We're replacing a 1980's original tub/surround fixture, a one-piece fiberglass unit that is very thick and solid (we can view it from the plumbing access panel), with foam in between the outer gelcoat layer and the fiberglass inside layer. It will need to be cut up to be removed.
We found a great tub and decided to install ceramic tile for the surround, since it will be better for resale and is not going to be that much more expensive than the surrounds we've been looking at, which are flimsy and look awful. We've built a deck and can handle just about any home repair the last 20 years has thrown at us, so we feel comfortable learning how to tile. We've watched a ton of YouTube videos, spent the weekend at various tile stores, chosen our tile, and plan on taking a class there Saturday morning.
We're getting a lot of different opinions on how to do this, however. Big Orange Box Store tile department guy said we can use greenboard, but we may want to paint it with a waterproofing compound first. The tile guy at the tile store said we can use hardiboard or cement board, whichever we want, and we can paint it with waterproofing compound if we like, or not. In spite of what they said, further research makes it clear that we should NOT use greenboard, hardiboard OR fiberboard, but we ought to use cement board, and apply some sort of barrier between the studs and the cement board, like roofing felt. That makes sense to us and is worth the trouble. We already have very heavy construction grade vinyl sheeting on a roll that my husband got from a job site, around 18 mil, and we're wondering if we can use that. Would it wick moisture away or allow moisture to condense on it?
We also need to replace the flooring, and I want to be sure I'm clear on how to lay tile there. Currently we have original sheet vinyl, and I believe we need to rip out the vinyl and place cement board onto the subfloor, since the subfloor is not likely sturdy enough to support tile. Do we glue the cement board down to the subfloor with mastic or just screw it down? Then do we need to level that with something or can we use mastic and lay tile like we'll do in the tub surround? The floor is not creaky, squeaky, bouncy or otherwise needing work on the joists, but I want to be sure the surface is correct for tiling, so it will last. This will create quite a thick floor compared to what is there now, and I'm concerned about the transition from the hallway. Cement board PLUS the ceramic tile will raise things up noticeably as you enter the room.
When the tub and floor are done I want to put up beadboard wainscoting. We found some 8' PVC paintable panels (7" wide) that we plan on cutting in half to have a 4' wainscoting around the room. The pieces interlock. We'd then install PVC chair rail and baseboard. Has anyone used this material? Both the blue and white big box and the orange one sell this product, with 3 panels per pack. I don't know if it looks cheap and flimsy when it is used in a bathroom, but at the same time we want something impervious to moisture, if possible.
Speaking of moisture, the last thing is the exhaust fan, which needs to be replaced with something that will actually remove moisture from this bathroom. It is a 7x10 room and I've read some people having gone way, way over the recommended rating in order to be certain it will do the job. Is this necessary, or can the charts be trusted as to choosing the rating for a particular size room? I want it to work but don't want it to be too noisy for the room.
Sorry for so many questions but we want to have as good a plan in mind as possible before we begin demo. We want as short a time as possible that our kids will be using OUR bathroom for showering!
Thanks for your help.
Thanks for your help, Jaybee.
We do have a sawzall and we're sort of looking forward to the demo, though a bit concerned about fiberglass dust. We'll wear respirator masks and I'll stand there with the giant shop vac and suck everything up as it comes off the saw.
It is interesting that the "tile guy" at the big box store, and TWO employees at the tile store all claimed to have been doing tile installations for a decade or more, but they gave out varying information. Initially we assumed we could trust what they told us, but we watched a Youtube vid of a tile professional, whose father and grandfather had all installed tile and he was raised in the business, said: "If you hire a tile installer and they want to use greenboard, SEND THEM HOME." We wondered why he would say that, did more research, and discovered that he was right. I guess there is a lot of crappy professionally installed tile out there.
We're now trying to carve out a week or so to get started and get at least the tub/surround part of this done, so as we run into issues I'll post back for more advice!
Don't forget eye protection - fiberglass shards and eyes don't mix very well.
Sadly, I've found that most people who sell a product really don't know how to use it. I know that there are exceptions out there but overall you will get the best advice from an actual installer.
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