Refinishing your Cast Iron Bathtub with Porcelain Tile shower walls

Installing tile shower walls when refinishing a tub.With the various options in approaching a bathroom remodeling project, one of the most common decisions is whether you really want to part with your cast iron tub.  Your tub may in good shape and do not feel the need to go to the hassle to remove it OR it could just bring that old school character to the room that simply just needs to be there…  Let’s face the facts – Cast Iron bathtubs are not made the way they used to be so in many situations, a new tub is not an upgrade when durability is at stake.

If you desire new tile walls with a refinished bathtub then there are a few steps to take with proper scheduling.  If time is of the essence, you may be better off hiring a Remodeling Contractor that is well versed in both plumbing and tile work to keep from scheduling too many contractors for such a small project.  Doing this backwards can create many headaches so here is the rundown.

Demolition of the shower walls should obviously happen first and then followed by installation of new shower valves in the wet wall.  If you’re tub needs a new drain assembly and overflow kit (which is best practice) then all plumbing hookups should be completed on the front side.

Preparation of walls with tile board and waterproofing products will happen next.  Whichever products are used for boarding and waterproofing should be sealed down to the tub rails to prevent leakage at the seams.  Noble Sealant 150 is a product used with a caulking gun where a bead can be applied on the tub rail and then the board can be set directly on top for an initial seal.  A final bead can be used on the joint so you have a double seal at the tub/wall joint before tile is installed.  Noble Sealant is very sticky so it’s best to use masking tape for a straight and clean caulk joint.

After the walls are prepared, then tile and grouting procedures will commence.  Since the tub is being refinished, protection is not crucial but it’s still a good idea to use some drop clothes or other products to protect the tub from a dropped tile or getting it too messy with mortar or grout.

If you’re having your tub refinished directly after tile installation then the bottom joint should not be grouted or sealed with any type of silicone.  This way the tub refinisher can get his spray coatings in behind the tile gap.  Not to worry…  A refinisher will tarp off all the new tile so no over spray will stick on your new tile.  After refinishing is complete the final sealing of the tub wall joint can be done.

If you need to use the shower before the refinisher is scheduled (sometimes with on bathroom, you may need a break and to have your shower usable before the final phase is complete) then you’d obviously need to have the tub/wall joint sealed.  Keeping in mind that paint will not stick to silicone, you will need to use a product like PolySeamSeal caulking.  PolySeamSeal is a urethane based caulking that is paintable and will prevent mold growth better than 100% silicone.  After the refinishing coats are complete, a finish bead of sealant can be applied over top of the new work.

When the new tub coatings are cured, all final hookups of shower handles, drain shoes, overflow plates etc… can be mounted.  It’s important to be careful when working around these new bathtub coatings so that scratching or damage does not occur.

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