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Thread: changing shower enclosure

  1. #1

    Default changing shower enclosure

    I have an original 70's fiberglass tub & shower surround. It has a cracked area near the faucet that showed obvious repair when I bought the house 8 years ago and is now much worse & probably leaks. The whole tub/floor feels weak, even to me & I weigh 100 lbs. So after all that - I am thinking of how to replace it, and think I want to do some sort of custom tiled shower & tub. If I were to rip out the existing surround (I am sure easier said than done), is there some sort of frame underneath? Do you essentially build a tub with plywood, then backerboard & tile? We have done several projects successfully and I would like to do most (or all) of the work ourselves.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    You can tear the whole thing out - I recently did that. I used a reciprocating saw to cut it into smaller pieces, then carried it out of the house. It actually came out fairly easily. Depending on what you want to replace it with will depend on what you have to do. You could fit an acrylic, cast iron, or othertype of tub, either "normal" or whirlpool, air, or combo. Then, assuming you want it to also function as a shower, tile the walls surrounding it. Depends on how much you want to spend, and how handy you are whether you can/want to do it yourself. Many people do. Underneath the one-piece fiberglass tub surround, there probably isn't anything on the walls. If you go with tile, you'd have to put on cement board. Suggest you take a look over at www.johnbridge.com if you decide on tile.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    Default Shower Enclosure Fun

    You can't find the answers until you get down and dirty and remove the old shower stall. Don't be shy, tear it out with no mercy. If you can leave the plumbing, that's good, but you may want to relocate the faucet handles, drain, shower head, etc.

    Once you have the old one removed and any wall material behind it removed you will have a Blank Slate with which to work, and then you can see what you need to do. If it needs any floor bracing, wall studs you will know. If you want to do tile, you will need to line the area with greenboard, a water resistant version of sheetrock, waterproof it, and then you tile it. What you can find these days in prefabricated fiberglass is pretty incredible, but I agree with you, tile is the way to go, but it takes a bunch more time.

    The bottom line is tear the old stuff out and don't be shy! Remove everything and look at the empty spot you have and visualize how you can rebuild it. It's Fun!

    Wally

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Forget the greenboard...use cement board if you are going to put up tile and it is a shower. If it is only a tub, then it really doesn't matter that much. Greenboard is a waste of time around a shower. Check out www.johnbridge.com, and there you will find people that do this daily as pros...their opinion of greenboard is the same. If you want to avoid using cement board, look into something like Kerdi from www.schluter.com.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    Let's not confuse the poor lady! I had a brainfart and just said greenboard without thinking. Obviously go to your local home supply center and ask for a wallboard material that is suitable for wet environments. Cement Board is correct as the previous contributor has said. I am a maintenance supervisor of a large 30 year old apartment complex and have a few apartments to get rent-ready. These are complete remodels and I will be using cement board and waterproofing them before installing cast iron tubs and fiberglass panel covers for the shower walls.

    Wally

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default shower

    If you do not do the floor portions EXACTLY right, you will have a shower that leaks and will have to be redone. I am not sure if I would recommend that a "newbie" do a tiled shower unless he/she was using a manufactured floor pan and just tiled the walls.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Spend some time over on John Bridge's forum...lot's of people do it the first time correctly. Read up on it, ask questions, and don't rush it. If you are at all handy and can follow instructions, you can do it, but it will probably take longer than you think it will! So, if it is your only bathroom, consider having it done, or get friendly with a neighbor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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