Author Topic: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .  (Read 3543 times)

Spaarwalvis

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Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« on: March 16, 2014, 07:44:45 PM »
Mustachians,

We've lived in our house for a bit over three years.  The people who owned the house before had . . . curious tastes.  One of their interesting moves was to redo the master bathroom with red and almond marble floors, walls, shower stall, and countertops.  Only the ceiling and a few inches of wall below it are drywall (glossy yellow, like most of the walls in the house).  The tiles are 1-foot squares, with what was meant to be 1/16'' spacing.  However, their tile layer did a mediocre job, so many of the tiles are crooked and the actual gap varies from basically nothing to 1/8'' or more.  Two years ago I noticed a lot of the grout was worn away in the shower, and I didn't want a nasty moisture issue, so I regrouted as best I could in the uneven, wedge/trapezoid shaped spaces between the tiles.  It turns out I'm not exactly the grout whisperer, it never looked better than marginal, and now some of the redone spots have been flaking.  As a bonus, I dropped a substantial glob of grout down the drain which has slowed the water drainage out of the shower.

A couple weeks ago my wife was taking a shower and I happened to be in the utility room, which is directly below the master bath.  I noticed the ceiling was was dripping in a couple places, where screws had been driven through the plywood of the floor above.  I ran up and told her to shut off the shower and we've been using our other shower ever since.  Not sure how long the shower was doing that; it's hard to tell because the shower leaked at some point in the past so there was some staining on the ceiling in that location when we bought the house.

The shower stall is 40'' wide by X 36'' deep with a 4 inch "curb" and glass door.


Options, as I see them:
 - 1.  Bite the bullet, hire out to have the tiles done right and as similar as possible to the rest of the room.  We know a good tile layer, but we're not such buddies that he would give us a big discount.
 - 2.  Install a never-leaky plastic shower stall, hopefully in a similar color so it doesn't clash too badly with the red/almond marble themed room.
 - 3.  Hire a carpenter to put in a plastic shower stall
 - 4.  Others?  Please tell me if I'm not thinking of something.


Constraints:
 - We have a 2 year old plus another baby due within the next few weeks.  This year I'm repainting the outside of the house, hopefully refinishing the deck, and probably redoing the insulation in both attics, with two tiny children, while working full time!  We also keep a substantial garden and are in the midst of replacing a lot of the perimeter fence ourselves.  In other words, we're low on time for big projects for the foreseeable future.
 - Finances:  our 'stache is technically sufficient for any of the options above.  However, the more money we spend, the farther away we will be from mortgage payoff, FI, and happy things like that.
 - While we don't have to make a move immediately, because we have another shower, we might be looking to move in ~3 years if a better job opportunity comes up.  We definitely do not plan to stay in this house more than 10 years, as we will be FI by that time and retiring to a much cheaper part of the country is part of the plan.
 - The door to the bathroom is only 23'' wide.  I'm not sure how plastic stalls work - does that lock us into sticking with tiles unless we involve a carpenter and make this a big demolish/remodel project?


So, what should we do, fellow citizens?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 07:51:40 PM by Spaarwalvis »

MountainFlower

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 10:13:42 AM »
Having had a 2 year old with one due any day, I remember what that's like.  Having your master bathroom torn apart at any time is stressful, but with two small kids, it would be especially hard. 

  I would figure out how to get your shower fixed before baby comes.  We have an inexpensive fiberglass shower stall in our bathroom and I like how bright it is and how easy it is to clean.  We use a shower curtain, so no doors to clean either...just throw the inner curtain in the washer.   Maybe it won't exactly go with the decor in there, but if you got a rich looking outer shower curtain, it would blend pretty nicely. 

Good luck!


TrMama

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 11:05:36 AM »
Huh, it's like deja vu all over again . . . We had this exact scenario about 5.5 years ago. Crappy DIY tile job in shower surround leaking into the basement and about to pop with #2. We'd just moved into this house. However, since we'd had the exact same problem with two other shower surrounds in our previous house, we knew what to do.

Anytime drywall or wood get wet you have to worry about mold. Mold + little babies is bad.

Hire the first available, qualified carpenter/tile guy you can get your hands on. He'll remove the entire wall in the shower surround down to the studs (takes about 15 min). Replace the cheap drywall/greenboard the previous owner used with cement board and waterproof membrane (goes on like paint). Then either tile over it with new tiles or put  in an acrylic surround. You'll have to get a "renovator's" surround that comes in a couple pieces because the one piece surrounds don't fit through finished doors.

Plan to redo the rest of the terrible color scheme at a later date.

FTR I think some sort of license/permit/something should be required before inexperienced homeowners can tile anything that will get wet. Our current house has acrylic surrounds, and I couldn't be happier. Less leaky and easier to clean.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 11:13:00 AM by TrMama »

MountainFlower

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 01:16:54 PM »
I think TrMama gave great advice. 

Emg03063

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 06:24:26 PM »
I have no experience here, but I'm wondering if the leaking tiles could be sealed in with an epoxy.

Abe

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 11:31:26 PM »
I concur with the acrylic surround. It will be significantly cheaper, less likely to leak, and easier to maintain than re-tiling the whole area after tearing out the water-damaged wall, floor and subfloor.

Willbrewer

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Spaarwalvis

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 03:58:34 AM »
Thanks for the anecdotes!  From what I'm hearing, I suppose we're leaning toward losing the tiles in the shower stall and going with a plastic stall.  The challenge will be matching what we've already got aesthetically.  Will research a tiny bit and update here . . .

I did see the MMM article about stone tiling one's own shower, but meh.  Everywhere I've lived but here and the college dorm had plastic showers, so I suppose it's good enough for me.  It's the sort of thing I might try in a less-critical shower first, if I were less busy.

Exflyboy

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Re: Seeking advice about my shower situation . . .
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 11:17:05 AM »
Yes but remember you won't be able to get a shower stall in there unless it comes in pieces.