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Thread: Replace 60 yr old shower?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member gmilton's Avatar
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    Default Replace 60 yr old shower?

    I've got a downstairs shower that gets very little use - over the 18 yrs we've owned the house - maybe its gotten an average of five uses per year.

    Now, because the main upstairs bath is under repair the whole family (5) has suddenly started using it. Problems are now evident - the grout on the floor has gone, and when I opened the drain cover, there was a nearly solid hair plug - I do not think the shower drain was ever cleaned since 1948 when it was coverted from an estate outbuilding to a residence.

    I thought I could just replace the floor (the pan is not leaking into the basement, as near as I can tell, but is pooling in one spot), but the advice I've gotten is to do a total tear-out - its a lead pan construction, and there appears to be some kind of gap between the drain and pipe - weep holes? though I'm told unlikely given the vintage of the installation.

    So is a tear-out mandatory or can I simply reslope and retile?

    Any opinions would be most welcome.

    Gabe

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member finnegan's Avatar
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    Default

    I am not sure of exactly what you have in mind. You can try to remove the existing floor tile, float the low spot and retile, but I expect that once you start popping tiles off the floor you are going to damage or run into problems with the walls. If the bathroom is not going to be used once the main bath is complete, can you just clear the drain and regrout? 60 years is not a bad lifespan for a bathroom. It is probably time to do a full renovation. After the main bath is done, you will be used to living around the construction.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The lead pan is probably flat on the floor which is not the current (or even then) approved (but common) way to do things. Check out www.johnbridge.com and you'll get all your tiling questions answered. A proper tiled floor has a preslope, a waterproof liner, a final slope, then tile. Then, any water that gets through the grout and cracks, flows to the liner, and with its slope, drains to the weep holes in the drain assembly. If the liner is flat on the floor, any accumulated moisture sits there. If it is not used often, it isn't a big problem, but used regularly, it soon starts to smell like a swamp, since it can't dry in between uses.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member gmilton's Avatar
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    Thanks to both Finnegan and Jim

    You're dead on - water does pool and take a long time to drain out - and yes, I will be very used to living in a construction site - I'm just finishing up the kids bathroom - major redecorating and minor rehab, have to redo two bedrooms, waiting to start the master bath and then this downstairs -- of course the kitchen needs an entire redo as well (former doggy tore up floor, appliances are shot or headed that way and formica counter top is delaminating) maybe I should sneak off into the night....

    Net - just doing the floor is a waste of time and money - I don't have much of either...

    do I have to change the old cast iron pipe in the floor or can I adapt it to modern plumbing fittings? Also, do I have to change the old two valve setup to one of them one handled thingees? Is that really within novice/intermediate dyi status ?

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member gmilton's Avatar
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    Default Shower side spray

    Not wanting to start another thread, but this actually relates to a different shower in my house - this one has six side sprays that hardly work - I removed the heads (most or totally clogged.) When I turn on the water now, it comes out of only the bottommost one nearest the feed - just a dribble elsewhere.

    Can I repair this (without taking down the whole shower) or is the whole thing plumbed wrong and so I should just forget the whole deal and seal it off?

    Thanks,

    Gabe

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