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  • Tub/shower remodel questions

    I've just started remodelling the first of the two showers in my home. I wnated to ask the experts here on some of the plumbing aspcts of this project

    The tub is in good condition but I was toying with the idea of replacing it with a Whirlpool tub. Do tubs generally have the drain in the same place or in general would I be looking at relocating the drain. To remove a tub do you just pull it out after removing the drain flange? Are permits required for this?

    As far as the shower itself I was thinking about whether to incorporate a couple of bodysprays - seems like an interesting idea. has anyone here installed these and if so any feedback on them. I was specifically thinking of the ones by Kohler since I used Kohler Fairfax faucets when I remodeled my vanity and thought that using it in the shower would also match the rest of the bathroom.

    Just finished removing the tiles, cement board and drywall.


  • #2
    Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

    tubs are standard 'right hand' or 'left hand' and the drain openings are standard for a typ. "tub". To know which is which while looking at the tub which ever side you want the drain on would be the 'hand'...i.e. drain on the left in your case it's a "left handed" tub. To remove you may be better off taking a sledge to it if it's cast iron. sawzall if it's porcelain on steel. The most critical advice I could give is with the new tub (assuming typ. 60"x30") is the brace on the back wall can vary in height according to mfg. Also if purchasing off the shelf inspect the drain hole and make sure there are no 'dings' around the inside edge as it could really ruin your day once installed (never get a seal with the drain gasket/puddy). As for the full body sprayers... no magic there, the more the merrier? just follow the directions that come with the unit. Over spray might be a concern without a proper enclosure.

    2 cents
    Last edited by Dumfatnhappy; 05-02-2012, 11:05 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

      Even at 2 cents, that advice is overpriced.
      Forget breaking up the tub. With the walls stripped it should easily come out.
      You can install a whirlpool tub in standard size without moving the drain if that's what you want.
      Just remember to leave access for the pump and motor.
      Are you talking about body sprays for the tub/shower unit or is the shower stall separate?
      While there is no magic involved in designing shower spas, there is some knowledge involved.
      You need to know first of all, exactly what it is you want. If all you want are a couple of
      body sprays then at the very least you will need a 3-function valve. Do you want separate
      controls for the sprays, either individually or collectively? Will there be additional shower heads
      or hand shower? Will 3/4" piping be required for thermostatic components?
      Figure out your needs then you can determine the requirements.
      As for a permit, you will need to check with your local requirements. Everyplace is different.
      Last edited by Big Jim; 05-02-2012, 05:05 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

        Originally posted by Big Jim View Post
        Even at 2 cents, that advice is overpriced.
        Forget breaking up the tub. With the walls stripped it should easily come out.
        You can get a whirlpool tub in standard size if that's what you want.
        Are you talking about body sprays for the tub/shower unit or is the shower stall separate?
        While there is no magic involved in designing shower spas, there is some knowledge involved.
        You need to know first of all, exactly what it is you want. If all you want are a couple of
        body sprays then at the very least you will need a 3-function valve. Do you want separate
        controls for the sprays, either individually or collectively? Will there be additional shower heads
        or hand shower? Will 3/4" piping be required for thermostatic components?
        Figure out your needs then you can determine the requirements. Unless you have a separate
        shower stall, I wouldn't do it. Hard to contain the spray with just a shower curtain alone.
        I agree.

        I will add:
        3/4" pex is not a substitute for 3/4" copper. You may get away with it on some units but not on all.
        If it is cast iron, a reglaze (if needed) would make it brand new again.
        Remember to consider your water heater.....will it provide the hot water necessary to take a shower/shower's?
        Replace the waste and overflow.
        Install adequate blocking for future handrails, just in case.
        A permit should be pulled in my opinion.
        Last edited by Gettinit; 05-02-2012, 05:16 PM.
        AllurePlumbing.com
        • leak detection
        • drain cleaning
        • utility locating
        • conductor fault locating
        • and other specialties.

        Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

          To expand on what Gettinit said, your hot water demands is very critical, because those body sprays will eat up and spit out the hot water in no time.

          If you have a standard 50 gallon gas HWH, and taking a shower for 20 minutes, that will use your entire tank, assuming you don't have sediment built up in the tank. You start adding body sprays, that 20 minute shower just went down to 10 minutes and below, if you have so many body sprays, it's like a car wash in your shower.

          Your hot water demands come first before you do anything imo.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

            Thanks for all the advice guys.

            I’m having second thoughts about a whirlpool tub as I’ve heard it requires more cleaning than a regular tub and I guess I’m not interested in additional maintenance. I initially was thinking about running power from the attic but I then read somewhere that by code the tub will need a dedicated circuit on a GFCI. I can create a circuit from the breaker panel but I think I have used up all the spare slots on various additional circuits over the years. If that’s the case I will need to probably install a sub-panel but I don’t want to go there. For a new electrical circuit a permit would be required.

            Okay so as far as the tub and shower – yes I got around to unscrewing the flange last night and yes I can lift it up. I have not removed it yet. From what I can see the tub is porcelain over steel. I have been reading up about the best type of tub for replacement. The common suggestion seem to be cast iron for durability but this is a second floor install and the stairway is awkward with a 180 degree turn in one place so I’m worried about attempting to move such a heavy object upstairs without possible damage to the floor and walls (recently put in new hardwood on the stairs as well as wainscoting)

            As far as tub removal I would prefer to remove it without breaking it up since it is in fairly good condition so I’m sure it will be gone soon if I put it on the “free” section of CL. Avoids having to dispose of it myself.

            And as far as the plumbing – no this will be a shower/tub combo. There is no room for a separate shower and tub. Ideally I would like to convert it to a shower only but I’m thinking about possibly in the future if I have to sell the house or rent it out it may affect the transaction since most houses around here have tub/shower combos (although to people really take a bath these days).
            I was thinking about a setup with one shower head and two body sprays. I need to confirm the setup with the components but based on what I think I need I will probably have the hot and cold water coming into the valve assembly . The mixed water would then go into a three way transfer valve which would be then sent to either the tub spout, shower head or the bodysprays. The install instructions shows the bodysprays being installed in a loop. One key thing I need to do is to see if all these components fit into the wall cavity.

            From what I recall I think the components can be for either ½” or ¾” diameter pipe. I think the bodysprays are 2.5gpm each and the showerhead 2gpm. I have a tankless heater which given the specs and the region I live it should be able to support this flow. However, nothing else can be run at the same time but I probably won’t run out of hot water.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

              If having just a shower is the ideal for you, then do it.
              You can't really predict the preferences of any future buyers.
              Personally, I would lose the tub and go with a tile shower.
              Even if you move the drain to center, it should be no problem. It should be 2", btw.
              Now you've got a true shower spa with more options on body spray placement.
              As for a tub, anything other than C.I. will have to be replaced, eventually.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                Like most projects outside our areas of experience, the devil is in the details. You've been given some good (free) advise here. Good luck.
                If it were my house I'd hire a pro, but that's just me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                  Okay so I got the tub pulled out okay although I had to remove the door and the doorframe in order to get it out. Also stupidly I forgot to remove the overflow plate and ended up breaking the drain just above the trap trying to pull the tub out with the drain connected. So I will need to redo the drain.

                  Had a couple more questions.

                  I was planning to cut the copper pipes where it comes in vertically (first photo on the right). But one pipe is very close to the framing and I cannot even get my smallest copper cutter to go around the pipe. How could I cut it and still get a good clean cut in order to be able to sweat a new fitting on?

                  Also I'm trying to figure out how to test the new drain and shower piping before the tub is installed and the wall is closed up (or shower if I lose the tub). Maybe something like a hose with running water down the drain. What about the shower as far as the pipes downstream from the valve such as the transfer valve connections. Plug the connections at all the end points and pressurize the system?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                    You should take plumbus' advice and hire a pro.
                    More problems will arise and more mistakes will be made.
                    You will save money and headaches in the long run.
                    The questions you are asking are of the most basic in nature
                    and prove that you may be in over your head.
                    Most of don't mind giving advice, but remember that we make
                    our living doing what you are attempting to do.
                    There is a reason why licenses and permits are required in our trade.
                    The problem is that popular culture and big retail have convinced
                    the general public that anyone can do plumbing, (or electrical, or HVAC,
                    or any other skill involving years of training and experience).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                      Actually I will be doing the work myself. I'm seeing more threads on this forum with the "hire a pro" line lately. Where's plumber Rick - he usually helps me out

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                        Better to promote the trade than self promotion.
                        But I'm sure you will be told what you want to hear, eventually.
                        You've already been told what you need to hear.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                          I guess I can understand that - however most folk I know, know the difference between being over their head vs some suggestions/tips to get the job done. Comes across as condescending for those of us who are quite capable of doing jobs like these.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                            This is why the HVAC forums do not help out non-professionals.....or is it the liability?

                            You are beyond help at this point, at least over the internet. Next questions will be how do I glue or solder the pipes together.
                            AllurePlumbing.com
                            • leak detection
                            • drain cleaning
                            • utility locating
                            • conductor fault locating
                            • and other specialties.

                            Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tub/shower remodel questions

                              Never admit You're an Engineer ,unless You drive a train !
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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