Tub Shower Combo Remodeling (Quick Tips)

Tub Shower Combo Remodeling (Quick Tips)


A lot of homes have tub shower or bathtub
shower combos. What those are are bathtubs that also serve as a shower. It’s very common
here in Pittsburgh. It might be in your location as well. And what’s nice about them is if
you’ve got kids or you like taking baths, you’ve got the bathtub, but you can also
stand up in the bathtub and take a shower. And if you want to remodel your tub/shower
combo, this video today is going to have several tips for you. So let’s dive into the first
several tips. I also wanted to let you know that right here,
you can click on this and you’ll be able to get our guide on how to remodel a tub/shower
combo in seven days or less. It’s pretty cool. It’s a very, very short guide with
all the tips that I’m going to be sharing with you today just in a written format.
When you demo an existing fiberglass tub surround, you want to cut it into three sections: the
main wall, the plumbing wall, and then the back wall. Once you get the fiberglass surround
out, now it’s time to take on the bathtub. You’ll want to remove all of the plumbing
fixtures. And if you’ve got a cast-iron tub, the best course of action is really smashing
it to a whole bunch of tiny pieces. There’s really no better way to remove a cast-iron
tub. They’re super heavy; typically about 300 lbs. So get yourself a good sledgehammer
and do that. Also if you want to see really great demo
videos on how to remove a bathtub, we’ve got two here on YouTube. The first one you
can watch right here. That’s Steve showing you how to remove the fiberglass surround
in three sections. And in the second one is me removing a tub/shower combo in a rental
property that I own. And that’s a really good demo video as well.
On Day 2 of remodeling a tub/shower combo, you should really assess the subfloor. You
might even be able to do this on Day 1, depending on how quickly you work and how much time
you have left in the day. You want to make sure that the subfloor is perfectly level
or as level as possible for your tile or whatever finished surface you’re going to be putting
in the bathroom. We recommend tile because, first of all, you can put DITRA underneath
it or DITRA Heat or even Flexbone by Ardex and completely waterproof the subfloor. And
then you can put your tile over that. And there’s three membranes: Flexbone, DITRA,
and DITRA Heat. They also prevent your tile from flexing and cracking over time, so they’re
really good. If you have deflections in your subfloor—let’s
say it’s a little bit spongy—you’re going to have to assess the structural integrity
of it. And if you have to remove it, remove it and put in new subfloor per your local
building code or per the DITRA or Flexbone handbooks.
Now if your subfloor is really in need of repair, you can sister joists together if
somebody actually hacked through the existing joists to fit the plumbing pipes in there.
We do have a really great video in one of our courses that you can check out, and that
shows you how to completely fix a subfloor that has sagged over time and how to bring
it up to level by sistering joists together. But again, on Day 2, you want to address the
subfloor and make sure that it is as level as possible. Like I said, you may be able
to fit this in on Day 1. And before I forget and move on to Day 3,
you can also use a self-leveler on subfloors that aren’t structurally compromised. And
self-levelers are great for making sure that the floor is actually as level as possible
without doing anything to the existing framing. On Day 3 you’re going to be setting the
tub and the tub plumbing. Now the nice thing about making sure that your subfloor is level
is when you set the tub, if the subfloor is level, then hopefully your tub will be level
too. It’s absolutely critical that the tub will be level because if it is not, it may
not drain properly. So get your tub nice and level. Check it with a 4-foot level. And then
you can actually start on the plumbing inside the plumbing wall of your tub/shower combo.
Before I move on to the plumbing part, if you’ve got an acrylic tub, you want to pre-drill
through the acrylic tub lip and then mount it to the studs using galvanized screws or
whatever screws are recommended per the directions. If you’ve got a cast-iron tub or a steel
tub, you can use galvanized screws and washers to secure the tub to the studs. In some cases,
you may need a stringer, which is just a 2×4, underneath the tub lip to support the tub.
Americast tubs by American Standard often require this. So just read the directions,
and that way you’ll know how to secure it to the studs. Now we do have a really great
video showing you how to install a Kohler acrylic tub. It’s about 26 minutes or so.
And we go through that step-by-step. You can watch that right here.
One of the main tips that we want to give to you when it comes to installing the tub
is to use 100% velar silicone sealant for all the drain connections in your tub. That
way if you don’t use plumber’s putty and you use silicone, you’re going to prevent
leaks within the bathtub. Now when it comes to the P-trap and making
all the connections for the drainage system for your bathtub, make sure you check on your
local plumbing codes for that. Once you have your tub set in place, now you can approach
the mixing valve and copper lines for all of the fixtures that your bathtub is going
to be using. The other tip that we have for you is you
can actually use a combination of PEX and copper in some instances so that you don’t
have to solder inside your plumbing wall in your tub shower. So we recommend if you can
do this, do it because that way you’re eliminating the chances of actually creating a fire in
your bathroom via the soldering process. We always recommend that you check on your
local plumbing codes when you’re putting your mixing valve together because each locality
is going to have different stipulations for the height of the shower head, how high the
mixing valve can be off the tub deck, and the height of the tub spout. But in general,
at least here in Pittsburgh, the height of the tub spout is going to be anywhere from
three to four inches off the tub deck. The mixing valve will be anywhere from nine to
eighteen inches from the tub deck. And then the shower arm for the shower head is going
to be about 80 inches from the subfloor. Now when it comes to mixing valves, we like
a variety of different mixing valves. American Standard makes a great one. Delta makes a
great one. Kohler makes a great one. So we would say stick with the major name brands
when it comes to the mixing valves because that way if the cartridge actually goes bad,
they’ll probably replace it for the lifetime that you have the actual mixing valve. And
that’s great because those cartridges are not cheap. They’re anywhere from 50 to 100
bucks. So if you can get them for free, that’s always a good thing.
On Day 4 you can frame in your shower niche, and you can start the waterproofing process
of the tub shower or walls. Now when it comes to a shower niche, if you don’t already
have an existing shower niche, you can frame it just using standard 2x material. And you
always want to make sure that you have a good understanding of where you want your tile
to be in your tub/shower combo before you frame in the shower niche. Because the last
thing you want is for that shower niche to look wonky when it’s tiled. So always know
the size of your tile, the size of your grout joint, and the layout of your tile before
you frame in for the custom shower niche. Now when it comes to waterproofing, there
are a variety of different materials. You can go with KERDI Board, you can go with Wedi,
GoBoard, cement board. Whichever one you choose, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s
directions. We’ve got a great video on how to utilize KERDI Board right here; you can
check that out. We’ve got great videos on Wedi right here; you can check that out. And
if you’re using cement board, make sure you waterproof the cement board either using
RedGard, Ardex 8+9—which we have a video right there—or Hydro Ban to waterproof the
cement board. It’s water resistant, but it’s not waterproof.
Now on Day 5 you’re going to start your tiling process, and we always recommend that
you start the tiling of your tub/shower combo on the main wall, so the biggest wall in the
shower portion of your setup. And you always want to set your tiles on plastic spacers
that are on top of your tub deck. So here’s the deal: The reason why you need a little
bit of a gap between that tile and the tub deck is the tub is actually going to flex
a little bit, especially if it’s acrylic. So you have that little 1/16” or 1/8”
gap between the first row of tile and the tub, you’re going to fill that in with silicone
sealant so that it’s waterproof—number one. And that when the tub does flex, it won’t
break that seal. So always start your first row of tile on a solid, plastic spacer—not
a rubber one—and work your way up to the ceiling.
The other tip that we have for you is, again, know the layout of your tile, plan it on a
piece of paper, and don’t have a sliver of tile that’s less than 2” at the top
between the ceiling and the last row of tile. It’ll look wonky; you don’t want that.
On Day 6 you’re going to tile the plumbing wall and the third wall of your tub/shower
combo. Again, start the tiling process by having plastic spacers on the tub, and then
work your way up to the ceiling. Now if you need to cut holes for the tub spout and the
mixing valve, there are really great tools that help you do that quickly, efficiently,
and really well. So the first one is a diamond bit hole saw.
If you’ve got ½” copper, you can go with a 1” diamond bit hole saw by Milwaukee or
Bosch or any other brand that’s reputable. And that will give you a perfect circle in
your ceramic or porcelain tile. If you’re going to be cutting a large hole or a large
circle in the center of a piece of tile, we recommend that you use an angle grinder with
the appropriate porcelain blade. And we’ve got a really great video on YouTube that shows
you how to tile the plumbing wall of a tub/shower combo. You can watch that video right here,
and it will walk you through that step-by-step. Now the last wall is probably the simplest
one; it’s a back wall. And you would just finish that off very much like you did for
the main wall and the plumbing wall. So again, start first row of tile off the tub using
spacers and work your way up to the ceiling. Now if you want to save some money on the
tile, and you like a modern look, you can actually use Schluter profile instead of bullnose
tile. And they’re way cheaper, that is, the Schluter profiles are way cheaper and
easier to install. They’re about $20 for an 8-ft section. They come in a variety of
different finishes and colors. And we like them a lot. We think that you would, too.
You can actually use Schluter profiles to frame in shower niches as well.
Now on Day 7 you’re going to be grouting your tub/shower combo, and there are a variety
of different grouts, but here are some tips for you. Make sure there’s no thinset in
the grout joints. You should be cleaning out the grout joints as you tile anyway. But if
there is any thinset in the grout joint, you can remove that with a 5-in-1 painter’s
tool or a carpet knife. Just be careful not to, number one, cut yourself. Or put a perforation
in your waterproofing material behind the tile.
Also make sure there’s no thinset on the surface of the tile. So clean it off using
a white scrubby or a sponge. And now you’re ready to grout the tile.
So which grouts do we like? There are a variety of different ones out there. We really encourage
you to check out Mapei’s FA—so just “FA.” It’s a really great grout. Easy to use.
You have to be a little bit quick when you are using it. It’s got color consistency,
it’s resistant to stains, and you can use it on a variety of different tile types. So
check out Mapei’s FA. There’s also Bostic’s QuartzLock2; that’s
a urethane grout. It’s got some flexibility to it. Color consistency is always going to
be there for QuartzLock. And the nice thing is if you need to fill in a few spots that
you missed, you can do that because QuartzLock is premixed.
Ardex also makes a variety of different great grouts. You can go with the Ardex WA; that
is their epoxy grout. So if you really are concerned about staining, check out Ardex
WA. There’s also Laticrete’s SpectraLOCK,
and you can check that out too. So Laticrete SpectraLOCK. And that’s a nice epoxy grout
as well. There are a ton of different grouts out there,
but the main companies that we like are Ardex, Mapei, Laticrete, and
all those companies make great grouts. Just a small FYI, if you’re interested in
our free guide on how to remodel a tub/shower combo in seven days or less, you can click
right here and get it. It’s a pretty awesome guide. It’s very short and to the point.
It gives you a lot of tips and tricks in terms of technique, materials, and the tools that
you can use for this type of project. All these tips are going to help you remodel
a tub/shower combo. Now if you want more detailed video tutorials, and you’re going to be
doing a tub/shower combo sometime soon, and you want help from us, you should check out
our online course right here. And that’s called “How to Remodel a Tub/Shower Combo,”
and we have 20 awesome lessons for you with over 40 step-by-step video tutorials which
newbies can follow. If you’re more advanced, they’ll help you out with that as well.
And the nice thing is we’ll always be there to answer questions for you. So again, you
can click right here to check out that course. That’s it for today. Thanks so much for
watching this video, these quick tips in our video. We hope that you like them. And definitely
you can check out all of our other videos on YouTube as well. And I hope you have a
great day. Take care.

14 thoughts on “Tub Shower Combo Remodeling (Quick Tips)

  1. Excellent video and perfect timing! I'll be remodelling my bathroom soon and this really breaks down the process perfectly! Thank you and keep up the good work!

  2. Your video's are super helpful. Thank You. I have a couple questions I an doing a complete bathroom with tile floors , 5' ft up the walls in the main walls and around complete tub & shower combo The floor is 12" squares but the walls are " Subway Mosaic Travertine wall tile. Would you do the floor first and how would you go about doing the walls and tub surround.. I know its a lot to ask but your advise is really appreciated. I am in Pgh also

  3. I have an old cast iron shower pan I want to replace with a Kerri pan. I'm trying to figure out how to remove it from the floor. Its small 32X32 with a fiberglass surround.

  4. Can't believe I've been watching your videos for some time and never heard you say you're in Pittsburgh… So am I! Small world… Thanks for the great videos… I'm a diy homeowner and use your videos for reference all the time!

  5. Yesterday I started my big bathroom removed. I removed everything to the studs, so this video was perfect timing. I have been watching all your videos' Thank you so much for this. I will definitely be posting my work on your facebook page. This is my first remodel

  6. All the waterproof board video references were missing if you want to update.. Actually all the pointed to links seem to be missing!. -Lee

  7. Great video!!
    Very helpful!!
    I have a question for you if you can help.
    I gutted my 1960’s bathroom. Removing an inch and 1/2 of tile and mortar bed from the floor.
    I plan to use self leveler as I am on a slab just to raise it to the height of the rest of the floor as much as possible.
    My question is should I run the leveler under my bathtub?
    Thanks

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