Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tiling a Shower

Progress on Renovating a Shower Continues

By Mark J. Donovan

I spent most of yesterday tiling my shower. This is after spending a couple of weekends removing the old ceramic tile, backer board and fiberglass shower pan, and installing new backerboard, and a mortar shower pan.

Suffice it to say renovating the shower has been a major project. One significant contributor to the work, particularly as it relates to tiling the shower, is cutting the tiles in my garage. Though this has helped to prevent a colossal mess in the bathroom and given me room to work, it has meant lots of running up and down stairs, 1.5 flights. I feel like I have been on a stair stepper for 2 hours and completed about a 1,000 squats.

I expect to wrap up tiling the shower walls today, however not until I first go out and purchase a new tile saw. My existing tile saw has seen its last days. It was a cheap tile saw that I bought for $75 at HQ (yes HQ) many years ago, and I have probably completed 20 tile projects with it. The motor has about had it, even with a sharp blade. So I guess it is time to bite the bullet.

After wrapping up the tiling on the shower walls, I will then move onto the shower floor. This will be a little tricky due mainly to the curb. The size and shape of the curb is creating some extra challenges.

Hopefully by next weekend I will be able to grout the tiles and be ready for the final plumbing.

Once complete look for a couple of more videos on learning how to tile shower walls, and apply grout.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to Test a Zone Valve

How can You Check to See if a Zone Valve is Working

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: My hot water heating system does not seem to be operating properly. One of the zones does not seem to produce any heat. How can I test a zone valve to see if it is working properly?

Answer: To test your hot water zone valve, turn the thermostat up that is associated with the particular zone valve. Make sure to turn it up high enough so that it is warmer than the current temperature in the room.

You should immediately begin to hear and feel hot water flowing through the heating elements. If you do not, then you have a problem with the zone valve, circulator pump or thermostat.

If there is a lever on the zone valve, you can also push it to the on position to see if hot water will begin to flow through the heating elements. Once you push this lever to the on position, you should begin to feel or hear hot water flowing through the heating elements. Note, however, that when this lever is turned to the on position, the thermostat cannot control it. Hot water will continue to flow through the heating elements until you push the lever back to the closed position. If this test works, then chances are the circulator pump is working.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Installed Shower Pan over Weekend

Installing a Mortar Shower Pan for a Ceramic Tile Shower

By Mark J. Donovan

Well I pretty much spent the entire weekend installing a shower pan for a ceramic tile shower. Though I have a few sore muscles today, I am pleased to say that it is all done and looks great. And I am positive it won’t leak!

A few weeks back I removed all of the old ceramic tile and cement backer board from my 3’x3’ master bath shower. So this weekend, I installed a new mortar shower pan and cement backer board in preparation for new ceramic tile.

I also filmed the entire shower pan installation process and took tons of still pictures. I have already incorporated the new pictures into my latest revision of the “Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook”.

Installing a mortar shower pan and membrane liner is a fairly complicated project, however my Ebook provides step-by-step instructions and pictures to enable you to install your own mortar shower pan and membrane liner. You can immediately download a copy of my Ebook at “Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook”.

Later this week I will release a new “How to Install a Mortar Shower Pan” video. Look for it on, as well as on various video webhosting sites.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Building a Mortar Shower Pan This Weekend

By Mark J. Donovan

I am building a mortar shower pan this weekend and will be filming it. Stay tuned for a series of new videos on building a mortar shower pan using a shower pan membrane liner. I will also show how to install backer board, tile a shower, and even how to cut backer board.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Review of Rockwell’s RK4245K Random Orbital Sander

By Mark J. Donovan

In the below video, I review Rockwell’s latest random orbital sander. This is a high powered sander that offers some fantastic features in terms of vibration reduction, noise attenuation, and dust control.

I found the Rk4245K random orbital sander to perform extremely well. With its 2.7 amp motor and 5 inch head, it was able to quickly sand surfaces smooth, and remove old stains quickly. I also did not experience any type of tingling in my hands after using it for an extended period. Rockwell’s new VibraFree Active Canceling Technology does a fantastic job of reducing vibration in the random orbital sander.

If you are in the market for a new random orbital sander, check out the Rockwell RK4245K random orbital sander. It offers state of the art features at an affordable price.

Removing Fiberglass Shower Pan

A New Video on How to Remove an Old Fiberglass Shower Pan

By Mark J. Donovan

In the below video, I show the third stage in remodeling a custom ceramic tile shower, the removal of the old fiberglass shower pan.

After removing the old ceramic wall tile and backer board from the shower area, I then proceeded to remove the old fiberglass shower pan. This was a simple process. All that was required to remove the fiberglass shower pan was to drill out the rubber seal flange around the perimeter of the shower drain. After drilling enough holes around the perimeter of the shower drain and cutting away some of the rubber flange from the drain I was able to simply lift the fiberglass shower pan off of the existing shower drain.

To prevent putting too much pressure on the shower drain pipe I used a screw driver to hold it in place as I lifted the fiberglass shower pan off of it. I also put a large rag in the drain pipe to prevent any loose rubber flange pieces from falling into the drain.

I also was fortunate in the fact that there were no existing metal flange brackets holding the fiberglass shower pan to the wall studs.

Removing Backer Board from an Old Ceramic Tile Shower

A New Video on the Removal of Backer Board from a Shower Stall Area

By Mark J. Donovan

In the below video, I show the second stage in remodeling a custom ceramic tile shower, the removal of the old backer board.

In the process of removing the old ceramic wall tile from the shower the backer board became significantly beat up, such that it made sense to replace it.

Removing backer board is easy to do, however it takes a little effort to find all of the screws. Some of them were buried under mortar and thus I had to do some scraping to find all of the screws. Fortunately, however, I used screws when applying the backer board 15 years ago. Removing nails would have been much more difficult.

Backer board is constructed out of a cement based material and is therefore quite heavy. I recommend having a spare pair of hands handy when removing backer board. Besides being quite heavy it is also awkward to remove. In addition, it is very messy as the backer board breaks easily. Also make sure to where a pair of leather gloves when removing backer board as it extremely coarse and rough on the hands.

Removing Shower Ceramic Wall Tile

A New Video on the Removal of Ceramic Wall Tile from a Shower Stall

By Mark J. Donovan

In the below video, I show the first stage in remodeling a custom ceramic tile shower, the removal of the shower ceramic wall tile.

When removing shower ceramic wall tile make sure you where safety goggles and leather gloves as chips of ceramic tile fly everywhere. This 3’x3’ shower stall area took about 3 hours to completely remove the ceramic wall tiles. I used a hammer, heavy duty chisel, and a utility knife to remove the ceramic wall tile. It requires some significant hand strength as you will be swinging a hammer for an extensive period of time.

If you plan to replace your shower tile and want to keep the existing shower pan, make sure to lay cardboard in the shower pan prior to removing the ceramic wall tiles. Otherwise you may end up inadvertently destroying your shower pan.

Remodeling Small Master Bedroom Bathroom

New Video Series Coming on Remodeling a Small Master Bedroom Bathroom

By Mark J. Donovan

Last week I kicked off remodeling a small master bedroom bathroom project. The bathroom is only 6’ x 8’ and includes a toilet, small vanity, and a 3’ x 3’ ceramic tile shower. Over the next two months I plan to completely remodel every aspect of the bathroom.

I have already started the process of kicking off the largest effort associated with remodeling the bathroom, the renovation of the ceramic tile shower. I have removed the old ceramic tile, the backer board, and even the fiberglass shower pan. I plan to replace the fiberglass shower pan with a mortar based shower pan so that I can tile both the shower floor and walls.

Once I complete the custom ceramic tile shower project, I plan to move on to the bathroom floor, where I will install ceramic floor tile over the existing linoleum. However, before installing the ceramic floor tile, I will remove the old bathroom vanity and toilet.

After completing the ceramic tile floor I will replace the old bathroom vanity with a new modern bathroom vanity, countertop and sink. I will, however, keep the existing toilet.

Besides the shower, floor and vanity, my small master bedroom bathroom remodeling project will also include replacing the old bathroom window, installing a new bathroom mirror, painting the bathroom walls, installing new baseboard and window trim moulding, and installing new towel bars and rings.

I plan to film all aspects of this small master bedroom bathroom remodeling project so stay tuned in the days and weeks ahead. The videos that I produce will show detailed steps on how to remodel your own small master bedroom bathroom.