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Bath & Faucets

Removing a fiberglass tub and replacing it

We recently purchased a house and the bathtub has been leaking for a couple of months.  It's a fiberglass tub and whenever it was installed it wasn't done correctly and now the bottom is covered in hundreds of stress cracks.  SO that being said we are going to be ripping it out and replacing it with a porcelain on steel tub.  We are also replacing the surround.  We have somewhat of an idea where to start but one thing that we're not sure on at all is if we will have to rip out the drywall as well.  From what I've been able to see online people do it both ways. I'm just not sure which is the right way!  I'd prefer to do this in the quickest and easiest way but I also want to do it the right way!  Really I'd like some guidance for the whole process but if someone could at least tell me if we should rip down the drywall around the tub that would be a big help!



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Posted 2012-10-12T14:41:00+0000  by ladymariebug ladymariebug

Hi ladymariebug,


My name is George and I’d be more than happy to provide you with guidance on this project.


However remodeling projects, especially bath remodeling projects, change their course as the project progresses. This said instead of getting in a great detail and assuming problems you’ll be dealing with I’m only going to post some general guidance … and if you’re still interested in proceeding with the project, I’ll post  back on the remaining how to’s.


Starting with your questions/comments…


Stress cracks on the bottom of the fiberglass tub are the direct result of tub not being installed on something called mud bed. Mud bed is a support layer of mortar that is normally placed underneath the bottom of the tub.


Will you have to rip out the drywall in order to install porcelain tile?


Yes, in order to install porcelain tile in place of the surround existing drywall will have to be removed and replaced with cement based backer board. Drywall is not an approved tile backer board for use in wet areas.


What is the right way and where to start?


Right way would be to get everything out the way that is installed incorrectly, address water damage if present and install as already mentioned tile over the cement board using correct thinset, tile and grout.

Start with an expectation in mind that you may have to spend more on this project than what you originally intended to.


Get everything out the way inside the bath – you will need space to work and move materials around.


Use safety equipment, especially respiratory protection during demo. Having said this was leaking for couple of months you may easily find mold. Be smart during demo watch for mechanical lines and cover the bath drain so doesn’t get clogged with debris.


And finally don’t hesitate to post back here with any questions or comments you may have.



Posted 2012-10-15T19:55:45+0000  by George_HD_CHI
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