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Old 05-31-2011, 10:16 PM   #1
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


I'm doing some mainly cosmetic upgrades on the only bathroom in our 1947 house. I already tore out the old sheet vinyl flooring and put in a porcelain tile floor. I had a plumber come in and move the sink hook ups so that a new, larger vanity can be installed with the sink in a better location, and I've patched the hole in the plaster from the plumbing work (using green board).

The remainder of the plan is to tear out the existing tile tub surround and install new tile over CBU, do a new tile back splash above the new vanity, put in new baseboards (old rubber(?) base boards were removed when I did the floor), and paint.

I've started tearing out the existing tub surround, and I have some questions about this part of the project. First, now that the wall is open, should I be replacing any of the plumbing in there? The mixer valve seems to be somewhat recent--there was a patch of different tile there making it obvious that it was changed out after the original tile job--which is not original to the house. (I think the mixer is a Delta Monitor 1700 series). The pipes are galvanized, I guess, and there is always rust etc. coming from them. I'm not as confident about plumbing as I am about other DIY stuff, so I'm not sure I should try to do anything with this stuff just because the wall is open. And, it's an alcove tub with the plumbing in a partition wall that separates the tub area from the toilet, so even after I tile, the plumbing can be accessed from the toilet side of the same wall by cutting through the plaster on that wall. I've considered everything from just leaving it all alone because this is meant to be a very basic remodel on a very limited budget, to maybe at least unscrewing the galvanized pipes that go to the tub spout and up to the shower and replacing them with either new galvanized or copper if it's not too difficult.... Am I better off just leaving it until we can re-plumb the house?

My second question is what to do about the corner where the old plaster walls will meet the new tile over CBU. The existing tile was applied over original plaster (I guess it was originally just a tub with a painted plaster surround, and then was later upgraded to a tub/shower and the painted plaster was tiled over. After tearing off the tile and some of the plaster I can see that there is a metal corner bead that was embedded in the plaster at both of the outside corners of the tub alcove. I don't think there's a way to incorporate that corner bead when I install the CBU, which means I'd have to possibly demo a couple of inches of plaster on the walls just beyond the edges of the tub alcove, and do something to make a good corner where the CBU meets the plaster at these outside corners. Any suggestions?

Sorry for the length, but I wanted to be thorough. I'll see if I can post some pictures to show what I'm dealing with.

Alix

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Last edited by Alix; 05-31-2011 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


Here are some pictures of what I'm talking about.

The mixing valve and pipes connected to it:


The metal corner bead that was embedded in the plaster where I need to join the tile over CBU to the plaster:


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Old 06-01-2011, 07:20 PM   #3
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


While the walls are open replace any and all plumbing--this is the cheapest and ,maybe,the only chance you get.

I'd also open the floor enough to upgrade the drains--houses of that age usually used barrel traps--they are a major clog hazard.

I'd also remove the old corner bead--Mike--
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


OOPS---just realized you are leaving the existing tub---skip the floor and drain suggestion.
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:41 PM   #5
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


Thanks for the reply. The plumber visit included replacing the drain trap and over flow for the existing tub, so that's taken care of already. Luckily that stuff can be accessed from the basement. So I guess you'd recommend a new mixing valve and then copper pipes to tie into the existing pipes in the basement? How hard of a project would that be? (A project for another time will be to run new copper or pex throughout the house, but for now I will have to tie into the existing galvanized.)

As for removing the corner bead, that will damage part of the wall surface that is to be left in place--popping off the plaster on the part of the partition wall that faces you as you face the tub. Would you use a dry wall type corner to create a new interface where the CBU meets that plaster surface? I just want it to look nice where those two surfaces meet.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:08 PM   #6
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


I'd drop new copper into the basement---Then you have the hard part finished.

As to replacing the mixer valve--that is a current model valve body--so if budget is a big consideration it can be reused --Will the trims look good with your new tile? Often buying a valve and trim set is about the same cost as just buying up dated trims.

You will have to make the call on the corner bead---I would replace it and patch the existing plaster if it were my job.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


Replace the galvanized pipe from the shower body up to the shower head.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:12 PM   #8
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Bath remodel in 1947 house -- questions about plaster and plumbing


Some more questions about this bathroom remodel: I've hooked up rigid copper for the tub spout and the shower riser, and pex tubing dropped into the basement for the water supply to the mixing valve. The plumber that moved the sink hook ups for the vanity mentioned when he was leaving that because of the sediment stirred up from turning the water back on, he had to replace the cartridge in the mixing valve. Now there is a drip from the tub spout. Is there something that would be causing that other than the cartridge? Also, where I connected the pex into the galvanized pipes, I couldn't manage to unscrew the galvanized. I ended up cutting the pipes and using galvanized compression fittings (dressers?) so that I could turn the water back on again. I don't want these to be the permanent solution, but I needed to connect those pipes up. I'll probably ask a friend to come help me crank on the pipes to see if we can loosen them, but if that doesn't work, does anyone know the feasibility of using a portable pipe threader to put threads on the cut ends of the pipes? There's not a lot of room to work, since it's right where multiple pipes come together. I don't need it to be the most elegant job because I'm planning to re-plumb with pex in probably the next year, but I do need to have confidence that it isn't all going to come apart and flood my basement...

Also, I know I need to sister the studs in order to get plumb surfaces to attach the cement board to. Do I use regular 2x4 studs, or do they have to be pressure treated or something special? Could I use 2x2s?

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Last edited by Alix; 06-06-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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