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Tub and Shower Q's & A's

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Elevating shower pipe and nozzle

Have just purchased a home with short showers! Will have to stoop over to wash/rinse hair etc. The wall is tiled, and is in good shape. Is there an economical way to raise the shower head up a couple of feet without redoing all of the tiles?

Do you have access to the other side of the wall where the shower is? Is it a closet? Without messing up the tile, you can extend it inside the wall and just make a new hole for the new shower head. The old hole can be covered with new tile, or a chrome cover plate.

Or

You can use chrome fittings, a 90 deg elbow and short length of chrome pipe to the new shower height.

Or

You can use an extender such as "Hi-Lo" shower head check http//www.Tjader.com 

Or

you could always just hook up a hand held shower nozzle.

 

Shower drain pan

I have taken a bathtub out of my bathroom and would like to install a shower instead.. the problem is I have been given several suggestions that don't make sense when it comes to the drain going into the floor.. I was told to use a drain that has tiny holes on the side and to use a plastic liner and to pour concrete on top of the liner and that when I poured concrete it would go over the liner... however, I don't understand this process.

You have a few problems to deal with. The tub had the drain on one end; a shower drain should be near the middle of the pan. This can be easy or difficult to deal with, depending on how the drain runs and how the floor joists are laid. Tub drains are usually 1 1/2" I.D. pipe, though, and a shower should be 2" I.D.; can you make that change? Also, it sounds as though you want a tiled shower. Proper preparation of the pan (liner) and drain is not a good DIY project. You might be better off with a precast base if you have room for it; otherwise, it's time to call a pro. It's better to have it done right and do it once than to save a few bucks on the shower now only to spend two or three times as much later to redo that plus patch ceilings, walls, and floors below it when it leaks.

The Process of making a mud Shower pan is more involved than can be explained here is this short limited space. Sorry, but you can find that information in a good tile book, the older the better as most of the men that used to make those pans are retired. The plastic liner must be 6 to 8 inches above the thresh hold (step in) and provides a membrane to make the shower water tight. The base must slope to the weep holes in the drain, and provides gravel or broken tile to keep the holes open. Fold the membrane and don't nail or penetrate below the 6 to 8 inches above the thresh hold. The old liners were made of lead sheet and is very hard to get now and is very expensive when you can find it. Use the membrane material, and set the membrane between the clamping rings of the drain adapter. Make sure that the drain is tight to the floor and doesn't move.

 




Shower faucet water diverter

I have a water diverter in the shower that when I switch from faucet to shower does not allow all the water to flow to the shower head and some , part, of the water flows out the faucet. I've checked the diverter and its ok. I've been told I might have a piece of plastic or piece of welded/soldered metal in the manifold that is causing the obstruction. Could that be so and how can I get it out? The shower head is ok.

What make of faucet do you have? If it is Price Pfister there is a white plastic washer that goes between the stem and the stem body that may need to be replaced . It may not even be there but it should be . Any hardware store will have it.

If the valve was originally a tub & shower valve , the diverter could be clogged. You'll have to get into the top under the shower riser and remove it, GOOD LUCK!  

 

Shower-tub surround

How do you suggest removing a tub/shower surround without ruining the sheetrock underneath. We recently redid our bathroom only to have the tub surround crack. How can we remove the surround without ruining the sheetrock?

You should be able to remove it and not ruin the wallboard behind. How is it attached now? Is it screwed in and caulked in place? Or was it glued on. If it was glued on, you can gently pry it off. Cut and caulking seals with a knife. Any areas that get damaged can be fixed with a layer of joint compound smoothed even with the rest of the wall. If you are covering it with a new surround, you needn't be too fussy.

 

Shower stall pan replacement

The procedure to reinstall a shower floor pan sounds rather involved and this web page has convinced me not to do it myself.   Is the installation of a poured concrete shower pan done by a plumber or is it performed by another craftsman. Plus, any advise on choosing a qualified individual would help.

I just went through a master bath remodel and debated the same point myself. I wanted the custom look of a poured shower pan (didn't at all care for the pre-fab pans). I debated whether I'd do the show pan myself and got all the necessary tools and materials to do the job.  At the last minute, I chickened out and went with a tile craftsman to pour the pan (and subsequently set the tile, etc.). In retrospect, this is something I would have definitely done myself.

The following were the steps observed, which all seemed quite straight-forward.

Frame in the pan. Using 2x4s, frame in area for the shower. The drain should roughly be in the center to allow proper drainage, etc.

Remove drywall / durarock around shower area up to about 2 feet from the floor. This is done so the polyurethane line is installed behind the wall.

Install liner on the floor. Inset liner into the drain coupling (see manufacturers instructions - very simple). Fold liner at corners and tack into walls at least 6 inches above floor level. Resulting installation should be a wrinkle-free liner that covers floor area of the shower.

Re-install dura-rock on walls to about 1 - 2" above floor level so the cement poured into the pan will cover bottom of dura-rock. Use appropriate screws to secure to wall studs.

Pour the pan. Using standard cement (wouldn't suggest fast-drying), pour into the liner area and work from the walls - corners towards the drain. Ensure enough space is left at the drain so the tile (and mud beneath) that is installed will be even with the top of the drain cover. This should be about 1/4" below the top of the drain cover to accommodate the tile coming up to the drain from the cement. The pitch from the walls to the drain need only be fairly slight, I'd guess about 1/4" or slightly more per foot.

Again, bottom line, this is not that complicated and should take less than 4 hours. Most work involved preparation, like mixing cement, etc.

 

Shower diverter

When I use the shower, water also comes out of the spout lessening the water to the show head. Have replaced the bathtub spout but it has not prevented the water from still coming out. Any suggestions?

If the diverter is in the spout, then replacing it should have fixed the problem(??). If the diverter is a separate item (e.g. a knob you twist), then replacing the spout just gives you a new spout - the problem is in the diverter.

 

Tub Leaking 

I have a sunken tub- 17 years old. My kitchen nook is below it and that ceiling has water spotting. I recaulked the tub and that seemed to work for several months but now I see a small water spot again. The tub probably does need to be replaced, it has 2 spots of porcelain that are wearing down to metal. What can I expect to pay for a job like that and what should I anticipate as a response to the leak problem?

If caulking worked before, then you probably need a plumber and a carpenter. The plumber will get in and do the tear out, and install the new tub and necessary plumbing. Then the carpenter will install whatever type of waterproof material i.e.tile etc. you picked out for around the tub deck and walls. You should be prepared for a 3 to 4 day job total. Get both company's hourly rate and multiply it by 8hrs per day. Make sure your contractors are licensed and pull permits. This request helps you get a reputable contractor. Check your local building dept. Good Luck!

 

Bathtub Restoration

I have an old claw foot tub that needs to be refinished. What are my options and how is the quality of a refinished tub? The cast iron is only slightly rusted but the enamel has a lot of large chips and cracks.

In case anyone is wondering, here's what I found out so far. For $795.00 I can have the old tub sand blasted and painted on the outside and the inside re-enameled in a kiln fired operation. As good as new the man says! Seems awfully expensive, but I'm still researching.

 

Replacing bathtub faucet

I need to replace my bathroom faucet. It has dual handles, one for the cold and one for the hot. It seems to me that the entire wall may need to be torn down to replace this. Can anyone tell me if this will be necessary and just how do I do this.

When you changed the washers did you also change the seats? They are back in the faucet and you need a seat tool or allen wrench to take them out. Whenever you change the washers in your faucet always change the seats. Put pipe dope on the threads of the seat. Also, if the end of the stem is worn you can get seat cups to hold the washer.don't give up it might be repairable.

However, if you do replace the valves, there shouldn't be a need to take out the entire wall. Symmons makes a retro-fit kit for dual handle tub faucets like you described. You only have to cut out an area around the tub faucet, then disconnect and remove the handles and repipe the supplies into a single shower valve. The kit comes with a cover plate sized to fit the opening you must cut away.

 

Shower Faucet

Just the cold water handle broke off my shower , but the center of the handle is still attached. The handle has been there for about 20 years and is pretty stuck on because of the hard water. How would I go about getting it off?

They may a special tool for removing the handles (and would work on just the part that broke off). You could also try to soak the part in a strong vinegar solution (actually, pure vinegar works best). Do this by soaking a rag, and then hanging the rag from this part. The third option is by using heat (from a propane torch), but be careful that you don't overdo it.

 

Glazing a bathtub

I would like any tips that you may have for glazing a bathtub.

Once before I attempted to refinish a bathtub. I bought an extremely good "epoxy" paint (2 parts, had to mix before applying). I cleaned the tub by the instructions, roughed up the surface and then used a "tack cloth (sticky cloth)" to get rid of any dust particles prior to applying the paint. I then applied the paint (brush) and let is sit for 5 days prior to using it.

I will tell you that the job looked nice. Other than a few brush marks, and the fact that it had no shine, I was satisfied, and it sure looked better than the original tub. All was fine and dandy until my daughter was born. As a baby, we would bath her in the tub with one of these special devices which held to the bottom of the tub with "suction cups". Needless to say, the suction cups pulled all my hard work off the original tub surface -(.

One process which has been proven to work, but not available as a DIY, is known as "perma-ceram". It is a process where a professional comes in and applies a ceramic coating to the tub, and can also do the walls (but you loose the extra coloring of the grout when it is done). I have known it to be quite successful when done properly by a reputable dealer, and gives years of satisfaction.

 

Mildew on Caulking 

I just recaulked my bathtub with a good acrylic sealant about 3 months ago, and it is already starting to turn black. What could cause this? I have also been using that cleaner called tilex on the tub, is this a cause?

I believe it is mildew which is turning it black. I don't think it is the tilex. Clean the area with a mildew killer and then dry it daily to keep the mildew from growing.

 

Tub not draining 

I have a 40 year old house with a very slow draining bath tub. I have had several plumbers out to try to improve the draining. Each one ran their auger down for about 5 to 6 feet.Each time it would hang up. After putting a kink in the augers the plumbers gave up. The last to try felt like it was the stopper disk from the old stopper. We have had one crew improve on the flow but now it takes about 30 to 45 min to empty the tub. Can anyone tell me what my options are.

Unless these plumbers had a power auger that can actually cut through tree roots and such, you did not get your money's worth.  Call a rooter service, instead.  They should be able to cut through a rubber stopper like a hot knife through butter if in fact this is the problem.

another:

We just recently had the same type of problem. What I did was cut the drain line (under the house of course) and try to use a snake. When this failed we used a piece of pipe (1/2 galv.) that would reach the clog and then knocked it through with a hammer. Everything works great now and no problems.

more

If that is not the problem, and the rooter company is unable to get through, might want to read further.

Most 40 year old homes had cast iron and galvanized drain lines. They may be hitting a galvanized "T" fitting which is not allowing the snake to pass through. The clog might just be past a fitting, which is not reached by an ordinary snake. Since there is a vent line near the tub, the other method used for cleaning snakes, which utilizes water pressure and an expandable balloon, will not work. You basically have two options left.

The first one can be rather dangerous, although inexpensive. You need a chemical that can cut through soap scum. This chemical needs to be highly acidic, such as muriatic acid. Muriatic acid will quickly eat away at soap scum, but will also destroy any brass/chrome plating on the drain parts, so you need to take care to remove the stopper and use a funnel to divert the acid directly down the drain.

If this fails to work, your last resort will be to open up the ceiling below the tub, and replace the piping. This is a much safer alternative to the one above, but also much more costly. If you get to this stage, and have already used the acid in the drain, make sure you run as much water as possible through the drain to be sure not to have any acid residual on the pipes when they get removed. This will help prevent the person removing the piping from getting any chemical burns. Make sure they are aware that acid was used, so they may take any necessary cautions to protect themselves from the possibility of an acid burn.

 

Leaking shower drain

I have a 3'x3' one piece fiberglass shower over my first floor living room that leaks after using it. I have cut a hole in the wall behind the supply valve and there is no signs of leakage there. The P trap holds water and I have caulked the joints on the inside of the drain above the P trap. I suspect the drain pipe after the P trap is cracked. How can I remove the shower unit to fix this leak? Will I be able to re-install it afterwards?

Removing the shower unit will require extensive remodeling of the bathroom, since it was installed before any sheetrock work was installed. It is a job you really don't want to undertake unless you have to.

I would suggest that you open the ceiling in the living room. This will expose all the piping, as well as the drain connection on the bottom of the shower. At that point you can run the water in the shower and check for leaks. If you don't see any, then have someone take a shower above, while you check for leaks below. Don't laugh, remember that most people weigh between 120-200 pounds, and that makes a difference in these fiberglass showers.

These steps should help you to discover where the leakage is coming from. Before you do that, you might first want to check the outside of the shower after someone gets done using it. I have known the water to come outside, and then sneak through the crack in the sealant between the shower base and the floor.

 

Bathtub and Shower

How do I even start to remove a cracked tub/shower combo when the bathroom is just as wide as the combo? The tub is cracked because the subfloor underneath it was always weak when standing on it. 

Are you planning on keeping the walls and tile in the bathroom? If not, you should have a little wiggle room behind the head of the tub. Check to see if there's any drywall or cement board behind the tub itself. If not, you should be able to disconnect the plumbing and drain, then lift the tub from that end. The open wall should allow you to get the sides of the tub between the studs. Let me know how this works.

 

Replacing bathtub faucet 

I need to replace a dual handled bathtub faucet. I've tried replacing rubber gaskets and there is just too much wear, it has not stopped the leaking.  How do I go about doing this job? It looks to me like the entire shower stall (and perhaps the wall) would have to be removed...tell me this is not true!

When you changed the washers did you also change the seats? They are back in the faucet and you need a seat tool or allen wrench to take them out. Whenever you change the washers in your faucet always change the seats. Put pipe dope on the threads of the seat. Also, if the end of the stem is worn you can get seat cups to hold the washer.don't give up it might be repairable.

However, if you do replace the valves, there shouldn't be a need to take out the entire wall. Symmons makes a retro-fit kit for dual handle tub faucets like you described. You only have to cut out an area around the tub faucet, then disconnect and remove the handles and repipe the supplies into a single shower valve. The kit comes with a cover plate sized to fit the opening you must cut away.

 

Hole in tub and motion feeling in bottom of tub 

I have a fiber glass tub with a hole the size of a dime. Around the hole I can see where it can become bigger if not fix.   Second bath tub has a swaying, moving sensation when I get in. It feels as if it will fall through the floor.

When a fiberglass tub/surround is installed, it helps to build a box below around where it is going to be placed but inside the 60" x 30" area, just tall enough ( maybe 1x4's?) and fill this with SAND!! When the tub is set in, there should be enough sand to support the bottom of the tub and squish up against the box but not go over it. This makes a WORLD of difference!!



Tub Surround

We have decided to replace our tile surround with a surround. The grout developed leaks, etc. The
question is do we rip out the tile or put the insert over the existing tile. The wall board where the
grout went is damaged. Can we still install over it? Or do we rip off the tile and replace the wall board
with cement or water resistant wall board. My husband's father is planning to help and has the idea to use plywood. I think this is probably not the right idea. But, not knowing, I figured I would ask for some expert advise.


If you have any wall board that was damaged from water, it should probably be replaced. This, by default, means removing the tile. If you are installing a tub insert, it probably doesn't matter if you use sheetrock behind it. You might want to ask these questions in the plumbing area, but I believe cement board is required for tile and not for an insert.


One piece fiberglass tub/shower leak


I have a leak behind my fiberglass shower/tub. It seems to only leak when using the shower, not
the tub. Is there anyway to fix this without replacing the unit?


I am thinking you mean in the plumbing behind, not through the wall somehow.. right?
Is there a closet or inside wall on the other side of the shower's plumbing? In other words.. can you cut through from the other side to see what you are dealing with. That would be the best (and only?) option. Cut out a good size hole, big enough to work through in the area at the elevation of the water knob... then you can see where your leak is.. you may just need to sweat a joint back together in there.
Oh then of course you will have to patch the hole. If you cut the wall from stud to stud at the center of the studs, you will have support for the piece to get replaced there.


Tub Surround


We have decided to replace our tile surround with a surround. The grout developed leaks, etc. The
question is do we rip out the tile or put the insert over the existing tile. The wall board where the
grout went is damaged. Can we still install over it? Or do we rip off the tile and replace the wall board
with cement or water resistant wall board. My husband's father is planning to help and has the idea to use plywood. I think this is probably not the right idea. But, not knowing, I figured I would
ask for some expert advise.

If you have any wall board that was damaged from water, it should probably be replaced. This, by default, means removing the tile. If you are installing a tub insert, it probably doesn't matter if you use sheetrock behindit. You might want to ask these questions in the plumbing area, but I believe cement board is required for tile and not for an insert.

50" bathtub

Doesn't anyone make/sell a bathtub that isn't the standard 60" size? I can only fit a 50" bathtub in my bathroom. I currently have a shower stall, but I would really rather have a tub. Does anyone know who I can contact regarding smaller than average tubs?

Tubs can be had in 48", 54", 60" and 72"...If your rough opening does not accommodate any of these, it must be changed by framing to do so.

Like a garden tub or a corner 48x48. Visit the more common web sites. Go to any search engine and type in bathtubs you will get lots of places to look.

Bathtub replacement

Want to replace my old bathtub with a new whirlpool type. They come in standard 5ft. sizes like my existing tub, any tips on replacing the tub ?

Try to contact Tubs-N-Stuff online (Lake City, FL), Jeff will be glad to help you out with everything. We got a 59x48 unit complete from him. Another good one is a neighborhood store.

Removing glass tub doors

We recently our bathroom. My husband installed brass glass tub door enclosures and I really don't like the way they look Also the entire area is very difficult for me to clean. They've been up for 3 months. Can we remove them without doing any damage to our new white tub? also, can we fill in the holes of the new tile with grout? HELP!

Simply remove the sliding doors. Then just lift the top track and unscrew the sidewalls.... Use a utility knife to cut through and remove any caulk that holds the bottom track in place... Use a razor knife (scraper) to remove any leftover caulk. Fill any screw holes in tile with silicone caulk or grout.

Showerdiverter

Shower sometime puts out hot, sometimes lukewarm. If you move or jiggle the diverter handle, it works better. Plenty of hot water in the house. Please tell me a site I can visit to get picture of typical diverters and how to change them out.

Sounds like you need to replace your ball or cartridge in the faucet. They wear out over time and repeated use. This job is not difficult if you follow sequential steps. The repair/replacement kit comes complete, but make sure you buy the right brand for your faucet.

There is a good visual and step-by-step at www.hometime.com "plumbing and electrical".



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