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TheWorm15 05-14-2013 12:00 AM

Waterproofing Tile Bathtub Surround
Hello everyone! Been lurking here for a while now and finally making my first post! My fiance and i recently purchased our first home and we have been doing most of the repairs and remodeling ourselves. we are NOT professionals, but we are quite handy. The house was built in 1915 and the bathroom was in serious need of a remodel. I ripped everything out all the way down to the studs and rebuilt it with all new plumbing, new floor joists and wall studs, new sub floor, fresh purple board and hardibacker in the wet areas. Anyways, after about six months, i noticed that i made a mistake in one or two spots in relation to the vapor barrier and possibly a few other things. I THINK i know what i did wrong and how to fix it, but i wanted to run it by the community before i go ripping tile back out.
First of all we used the original tub and had it resurfaced....the tub was desigend for a two wall configuration but went into a three wall enclosure. See pic below. Notice the lips on the left and back side only.

My solution for this and the fact that the tub wound up being about an inch too short to fit in my enclosure i decided to make a small shelf or ledge out of a 2x4 rather than fur the wall out. (furring the entire wall out would not have been my first choice for many reasons...i wont bore you with those details). See picture below.

This is the finished product. notice the tile towards the left is popping up a little bit. the 2x4 underneath is nice and squishy!

Now I know what i did wrong here. i did not run the roofing felt or vapor barrier all the way down to the tub, and the water is setting right back into the 2x4...dont ask. My question is... if i get in there and replace the 2X4 and run roofing felt all the way down to where the tub meets the shelf will that be sufficient? or will i still have problems with the flat surface allowing water to sit? Any suggestions for or against my shelf idea are welcome!

Second problem i am facing is how to deal with the part where my hardibacker and tile meet the tub. i have heard conflicting theories on this. One says to bring the run roofing felt over the studs (which i did), then run backerboard all the way down to the tub about 1/4 inch over the lip (which i did) then seal the gap with silicone (which i did NOT do) then install the tile down to the lip of the tub sealing it with sanded caulk...which i did...only i left "weeping holes so that the moisture can drain out into the tub rather than sit behind the wall. My question is should i get in there and seal the backerboard to the tub then completely caulk the tile?? or am i ok to just leave the weeping holes? is there a right or wrong way? it seems like a bad idea to completely trap the water behind the tile. thanks for your help!

joecaption 05-14-2013 07:26 AM

Little late now to be asking these questions.
#1 I never would have tryed to reuse that style tub.
The lips are not high enough and they needed to be on three sides not just two of them.
#2 There should not have been a vaper barrier on the back side of the tile board. The tile board needed to be water proofed on the face of it on the side where the tile goes.
You could use RedGard,
Or a product like this.

Trying to use caulking to keep water from getting behind that little shelf is just not going to work.
You did not install any backers in the wall to attach a shower curtin or doors to.
That angle built into the right hand side of the tub is always going to be a source of leaks.
Not sure if it just the picture but it does not look like the tub was up againt the studs on the left hand side. I'm not seeing a way to attach the trim kit on the control valve does that way.

TheWorm15 05-14-2013 08:49 AM

Thank you for your reply! Sorry. I live in long beach CA. As for the way I set up the vapor barrier, I did exactly what my city inspector told me to do. He signed off on each step. The tub was not my first choice either but...let's just say that there were circumstances that would not allow me to go out and buy a new one. So that being said, I am looking for advice on how to improve the situation without tearing everything back out.
As for the picture, the tub was not against the studs yet...I did maneuver it to the left to meet the studs which is what created the larger gap on the right.
I'm only running a curtain rod for the shower, not the king that bolts to the wal

djlandkpl 05-14-2013 09:46 AM

The roofing felt is a problem as there's no way to get any water that collects on it to the tub without it affecting the shelf tile.

I think you should pull the tile and backerboard off the wall with the shelf plus one column of tiles on the back wall. Remove the roofing felt and then reapply the backerboard. Cover the entire shelf with backerboard too. Tape and thinset all the seams and screws. Waterproof with a liquid membrane, like Redgard then re-tile.

Blondesense 05-14-2013 01:21 PM

1 Attachment(s)
That tub should not have been used for a shower. That end without the flange is gonna be a problem. No way around that.

I'm no expert, but If replacing the tub is not an option, I would at minimum replace that shelf with angled tile. Water sitting on that shelf is not helping. It will just take its time soaking in. Slanting the tile will help get the water back into the tub. Also, avoid any wood in that area if at all possible. It is just prone to rot out.

Another thing you might consider, since you will be using a curtain, is a two sided curtain. Maybe not the ideal solution, but it will help keep water from hitting that area directly, which is a big part of your problem.

TheWorm15 05-14-2013 02:24 PM

Thank you for your responses...OK. I'm reaching the point where I'm going to just rip it all out and buy the right tub. Assuming I go back down to studs what would you guys reccomend? Roofing felt to the studs, backer board over that, tape and mud joints with thin set, coat backer board with waterproof membrane then caulk the gap between tub and backerboard?? Am I missing anything? Any tips?

bova80 05-14-2013 02:35 PM

if you coat the backerboard with waterproofing you should not using the roofing felt.

oh'mike 05-14-2013 05:08 PM

Set the new cast iron tub tight to the studs---

sister in some new studs if the fit is sloppy--

Install the new Durrock so that it rests on top of the tub flange==

Fill the resulting gap with thinset----allow to set--

Then use a brush on water proofing membrane--There are sever good ones--I use Hydroban--

Then set your tile using modified thinset----

TheWorm15 05-15-2013 06:38 PM

Thanks again for all of your feed back. I am planning my attack now, so that I don't have any surprises after I gut the tub area. I have plenty of extra tiles to replace what I break, and I can go pick up more mosaic accents to replace that part...however it looks like my accent 4x4 tiles ate all gone everywhere! Since these tiles go all around the entire bathroom, replacing them with anything else is out of the question. It looks like I should be able to remove them without damaging them if I'm careful, but if I break even one I'm screwed. Has anyone had any experience with this? Here is a picture of what the accent tiles look like
Also I'm going to do the waterproof membrane on the backerboard, but I was wondering why some people do roofing felt behind the backer board too? Just for my own curiosity. Thanks again!

oh'mike 05-17-2013 06:11 AM

Roofing felt was used long ago behind old plaster /concrete walls systems---(pre 1965)

Thanks to Google pulling up antique instructions the vintage instructions have resurfaced.

If water can not get behind the board because you waterproofed the surface---there is no need to
have another vapor barrier behind the board.

Just a week back, someone pulled up antique instructions to prove me wrong about some tiling method---

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