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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shower: Estimates and Demolition

I've been interviewing plumbers to get an estimate on rebuilding our shower base as well as building and waterproofing our shower walls so that I could tile.

The first plumber let me know that rebuilding a cement base would be an extravagant cost that he doesn't do, but he knew a guy that did it.  He even called this guy while in our home for an estimate which ended up being around $2300.00 sight unseen and didn't even include waterproofing the walls.  This plumber's estimate of over $1400.00 included three parts:
  1. Redoing the drain pipes to code.  Apparently, in 2003 when we had our tub turned into a shower, they did not give us the right pipe diameter.  We have had no problems with draining our shower, but code is code!
  2. Replacing the pressure valve and shower trim.  A pressure valve helps control the water temperature when water is used in other areas of the house by regulating the pressure.  The shower trim includes the handle to turn on the water and the back plate that covers the hole for this handle.  Again, we have had no problems; however, I do want to change out our brass shower trim for an oil rubbed bronze finish.  I had planned to get my current trim powder coated, so I really didn't need this in the estimate.   (More on powder coating later.)
  3.  A fiberglass shower base and drain.  The idea that this would cost less then the cement base was intriguing.  The fact that his estimate stated a 'chrome' drain along with all the other 'additions' led me to believe this plumber was just adding up his profit.

The second plumber - actually both 'plumbers' were estimators for their employers.  They may have had a plumbing background, but their job was to assess the project and provide an estimate.  So, why am I still waiting for the second plumber's estimate?  It has been over a week.  He also suggested updating the pipes to code and to use his company's brand of shower base, along with a new pressure valve and trim.

Today, I might have found my shower installer!  He doesn't do plumbing and did not suggest new shower trim or plumbing changes.  His estimate for creating a cement shower base and water proofed walls ready for tiling was $900.00.  He doesn't give written estimates.   WHY IS THIS SO HARD?  The only reason I'm considering him is because he was referred by a local interior designer and he has been in the business for many years.

Well, regardless of who will be rebuilding our shower, we still need to demolish the old one.  I purchased an angle grinder and a diamond blade disc to aid in cutting through the tile and grout.  I picked up a sturdy face mask knowing that the air would be filled with grout and ceramic powder.  We also picked up a 'Bagster' which is a flexible dumpster bad that will be picked up by Waste Management when we call them.  It holds 3 cubic feet of debris and should hold our shower walls and floor and a few other items we need to get rid of.  Here's a few pics of the fun.

Don starts in on the niche wall.

I held a fan up to the window to try to exhaust the dust.

I was pretty tired at this point and didn't realize I was being filmed. 

At the end of the day, we left the shower floor, a few tiles in the niche wall, a very dusty mess, and damaged drywall to deal with the next day.

Have you had the challenge of demolishing a shower or other structure in pursuit of something new and improved?  Enter a comment below and let me know if it was as fun as they show it on HGTV!

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