Bought a house with a micky-mouse bathtub with an outside kit to add shower head. I would like to keep a shower in the bath room, but need to first either (1) plumb in a real shower head or (2) replace the existing converted head to something less tacky looking (the bath faucet does not fit up against the wall - so about 2 inches of exposed pipe shows from the wall to the where the bath faucet is screwed on to the pipe).
What are the pros and cons and costs of having a plumber fix this - or just upgrading to a nicer converter kit (are there sizes to fit any bathroom)?
Also, the walls are not waterproofed for a shower, just a tub, so the tile needs to removed and replaced with high tiled walls all around the tub. Can I remove existing tiles without damaging walls? Or should I plan on having this project down to the studs to properly waterproof for shower use?
I'm not too experienced DIY but have two bathrooms, so some time on my hands and desire to keep cost relatively low.
It's difficult to know where to begin with the limited information you have provided.
I suggest you take pictures of the bathroom as well as issues that you have described and post them here. Realize though that each picture that you take must be less than 100 Kb to be posted here otherwise it will not appear. If your pictures are larger than this then post them at a Free site such as http://www.Photobucket.com where you can upload all your pictures. Then post a message here and then include links to your pictures at Photobucket.com. By doing this others will have a better idea of your present situation and can offer better assistance to you to achieve your desired goal.
Issues with the faucet for the bathtub will require that you have access to the plumbing in the wall that feeds water to the faucet. This will require that you either open the wall up in the bathroom to expose the plumbing to make the changes or open up an access panel behind the plumbing which may be in a closet, hallway, etc. Doing the latter allows you to always make changes to the plumbing should you need to make changes or repairs and also leaves the walls as they presently are. The only time this is not possible is when the wall behind the bathroom faucet is on an outside wall.
As to the spigot of the tub being exposed 2" from the wall, the water line feed needs to be shortened. You don't mention the type of plumbing your water lines are. Are they galvanized metal, copper, pvc plastic, etc? This may have a bearing on what else you may need to do to make the changes that you desire. If the pipe is copper, it is a matter of removing the spigot, cutting back the pipe the correct distance and then reinstalling the spigot.
As to making the walls waterproof, you have 2 choices.
You could leave the walls as they are and install a tub surround to the walls carefully sealing all joints of the surround to the tub and in the corners. This would allow you to leave the walls as they are but would require very careful sealing of the surround to prevent water damage in the future as well as checking the seals every couple of months and making any needed repairs.
If you wish to tile the walls you will need to rip the drywall from the stubs. Then add a vapour barrier then install cement board and finally a waterproof membrane prior to tiling. Once this is done you may tile the walls. Tiling a wall and finishing it with grout doesn't make the wall waterproof. That is the reason a waterproof membrane is added and needed before the tile. You might best check out the link below to learn more about making your shower area waterproof if you plan to tile the area.
The above products are available at home depot and other big box stores.
Others may have additional suggestions.
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