The Journey's Beginning - HELP

Blog entry by dustynewt posted 08-30-2009 01:05 AM 4787 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello all. It has been quite a while since I last posted anything here. I am a woodworker at heart, a paper mill worker for money and a home remodeler by necessity. Our home in Florida was built in 1932, and although it is finally paid for, systems are breaking down. It seems whenever we get some money saved for a project we want to do, the house tells us what it needs.

We had no sooner laid out $4000 for a new central AC unit (a priority here in July) when a lightning storm knocked out the phone and modem combo. That is expected here in Florida as we are the lightning capital of the U.S. The day after this was remedied, I stepped out our back door, into the carport and got a soaker. Water was spurting out of the slab addition that was added in the seventies. No water inside, it was just coming out of the side of the slab. This addition houses our second bathroom.

Over the last 77 years there have been numerous plumbers and electricians that have worked on our home, each with their own opinions on how things should be done. Many quick fixes. I am not a member of either of these trades, so my thinking on the subject may be a little flawed, but a lot of their solutions just don’t make sense to me, a simple woodworker.

Back to the bathroom with a jackhammer. It took three pokes to find the offending pipe. A six foot section of galvanized steel pipe that made a 90 degree (for no particular reason) turn from our carport and ran under the slab to the toilet. This section was riddled with pin holes and bright metal was exposed. The plumber we called to aid us said that it looked like the lightning strike had gotten it too. Okay, we replaced that pipe and I went to get some Quickcrete to repair the holes.

From Bathroom Re-Build

From Bathroom Re-Build

The next day, we had a mini geyser in the brick pavers of our carport. Bricks had to come up. The pipe (from the bathroom slab) made another inexplicable 90 turn and went back to where I thought the where the water main ought to enter the house. Another six foot piece of galvanized steel pipe. Same problem. That is now fixed ($750 later).

Granted the bath needed remodeling and was in fact slated on our to-do list, but not till next year.

From Bathroom Re-Build

Today I started the demo work. The ugly hung tile ceiling went with ease. I eyed the cedar paneling with visions of boxes floating to my mind. The toilet is now waiting for the city to pick it up. The shower stall, however, is becoming an affair.
From Bathroom Re-Build

The tile come off a little too easy (at least I was able to salvage 90% of it). Lots of mold on paper covered gypsum board under the tile. I also tore down the partition wall, as it made for a cramped shower. I got all the wall board off and started inspecting the shower pan. At this point let me explain that I knew none of these plumber terms before researching on the internet. I have done some tile work, but had never heard of shower pans before this foray into homeownership/DIYing.

This is what I now have (the blue tape covers the drain);

From Bathroom Re-Build
From Bathroom Re-Build
From Bathroom Re-Build
From Bathroom Re-Build
From Bathroom Re-Build

Here is the plan of action now. If any of you have ANY suggestions, I am totally open minded. The plumber suggested a nice hot grease fire.

Wanting to do this right and not have to worry about it for the rest of my lifetime, I distrust the shower pan pictured. From my inspection, I think it is built up on a plywood deck with membrane, then a mud pan sloping to an oddly placed drain. The height of the shower floor is 6” above the slab, I imagine this is to allow for the drain and trap (I hope there is a trap). The curb is only 1 1/2” above the shower floor.

Unless otherwise advised, I am going to demolish this shower pan and start anew. Widening it a bit and extending it another 18” or so, to the right in this pic;

From Bathroom Re-Build

I will leave off the partition wall and rely on a higher curb and a shower curtain to keep the water stream within the pan.

Thank you all for letting me get all this off my chest and I hope to get some feedback from those of you who know better.

WARNING: More to come…

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View costelr's profile


5 posts in 5254 days

posted 09-05-2009 10:40 PM

Dusty, I’m no plumber but I have done some home rehab over the years and watch a LOT of This Old House and DIY and HGTV! On these shows I have seen them use a new product for shower base that is pre-formed and pre-sloped, looks much like some sort of polyform. This and the walls are then covered with an orange membrane and the whole thing is waterproof. Recommend internet search to see what products are out there. What you are replacing looks very small and “old school”. Just for example:

http://www.tileredi.com/ (available at Home Depot)

Here’s the product I say recently on Ask This Old House and it seemed real impressive.


These may seem expensive but if I were doing it, I would think, (1) the house is paid for, think of this as a house payment, (2) I’m gonna be here for a while so I better do something that’s gonna last.

View dustynewt's profile


6 posts in 5541 days

posted 09-06-2009 04:28 AM

Hello CostelR,

I was just checking out your powder room redo on LumberJocks the other day. I like the vanity and the wainscoting you did.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and provide the links to these products. I checked them out and may be interested in going this route after getting the old pan removed (slated for Monday). I feel confident in my abilities though. I am a cabinetmaker, currently working in a paper mill, but I have done tile work and laid a block or two in my time. I am interested in the learning aspect of the project almost as much as getting it over with, but maybe after I actually get into it, I will decide on something like the products you mentioned. It won’t cost me much to find out if I’m getting in over my head.

We shall see.

Thank again,

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