Tub Shower Combo Remodeling (Quick Tips)

How should you approach tub shower combo remodeling? We have several quick tips.

Tip #1: Demo the existing fiberglass, steel or cast iron tub. Cut fiberglass tubs into three sections, remove the tub plumbing then the tub itself. Cast iron tubs need to be smashed into smaller pieces using a sledge hammer.

Tip #2: Sublfoor Repair for subfloors that aren’t level or severely damaged. Sagging floors might have damaged joists that need to be fixed or sistered to other 2x8s or 2x10s. If the subfloor isn’t too bad you can use a self-leveler to fix it.

Tip #3: Set the Tub and Tub Plumbing. Acrylic tubs can be attached to studs using galvanized screws, just pre-drill the acrylic tub lip first. Steel and cast iron tubs can be attached to stud walls using galvanized screws and washers. Mount the mixing valve inside the stud wall such that the tub spout will be 3-4 inches from the tub deck, the valve will be 9-18 inches from the tub deck and the shower arm will be 80 inches off the subfloor. Sometimes local plumbing codes allow a mix of copper and PEX pipes, we like this for mixing valves as it helps eliminate soldering in the stud wall.

Tip #4: Framing the Niche and Adding Waterproofing. Frame a shower niche after you know the tile dimensions, grout joint size and general layout of the tile. Use some type of waterproofing for the shower walls like KERDI-BOARD, Wedi, GoBOARD or cement board with RedGard, Ardex 8+9 or Hydroban.

Tip #5: Tile the Main Shower Wall. Set the first row of tiles on top of plastic spacers. Back butter tiles, use directional troweling for the substrate and tile, use the right trowel size and move tiles back and forth on the wall to compress trowel ridges.

Tip #6: Tile the Plumbing Wall. Use carbide holes saws for tub spout holes in tiles and angle grinders with carbide blades for mixing valve holes. Use Schluter profiles instead of bullnose tiles to save money.

Tip #7: Use Premium Grout. Ardex WA, Bostik QuartzLock 2, Mapei FA, and Laticrete SpectraLock are all great options.

Watch our video for more tips

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