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StevePax 11-28-2009 09:12 AM

Please tell me I'm doing the right thing!
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Just bought an old(ish) house, built 1978. There was some obvious water damage in the floor in front of the shower, so we decided to remodel. We'll be putting up a shower surround, but decided to tear down the tile shower to the studs. When I started ripping out tiles, I was thinking, "This is dumb - I'm taking down well adhered, perfectly sound tiles from a nice dry wall." Then things changed - on that exterior wall (the one with the insulation), the drywall crumbled away with no effort at all. Obviously wet. Cement board was used, too - there was just one course of cement board going around (so, came up 3 feet or so), and green board above that to the ceiling. So, tearing this down to the studs is the right thing, right? It's intimidating for a regular homeowner to destroy his own house!

Question - I haven't done the wall with the plumbing in it yet. Do I need to turn off the water to the entire house in order to take the faucet handle and such off? If not, how do I do it? Please help! I'm sure I'll have tons of other questions about all this as I go through it!

Scuba_Dave 11-28-2009 09:18 AM

If the drywall was falling apart it was only a matter of time before the wood started to rot
Best to take it down to the studs & do it right
Update electrical if needed at the same time

You can tale the faucet handle off without turning off the water
My shower has a hot & cold shut-off to the shower - yours should too
I shut mine off just in case I bumped the valve

StevePax 11-28-2009 09:23 AM

Thanks Dave! Where can I likely find the shut off valves for the shower?

Scuba_Dave 11-28-2009 09:36 AM

Mine are located in the basement under the bathroom
Do you have a basement or slab ?

mikey48 11-28-2009 10:02 AM

Many shower valves do not have isolation valves. You may need to shut the water off at the main valve. You will need to replace most of the piping behind the shower to facilitate installing a new valve. If you are not ready to do the piping I would cut the piping and install some kind of cap or plug so you can turn the water back on. I usually cut it just above the floor leaving enough to install the new piping. If it is galvanized pipe I would unthead a joint and install a plug.

StevePax 11-28-2009 10:17 AM

I just have a crawlspace. But for demo of that wall, can I just remove the faucet handle and trim without turning off the water? I'd really rather just take off the handle and trim, tear down the wall, and then have some time to shop around for new faucet/shower head hardware to go with the new bathroom. If I pop the little plastic cap off the faucet handle and unscrew that handle from inside there, and then unscrew the screw on the trim piece (after cutting the caulking away), can I get to where I can demolish that wall without turning off water to the whole house?

mikey48 11-28-2009 10:58 AM

Yes you can do that, no problem. Sometimes they are hard to get apart, sometimes not. Be sure you replace the valve with a anti scalding walve.

Stephen S. 11-29-2009 05:20 AM

You definitely made the right decision to tear down the whole bathroom and rebuild it!! I'll be in similar situation like you in a month when I get the keys for my newly purchased old house, built in 1985, there's sign of water damage near the shower. Did you just sledgehammer everything ?

Haff 12-07-2009 03:37 PM

I'm on the finishing side of the same situation. House built in '76. Upstair rooms, including bathroom added an unknown number of years later by a team of dyslexic monkeys with no cohesive plan. The nice thing about tearing down to do it right is you get to find and correct all the mistakes that exist. The not-nice thing about it is you will no longer be blissfully unaware of just how much needs to be fixed in your house in the first place.

Definitely tear it all out. Be willing to tear out studs and subfloor if needed. Get rid of any compromised material. Then, when you build it back. Spend the extra couple bucks to get the right stuff. And remember. Even if you screw it up you will proabably be able to redo it two more times for less then the cost of paying somebody else to do it.

Gary in WA 12-08-2009 12:38 AM

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Be safe, Gary

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