousy for elasticity, and even a bit of bending means crushing or stretching, and both are gonna cause the grout lines to crack.

If you decide to stay with carpet around the tub, then I'd opt for a 100% Olefin carpet. The reasons are two fold:

1. Olefin (in chemistryspeak simply means a double bond between carbon atoms; anything with a double carbon=carbon bond is called an "olefin". Olefin fiber is made by polymerizing ethylene and propylene gasses at high temperature so they break those double carbon=carbon bonds and form a plastic similar to polypropylene. Both Olefin fiber and polypropylene are non-polar. Neither one will attract polar molecules like water. If you put a drop of water on a piece of polypropylene plastic or an Olefin fiber, the water will just bead up like it does on an oiled frying pan. As a result, Olefin is the most water resistant fiber that carpets are made of. And, as a direct result, it is also the carpet fiber that's most naturally resistant to water based stains, which the vast majority of food stains are. Consequently, dyed foods like Kool-Aid won't stain a polypropylene carpet because the dye molecules are polar, just like water, and aren't attracted to Olefin fibers because they're not also polar. A polar material, like nylon or polyester will be stained by Kool-Aid.

2. You CANNOT dye Olefin fiber by conventional dyeing methods. (That's cuz conventional dying methods rely on polar dyes that are attracted to polar materials.) The only way you can impart colour into an Olefin fiber is to add tiny solid coloured particles (called "pigments") to the molten Olefin plastic before drawing it into a fiber. This method is called "solution dyeing" and it's best thought of as being analagous to the raisins in raisin bread. Since the colour of Olefin fiber isn't on the surface of the fiber (like dyed nylon or polyester), but encased in the Olefin plastic, then you can use bleach straight out of the jug on a 100% Olefin carpet without harming it.

I own a small apartment block. Some candles are pigmented (just like solution dying) and others are made by adding dye to the molten wax. With the pigmented candle wax, you can remove a candle wax stain just by freezing the wax and scraping it off the carpet. However dyed candle waxes
WILL leave a dye stain on a polypropylene carpet, even after removing the candle wax. However, because it's only the dye that's sticking to the surface of the Olefin fiber, you can bleach that dye stain out of the Olefin carpet without affecting the colour of the carpet. I've used this trick many times as a landlord.

However, what the above ALSO means is that you can also kill mildew that grows in a 100% Olefin carpet that's wet much of the time by applying bleach directly to the carpet without harming the carpet. Similarily, if the kids aren't careful with their "aim" when pee-ing in the toilet, you can dis-infect the 100% Olefin carpet around the toilet base with bleach without harming the carpet.

NOW, if you wanna pay more to get a longer lasting carpet, consider a solution dyed nylon carpet.

DuPont has spent a king's ransom trying to make their Antron 6,6 nylon stain resistant, and truth be known, they haven't succeeded. The smarter way to make nylon stain resistant is by making solution dyed nylon fiber. That is, nylon fiber with tiny coloured particles inside the fiber rather than an coloured dye on the outside of it.

When companies make solution dyed nylon fiber, they realize that the plastic they're using is still a polar material and will by highly subject to water based stains. Consequently, when making solution dyed nylon fiber, you first add the pigments to your molten plastic, then you draw it into a fiber, THEN YOU DYE THAT FIBER WITH A CLEAR AND COLOURLESS DYE. That clear and colourless dye clings to all the polar sites on the surface of the fiber, leaving no polar sites for stains to cling to.

Since solution dyed nylon carpets also have the pigments encased in nylon plastic (remember the raisin bread), you can also use bleach straight out of the jug on them as well without harming the carpet colour.

Note, however, that if you do remove a stain from a solution dyed nylon carpet with bleach, the bleach will also disintegrate the clear dye applied to the outside of the fiber, rendering the bleached area now susceptible to water based stains. But, if that same area does get stained again, you can still also remove that second stain with bleach as well, this time not doing any harm (cuz the clear dye was already destroyed from the first application of bleach).

And, of course, you should realize that you have little to lose and much to gain by getting a car floor mat size sample of 100% Olefin carpet and a solution dyed nylon carpet and torturing them both with bleach (straight out of the jug).

Right now, only commercial carpets are made from solution dyed nylon, and almost all commercial carpeting is level loop. That's cuz the natural resilience of a loop makes for the longest wearing pile type. Nylon is the strongest fiber used to make carpet from, so a nylon carpet is the slowest to "wear out". Thus, a level loop nylon carpet is the longest wearing carpet you can buy.

In your case, I recommended an Olefin carpet because the carpeting around your bathtub would hardly be considered a "high traffic area". You generally don't walk on that carpet with shoes on, and it's not subject to a lot of grit the way carpeting in entranceways is. So, you really don't need the longer wear characteristics of nylon. Any carpet in that application will last a long time.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 06-13-2009 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:38 AM  
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I think he meant he wants to tile the side of the tub...
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