Tub/Shower Walls

Discussion in 'Walls and Ceilings' started by Russ, Mar 13, 2019.

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  1. Mar 13, 2019 #1

    Russ

    Russ

    Russ

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    Ok, long story, but I'll try this:

    Short version -
    Can I replace a section of wall behind the tile where my shower fixtures are located without ending up redoing my entire bathroom?

    Long version -
    About two weeks ago, I was cleaning the tile in the shower and two tiles broke loose. There was mold/mildew behind the tiles growing in the grooves in the mastic base behind them, indicating a leak. I cleaned the visible area, but noticed that it felt really soft. I was concerned, but stuck the tiles back in temporarily with a little tub caulking. The following week, cleaning the tub again, and the tiles came out again, this time taking adjacent tiles with them, revealing more moldy/mildewy mastic. I also found a small hole in the mastic that goes right through the wall, through which I learned that the wall itself seems to be nothing more than cardboard (or some sort of moderately soft pressed or processed cellulose board). I've tried contacting a few local contractors, but none of the ones in the phone book have voice mail and the one guy I did manage to get ahold of gave me this grumpy old man vibe and told me that I'd be better off doing the repair myself and not bothering him. I'm hoping there is some miracle way to replace the offending part of the wall without turning this into a "onion peel" project where every task completed just results in twice as much repair in the long run. I haven't seen the studs behind the wall, but I fear that they might have something growing there as well. If there is, how do I get rid of it? Even if there isn't, how am I going to repair the tile when the wall is fixed without having to rip out all of the rest of the tile? If I have to end up replacing all of the tile, and I can only work on this on nights and weekends, and I have no earthly idea what I'm doing, how long will it be before I can take a shower again?
     
  2. Mar 13, 2019 #2

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    In my first old fixer-upper I had only one bathroom and needed to do some extensive work to the bathroom. I bought what they call a hunting camp shower it was just a cheap shower that snapped together came with all the hardware and was under 100 bucks. I put it together in the basement and ran the drain pipe to the sump drain for the washing machine. I put two Y adapters on the washing machine hot and cold and ran hose to the shower. It was a temporary shower for the bathroom project. I used the kitchen sink to scrub our teeth and the toilet I left in place and removed it only when I needed to work around it. that was 30 years ago and I used the basement shower for 25 years after that.


    IMO it is sometimes 10 times more work to try and work a small part of a big problem than jump right in and do it right. You could try carefully ripping down just that one shower wall and rebuilding that. That would be the minimum I would do as water runs down hill and if it is bad high up it is bad all the way down.


    Think about a backup plan for a shower and then do it right would be my advice. It is not that hard of a DIY project.
     
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  3. Mar 13, 2019 #3

    Russ

    Russ

    Russ

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    I hadn't thought of a temporary shower. I'll have to look into that. Before things started falling apart, I toyed with the idea of installing a small shower in the half bath downstairs (which currently has no hot water and a "sink twice" over the toilet tank), but thought that project would require more than a few skills I don't have in my set.

    I think I'll ultimately have to replace my piping in the bathroom anyway (current piping is galvanized and considerably old), and I would like to have an access point or two with individual shut-off valves (right now there's only the one rather-ancient gate [or maybe globe?] valve in the basement for the entire house).

    What is currently the most commonly recommended material for shower walls? It's been years since I've cut and lay tiles, and I didn't mess with any circular holes. Is there something vinyl that is like a facade of tiles, but easier to fit and keep clean?
     
  4. Mar 13, 2019 #4

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    We bought this old place 5 years ago and it was a short sale that had been sitting 2 years without heat and nothing done to prep for freeze. It was piped like your house old pipe some copper and some PVC all was old and messed up. I spent two days trying to fix it and gave up. I redid the entire 2 story house from the main in with PEX in a day and a half with an 85 year old helper. I put in a manifold system and ran homeruns to everything. Now I have one location to shut each thing off one at a time. PEX is very DIY easy to learn and I didn’t have any leaks.


    As to tub surrounds tile and other there are all kinds of things out there. I did a 3 piece fiberglass one and it went pretty well. Tile is what everyone wants now I guess.
     
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