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Hello I am from Toronto and live in a condominium building that is about 50 years old (built in 1971) and am seeking advice on renovating an old shower/tub. My family has been having issues with the shower faucet leaking hot water since about November of last year possibly bit longer can't remember. We got our superintendent to fix it by replacing the shower faucet but it started leaking again a couple of months later. Superintendent told us we'd need to get the shower fixture replaced because the faucet part is very old and not made anymore. My dad has been leaving it off for a while.

Two days ago on Sunday one of the handles for the shower faucet popped off while he was in the shower and water started leaking in the room next to the shower. I have seen this happen once before but when go to check where the leak is coming from the next room we cant locate any holes. We got a plumber to come and check what is going on and in order to investigate they had to smash the wall to check the valve. Long story short he told us he thinks its been leaking behind the wall since the dry wall is wet. The water must have flowed into into the next adjacent room. He recommended that we destroy the the three walls and replace our dry wall + tiles.

Here is a link to what I am dealing with.

My friend recommended instead to buy a shower panel (EXAMPLE) that you just glue on top of the tiles instead of paying all that money to redo the whole thing. I mentioned the plumber said the drywall is wet behind but he said it would dry since once we replace our shower fixture there would no longer be any leaks. Not sure if he has a point wondering if the drywall will last over time.

If I were to get someone to redo the tiling it might be a few grand but the panels would just be a few hundred. We already have a plumber coming to replace the valve and will do the trim once we get a tile person to patch up the hole.

My questions are if I should consider this as a safe viable option and if it is easy for someone with little experience to do without messing up?

My dad is looking to renovate the whole bathroom so any advice is appreciated because we have zero knowledge about this stuff.

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  • Please take the tour (on general principles) to see the proper way of saying "thanks".
    – FreeMan
    Oct 12, 2022 at 12:44
  • If rebuilding, do your future selves a favor and use cement board (tile backer) not drywall. Not even "water resistant drywall". Tile is an expensive finish whether counted as time or money. Spend a rather small percentage of the total project cost on giving it the best base for long life.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 12, 2022 at 22:28

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Look at it this way: You fall and cut your leg deeply - into the muscle. You can go to the hospital where they'll properly stitch the muscle back together so it will heal right, then they'll sew up the visible skin layer so it heals correctly, too. OR you can just slap a Band-Aid™ on that sucker an let it heal on its own. With just a Band-Aid, the skin will heal (as will the muscle underneath - eventually) but it'll never be right - you probably won't be able to walk on it like you used to, you'll probably always have a limp. Sure, the Band-Aid is a whole lot cheaper, but so are the results.

You can slap a panel on the surface of the bathroom wall as a band-aid, but the wall will never be right (especially since it doesn't have the self-repair capabilities of the human body, it doesn't stand a chance). The only real option here is to remove the tile & drywall, replace any rotted wood, then rebuild the shower stall (and any other walls that have gotten wet) to modern standards*.


*They did the best they knew how in 1971, but water proofing technology has increased significantly in the ensuing 50+ years.

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  • Haha thanks for the analogy! Oct 12, 2022 at 12:19
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Covering over those walls will make it look better cosmetically but it will not correct the problem. There is signs of long-term water exposure. The best bet is to do as was suggested. Tear out the walls surrounding the tub and repair any underlying damage. Then new water resistant board and tile. Better yet use durarock and do a complete bath remodel. (It's over 50 years old!) Your father will be thrilled and you will be the good son.

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  • Got it will look into those materials, thanks! Oct 12, 2022 at 12:20

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