Replace the Fiberglass Bath with a new Acrylic Shower

Replace the Fiberglass Bath with a new Acrylic Shower

The log cabin has a cream colored one-piece fiberglass tub and shower combo. The plumbing behind it needs repair, so this might be an opportunity to replace it with a new white acrylic shower.

The existing fiberglass tub at the log cabin

We have frequent advertisements from Rebath and Bath Fitter on TV here. They are both companies that can remodel a bathroom in just one day.

I looked them both up. Both can put a new tub or shower right over what you already have.

“Re-Bath Bathtub Liners are custom manufactured to fit perfectly over your old ugly bathtub. Professional installation is completed in just a few hours and your new bath is ready for use the same day!”

www.rebath.com

“Here’s where Bath Fitter really shines: our one-day installation. We install your tub or shower liner right over your existing bath with no demolition. You’ll be soaking in a brand new tub within 24 hours.”

www.bathfitter.com

They both can also remove what you have and put in something new or do complete bathroom remodels.

Can you do a ReBath/Bath Fitter remodel yourself? Yes you can. They sell stuff that glues over what you have.

But, it looks like the one-day method won’t really work for us, since they fit over what we have and that’s where the problem is. It might be easier anyway to just rip it out and start over. (Says the person who will be watching and encouraging.)

When I searched for ReBath and Bath Fitter, Google also showed a link to American Standard. They have a competitor service using American Standard products.

American Standard Rope Twist Acrylic Tub and Bath Walls

A few years ago, after doing a lot of research, I put an American Standard Rope Twist Acrylic Tub and Bath Walls into the other bathroom at the log cabin. I’ve been really happy with it. It looks great and is easy to clean. We could do that something like that.

When I bought the log cabin it had one and a half bath. I used a closet to add a tub to the bath off the master bedroom and I love it.

Project: Finding the Deepest Tub for the Money

So should we make it a tub or a shower? The bath remodel ads are always showing turning tubs into showers. The house already has the other nearly new tub. I am thinking shower.

I will start with comparing American Standard products, see what’s involved, then see what other options there are.

First, the shower base or pan. The drain is on the left, so I will start comparing the American Standard Ovation Curve 30” x 60” Single Threshold Left Hand Drain Shower Base in Arctic White.

  • Shower Base $211.00

They make shower walls that go with the base, just like the walls that I got to go with the tub, American Standard Ovation Curved 30” x 60” x 72” 3-piece Direct-to-Stud Alcove Shower Wall in Arctic White.

  • Alcove Wall Set $333.15

American Standard also makes glue up, cut-to-fit panels. They are made from acrylic and can be trimmed to fit. They glue directly onto waterproof drywall.

Do we have waterproof drywall under the fiberglass walls? I don’t know. If not, we would have to install it. Once we pull out the old tub we will know for sure.

  • Waterproof drywall, if needed
  • 60” back bath wall $249.00
  • 36” side bath wall set $319.00

I wouldn’t need both. This is an alternative if the other walls won’t fit.

Home Depot says people usually add a sliding shower door, but I’m not doing that. I removed the one that was in my old house because I don’t like cleaning them. If I repent, I can put one in later.

We already need at least some of the plumbing parts… so I can rationalize not including that cost…

So what’s involved with the installation and can we do it ourselves?

American Standard Curved Front Acrylic Shower Base Drain Location

Installation Instructions for American Standard Curved Front Acrylic Shower Base

American Standard Curved Front Acrylic Shower Base Drain Location

1-Prepare the Floor

Ensure the floor and stud walls are square and plumb.

Provide a 5″ x 5″ (127mm x 127mm) opening in the floor for the drain.
The drain plug accommodates a 2″ (51mm) PVC waste pipe.
The waste pipe should extend above the surface of the sub-floor 3/8″ – 1/16″.

American Standard Installation Instructions for Curved Front Acrylic Shower Bases >

There is a drain there already. If it isn’t in the correct place, we would have to move it.
Is there some standard for drain location that makes it likely that it is in the correct location?

Install the drain to the shower base

2-Install the Drain

Before installing drain into the shower base, remove strainer. This will be installed after shower base is in its final position.

Install the drain to the shower base. Use silicone sealant between drain body and shower base.

It looks like the drain doesn’t come with the shower base, so we need to add that to the shopping list.

3-Create a Bed

After leveling base on subfloor, use base and mark studs. This will be the installed height of shower base. Mix the low-shrink bedding material (grout, mortar, plaster, etc.). Concrete is not recommended. Apply enough bedding material to support the entire bottom of the shower base. The bedding material must not be used under the apron (front edge).

Lift and lower shower base over center of drain pipe and set into place

4-Put the Shower Pan on the Bed

After the bedding material has been poured and before it sets, lower the shower base into position with the drain assembly sliding over the waste pipe.

“Rock” the shower base until the top of the tile flange aligns with the lines drawn on the stud walls. Make certain the apron is contacting the rough floor along the entire length of the shower base. Insure that the base is level in two directions. Snap strainer back into place and check for proper drainage.

Make sure the apron touches the floor the entire length of the shower base and is level in side to side and front to back.

5-Finish the Walls

Tape over the strainer to protect the finish and prevent construction debris from entering the drain.

The next instructions are for tile walls. I prefer the acrylic walls, so let’s see what’s involved.

Stud Layout for American Standard Wall Surround over a the installed shower base
Click to open larger

Here are the measurements. I don’t know if the 2x4s are in the right place. What’s involved if they are not?

The studs should be located as shown to properly support walls. Provide additional studs where illustrated.

If installing wall panels over greenboard and/or firewall material and not directly on the studs, your alcove dimensions must consider the thickness of this material. Measure from the inside of the finished walls.

American Standard Installation Instructions for Acrylic Shower Wall Surrounds >

Until we get into this project, I don’t know what is under the fiberglass. The bathroom is the size it is, so perhaps remove the waterproof drywall if it is there?

The instructions start with the shower door, so I am skipping over that part.

Taking a break now to get more measurements and pricing.

After watching some more YouTube videos and reading BEFORE & AFTER: Replacing My Fiberglass Bathtub from Thrift Diving, we may just try to repair what we have for now.