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utilitylocator 01-15-2009 09:58 AM

moldy wet sheetrock at base of bathtub (now remodel blog)
5 Attachment(s)
I have got one heck of a mess and very little funds....
The tub is not level. The seal is broke around the shower tub. The pipes are scabbed together incorectly. water damage on exterior wall. I have no real starting point. I have no real skills in any of the area. Any ideas would be greatly apreciated.
Also, what type of plumbing should I upgrade to? pvc? cpvc? pex?

EDIT 01/18/2009 After all the great help I got and all the advice I gathered, this has became a full on hillbilly remodel. You will see as you read through the thread that it became increasingly obvios that this was a bigger thing than I had anticipated. Thanks for all the input and keep it coming!!

angus242 01-15-2009 10:58 AM


In short, I don't have the answer you're looking for.
"Very little funds" and "I have no real skills" are not the phrases that give you any hope here.
What needs to happen is everything that is moldy, needs to be removed.
That ventilation fan is in a wet area. It needs to be on a GFI circuit...if it is even allowed to be mounted vertically in the wet location.
I can't tell but the plumbing cannot be PVC. That needs to be at least CPVC but honestly, I have never seen CPVC behind a wall. Again, I'm not sure if that's even allowed. Your local building codes will determine what type of plumbing needs to be installed.
If the tub is no longer level, that would make me concerned there's water damage to the subfloor.
You are dealing with many things that NEED a building permit to replace.
Your best bet is to get a contractor in for an estimate. That will give you a ballpark price. I have no idea how or when this occurred, but maybe check with your home owners insurance policy about the water damage.

My friend, you are in a pickle! :(

utilitylocator 01-15-2009 11:37 AM

Thanks for the input. Good news (or more like a cursed blessing), I live in Alaska miles from any town with anything that would resemble building codes. I am going to remove the fan. You are the third person to point it out of all things in the pictures. The tub is unlevel because the cabin/shack was lifted and put on a foundation 3ft up and a crawl space added under the house. the cabin was 3 pieces brought in from different homesteads and put together. doors cut in where they were needed. A real mess. When they lifted it and set it down, things were never level again. A beam has since been added right down the middle of the crawl space (by me) for support, but the floor can not be leveled traditionaly because they built walls on it from floor to ceiling after the floor was unlevel. Hey its a shack, but it sits on 2 acres close to prime ALASKAN wilderness. And it came with a shed and a well and septic. Pretty much, I bought the land for what it is. As a bonus it has a DEC aproved well and septic. Its also only a year from natural gas access. Has power and phone. Phone has DSL. Its in a cellphone area. The woodstove keeps it nice and warm on those -40deg nites. Tons of aspen and birch and spruce for firewood. The shack is where We lay our head for now...I'll make it a nice little cottage and call it home for a few years than build something bigger and new when I pay down the land.

I was thinking that I will use all pex, even in the walls...any thoughts on that? I may just rip out the whole tub and the 1/2 wall between the tub and sink and start over. replace the sheetrock with green board, float the floor level, put back in the wall and tub.....I bet with advice and pictures, I could do it.

angus242 01-15-2009 11:49 AM

Well that's the spirit! :thumbup:

Tear out = good. There's a lot messed up. Better to start over and keep the mold out. Sounds like you can be cooped up for extended periods of time, rather it not be with mold!

If you can, get that fan outside of the tub area (> 3') and no need for GFI. Otherwise, move it to the middle of the tub-area ceiling and connect it to a GFI. Just because you don't have local building codes doesn't mean you shouldn't be safe!

Can't answer the pex question. I know it's used successfully around the country. It's not allowed in my area so I have no experience with it.

Reconsider the greenboard stuff. It's worthless. I'd rather see you use Densarmor for the bathroom. It's a paperless drywall and is a few dollars more per sheet than greenboard. Installs exactly like drywall. Anything that's in the tub surround should be a cement backer-like material. I suggest DensShield. It's like drywall but has the characteristics of cement backer board. Light and easy to install, can be used in wet locations and easily waterproofed and ready for tile!

Good luck with your piece of the (real) wildnerness!

ponch37300 01-15-2009 11:54 AM

From your last post it sounds like there are some founds available for this. I like pex, the crimp tool is a little expensive but pex is user friendly and from what i have read about it can take some expansion if your pipes happen to freeze. And it's cheaper than copper.

Like mentioned above you really need to rip everytthing out that was damaged and start over, don't cover up any rotten or moldy wood/drywall. Once everything is ripped out and you get a better look at what your dealing with you can access the damage and start replaceing all the rotten/moldy wood and level things out. Then set the tub and do the plumbing. Then drywall the bathroom, and green board isn't recomended in the shower area. Then you will have a nice new bathroom. Also like mentioned move that fan to the ceiling.

This forum is filled with great people that have been in the same situation as you and are willing to help. Good luck

jogr 01-15-2009 12:24 PM

OK, this is a temporary home located in paradise, nothing in it is level and you understandably don't want to put a lot of money in it. I suggest you do one of two things:

1. Sell it to me


2. Replace the shower door with a good shower curtain . Remove the old caulk. Clean up the wall. Patch that little area of water damaged drywall where the tub meets the wall. Patch the holes by the showerhead. Repaint. Recaulk. Leave the fan alone if it discharges outside -it's perfectly safe and you need it to prevent mold (if it doesn't disharge outside make it do so). If those pics are the worst of it I see no big mold problems. Don't worry about the unlevel tub - you will never get it level on that floor. Stick a piece of vinyl base molding across the bottom of the tub to hide the gap.

If you really want a level tub you need to decide if you want to go through the trouble of leveling the bathroom floor which is a really big job and might give you quite an elevation change at the door or do you just want a level tub on an unlevel foor. If you just want a level tub on an unlevel floor then pull it out and reinstall it level on a bed of mortar. You'll still need molding to hide the gap.

What you have is a rustic alaskan cabin. You could spend a fortune fixing it and it would still be cobbled together. Or you could make it liveable while you save your $ for a new modern cabin. I'd do the latter.

majakdragon 01-15-2009 12:37 PM

If you are going to repipe the entire cabin, PEX would probably be easier and faster. You may want to see if you can rent the crimping tool cheaper than buying it. I am in Arkansas and my area, code wise, seems the same as yours, non-existant. My house was built by a Brick Layer who was really good at brick work. Problem was, he thought he was a Plumber and Electrician. In 4 years I have replaced almost all of the plumbing and had an electricial check out all the wiring. Luckily, I am a plumber so parts were my only cost. Tear-out is the way to go. You can build level framework for the tub to sit on. I used the Densarmor in wet areas for walls. As stated, lots of helpful people here and being able to post pics will get you faster answers, should you run into problems. Good luck.

angus242 01-15-2009 12:47 PM


Originally Posted by jogr (Post 213128)
Leave the fan alone if it discharges outside -it's perfectly safe and you need it to prevent mold (if it doesn't disharge outside make it do so).

You don't know that it's connected to a GFI circuit so how can you say it's "perfectly safe"? It's not supposed to be mounted vertically either.


Originally Posted by jogr (Post 213128)
If those pics are the worst of it I see no big mold problems.

Exactly! Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.

I understand about the existing condition of the house and unnecessarily spending money on it. However, making it SAFE for occupancy isn't silly advice at all. :no:

majakdragon 01-15-2009 01:17 PM

If you start a repair on the drywall, you will most likely find more damage that is not now able to be seen. Covering up mold with a repair is unsafe, and will need to be done again later (after your illness). The fan is just plain wrong. Your place sounds like it could be a really nice retreat so take your time and do the repairs right the first time, even if you need to wait until more money is available.

ponch37300 01-15-2009 04:44 PM

This really isn't going to cost you a fortune to do it right. I agree with the others that the right way to do this would be replace anything rotten/moldy. A couple of sheets of drywall/dens armor and some lumber doesn't cost that much and will get rid of mold problems in the future. instead of covering them up. The fan is wrong, I believe it says right in the fan housing "ceiling mount only", they make special wall mount fans and this does not look like one. You should be able to reuse it in the ceiling if it is working fine. If this was me and the floor isn't that out of level i would just level the bathtub, you want the tub level so it drains right. As for the pex, i would just buy the crimper. It is around 100 bucks and then you have it to make repairs and for your new cabin and you don't have to worry about rushing to finish so you can return the rental.

utilitylocator 01-15-2009 09:33 PM

I did it.
6 Attachment(s)
Well I got bawlzy and said what the heck..its only a shower. I'm not gonna get beat down by a shower. I found a hammer and prybar, backed the truck up to the door and started swing'n to some skynard. Get er done!! The mold was nowhere near as bad as it looked to be. Heres some pictures. I sprayed the mold areas with some bleach water and it turned the mold from black to brown. I capped off the water and drain pipes in the crawlspace and took out all the debris as I demo'd it. All went remarkebly smooth. Ya know, that was a realy good energy releaser and pretty damn fun as well!

utilitylocator 01-15-2009 09:51 PM

So now, does anyone know how to put in a tub!?!? Maybe I should have thought about this a little more...

utilitylocator 01-15-2009 10:04 PM

Well I found a bathtub and surround for $320.00

jogr 01-16-2009 11:53 AM


Originally Posted by utilitylocator (Post 213495)

Well I found a bathtub and surround for $320.00

Looks like a one piece. I don't think you'll be able to get it in the room.

So, as expected, the only mold was a little behind that rotten piece of drywall. Could have just replaced that, cleaned up, painted, recaulked for less than $40. Thought you didn't want to spend a lot on this? Looks like you have to now. LOL

utilitylocator 01-16-2009 12:11 PM


Originally Posted by jogr (Post 213682)
Looks like a one piece. I don't think you'll be able to get it in the room.

So, as expected, the only mold was a little behind that rotten piece of drywall. Could have just replaced that, cleaned up, painted, recaulked for less than $40. Thought you didn't want to spend a lot on this? Looks like you have to now. LOL

If the bathtub condensated due to being metal and on an exterior wall and was slanted so bad that water poured out of the rim of the tub in the back, even with a shower curtain while showering, what would the benifit be from fixing the sheetrock without fixing the water problem? If I would have cut out the bad spot in the floor, I would have not been able to seam the patch over 1/2 a floor joist (if thats what theyre called) because of the tub and it would have bowed again...aspecialy with the (now pretty) water problem? If I am wrong, please let me know but it seems the best thing to do is bite the bullet and do it right and do it myself in order to get it done and know FOR A FACT that the mold is truely gone. I may not have alot of money, but theres Craigslist and Ebay and pawnshops and pleanty of people like you who can offer advice as I go. Heck, after this, I can share my advice on what its like to do this sort of thing from ground up with no experience. Kinda cool!


by the way, I left the toilet and sink for now due to the budget and commen sence. We can shower at one of the many lodges or roadhouses for $7 or at work for free. I set myself a budget of $750 to do the shower area and fix the floor....lets see what happens.

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