Bathtub repair/remodeling

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Posted by: from Edmonton
1/6/2012 at 8:25:51 PM

I'm hoping that some of the very knowledgeable people here can provide me with some help and advice in regards to my situation.

The bathtub wall was in need of some regrouting, as there were cracks in a number of spots. When I went to remove the grout, it became apparent that the walls needed more than just minor regrouting. None of the tiles were squishy, but once I started to remove the grout, it was clear that the drywall beneath was a bit soft. Some of the tiles became lose. As a result, I knew that the job was more than what I could possibly do myself.

I have gotten a quote from bathfitter. The person who came noted that the wall underneath the tiles was soft, but reassured me that they could repair any issues with the drywall, including the possible presence of mold, for ~$50 when they install. If the struts were also damaged, then the cost would be more, but he didn't say just how much more that would be. For a basic package (tub surround, window kit, tub insert, new faucet, and a curtain rod), I was given a quote for ~$3680. Given that the tub doors and faucet also need to be replaced, this doesn't seem completely unreasonable to me.

I know that there are other options, such as hiring a contractor, to redo the walls, but I have no idea what the costs will look like if I went this route. As well, our house may be put up for sale in the coming year (though I don't know when - long story).

So, my questions are:

1. What's your opinion of bathfitter?

2. In general, how much would it cost to have a professional come in to redo the walls?

3. If I go with bathfitter, should I opt for shower doors (~$525 extra)? For a ceiling panel (~$200)?

Thanks! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Date/Time1/16/2012 at 4:10:25 PM

First thing, I'm not sure of your construction costs in Alberta, but $3600 for a tub surround is way to much. You should be able to get the walls fixed properly with concrete board, new tiles, faucet, and doors for less than that.

When it comes to resale, buyers know that those surrounds are usually covering something up and they do not look as good as a nice tile job, in my opinion.


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Janine in Edmonton
Date/Time1/23/2012 at 12:34:10 AM

Thank you for replying :)

I am no longer considering Bathfitter (or anything similar).

Since my initial post, I have come across cultured marble (Trustone) and am now considering this as an option (at least until I get a quote). It *seems* like it is significantly better than going with an acrylic product, at least in terms of a tub surround. My sister and brother-in-law went to a local showroom (I wasn't able to do so that day), and they quite liked what the place had; the salesperson said that a tub surround, with installation, is usually ~$800. For this, we would have to do all the prep work, which isn't an issue. They also have cultured marble tubs, which are really nice, but they are a lot more expensive - and would require the removal of our old tub.

However, what I am now concerned about is a mismatch between the tub surround and the bathtub if I end up choosing to only go with the tub surround. The tub, which is close to 40 years old has some staining: some of which look like remnants from the removal of some kind of gripping decal; a couple of small but otherwise permanent stains on the tub ledge; and a few rough spots/scratches. I've looked at tub refinishing services, but have read a lot of conflicting reviews and opinions - some that say that it is an effective way to making a tub look new again, and others say that it's a waste of money.

Thus, I am yet again hoping that someone will be able to provide some feedback :) In sum, my main questions are:

1. What's your opinion of cultured marble?

2. What's your opinion of bathtub refinishing?


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Nick in Toronto
Date/Time1/25/2012 at 9:55:23 PM

I am from Toronto. If your tiles are loose and drywall is having water damage one thing is sure there is water damage and may be the studs are rotten, depends on how long it was damaged. No one can fix this problem in $50 and fix a small patch. See how many tiles are loose and drywall area is spongy? Check how much is the damaged area.

This is a grey area once you start opening there would be extra cost and you dont know where it would end.

If i were you do it FIRST TIME right approach would be best to go for.

Dont shoot in the dark and get carried with low number and end up paying more. My point of view.

Hope this helps.

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Janine in Edmonton
Date/Time1/29/2012 at 4:05:58 PM

We have now removed all the tiles, as well as the drywall. There was a lot of moisture back there (and mold). The window casing was also rotten underneath, and there is some damage to the studs along the back wall (which is also an exterior wall).

So, now the job will require:

- replacement of the window

- repair of the studs (especially the cross beam under the window).

In regards to the studs, I'm not certain as to what to do or who to consult.

We have now decided to replace the tub as well.


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Date/Time1/29/2012 at 8:59:12 PM

You might want to consider dealing with one company who can do all the work that is required. Otherwise you'll have 3-4 companies to deal with.

Since the tub is out and the window need replacement as well, replacing the damaged studs is an easy and cheap fix. Matching cultured marble walls with the tub is just a personal taste, what ever looks good to you is what you should use.

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Jacques from Stellium Renovations in Montreal
Date/Time2/1/2012 at 2:48:47 AM


Your situation is a rather common one. Most people who call me in to do their bathrooms, usually wait until the walls collapse to do anything about it. The damage you report is fairly common. I might recommend your letting the wood completely dry out and then try to pust a screwdriver into the wall studs. If you get penetration (say more than 1/4" in a couple of places), then you're looking at replacing that particular stud. Don't skimp, that wall is holding up your roof.

I might recommend considering some sort of waterproofing for the wall, under the tiles in order to avoid this problem in the future. I am certified in Scluter Systems, but there are many systems available to you. CBU (cement backer board) although not affected by water itself, is not water proof and water can seep through it. Therefore it requires waterproofing to insure against damaging the wall behind the tiles.

My real concern is the fact that a natural stone, like marble, is prone to damage and finish deterioration by acids and harsh chemicals. Some bathroom cleaners and cleansers can irreprerable harm the finish on marble, which essentially scraps your shower. I would recommend iusing a sealer for both the stone and the grout, and remember that it must be re-applied at regular intervals to maintan the finish over time. If you aren't ready to do it yourself, or pay a pro to do it for you. maybe marble isn't the right choice for you.

Just make sure you know what you're getting into. I always try and counsel my clients before they use a beautiful, but fragile or maintenance intensive product in their home, Forwarned is forarmed

Hope this helps

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James C from Got Mold? ™ in Saskatoon
Date/Time12/15/2012 at 5:56:33 PM

Did you contain the bathroom while removing the mold in thi bathroom? Use HEPA air filtration? So happy to hear you did not use bath fitter as in my industry of mold removal we hear an see a lot of times where they cover up rot and major microbial growth.

I would recommend you have the air quality in the areas outside of the bathroom if the mold contamination was more than 5-10 square feet it could potentially cause health concerns.

James C Watson

Got Mold?

306-652-MOLD (6653)


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