Tub-surround project may surround you with options
Q: I want to change the look of my bathroom by putting in a new “tub surround.” I want to avoid ripping out the ceramic tile if possible. Are there special panels that I can glue or attach to my present tile wall? Any options will be appreciated. -- Ken, Illinois
A: When it comes to upgrading and/or replacing tub/shower-area components, I recommend working with a licensed and insured contractor who can help suggest the best option. To help give you a little guidance, here are some things to consider:
n If your tile surround walls are in very good shape: I’ve seen refinishing contractors who can actually prep and re-coat the tile walls with epoxy-type paints to change the color and finish.
n You can also have the present tile surround walls professionally lined and sealed with custom-cut waterproof panels, as long as the wall construction is sound.
n This may be the most expensive option, but it does give you a lot of choices. Completely gut the tub/shower area and start fresh. Now you can upgrade the plumbing and install a new multipiece tub-shower unit for a totally fresh look. You can even use a walk-in shower base instead of a tub to create a large comfortable shower stall complete with a seat.
Bottom line: Any of these options may work. But the key is to choose a reliable contractor so you don’t get into any hot water “before” your tub/shower project is completed!
Master plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes. Scripps Howard News Service.