INSIDE & OUT : Tub Can Be Replaced Before Remodel


Q. We’re really in need of a new bathtub, but we’re not ready to remodel the bathroom. We’d like to just replace the tub for now, but we’ve been told that because replacing a tub usually damages tile, floors and walls, it’s best to remodel the bathroom after it’s done. Can a tub replacement be done without causing much damage?

S. E., Garden Grove

A. Yes, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating Supply in La Habra. The floor can be easily protected by putting drywall on it. It’s inexpensive, and it’s dense enough to keep the floor from being gouged.

On shower enclosures that have been tiled, you’ll need to remove the bottom two layers of tile to get the tub out cleanly.


It’s also a good idea to replace the valves behind the fixtures while you’re at it, because they’re likely to be worn.


Q. My two teenagers, who’ve been sharing a bedroom, have covered one of their walls with stickers. Now that we’re planning to sell our condo, we’ve tried to remove the stickers and have ended up pulling off the top layer of drywall. Is there a way to get these off without causing more damage?

H. H., Anaheim

A. It’s best to have some sharp razor blades and lots of patience, says painter Will Graves of Orange. Of course, use gloves when working with blades, and scrape up or down on a sticker a little at a time.

After the sticker is removed, use acetone or paint thinner to remove the remaining adhesive. Drywall mud may have to be applied to the areas where the surface has been removed, and an oil-based primer should probably be used before you apply a finish coat.


Q. We have a cream-colored ceramic tile floor in our kitchen, and in one corner, a 3-inch piece of one of the tiles has broken away. I tried gluing it back to the piece on the floor, but that didn’t work very well. Is there a stronger glue I should use?

D. F., Mission Viejo

A. Even if you’re able to “glue” the tile back into place, it would probably break off again in the near future, says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. The tile broke because of excess stress. Either something dropped on it or the house settled.

The broken tile needs to be removed and a whole tile needs to take its place, she says. If you don’t have any spares, take the broken piece to a tile shop and see if you can find a matching replacement or one that might look similar to the tile you have.


Q. I try my best to keep my front lawn up, but I think my efforts are encouraging weeds to break through the driveway. What’s the best way to get rid of them?

M. C., San Clemente

A. There are a number of good weed killers on the market, says contractor Jim Amos of Santa Ana. First, spray the affected areas and remove the weeds. Once the cracks are clear and clean, use a patch designed for your cement or asphalt driveway.

The reason the weeds are growing up out of the driveway is that water is seeping down to the soil. If you apply the patch correctly to seal up the crack, it should effectively prevent the weeds from busting through again.


Q. Is it worth the trouble of getting on the roof to put a plastic bag over the turbine vents on my roof?

C. B., Brea

A. It’s a good idea if you’re comfortable climbing up to the roof, says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

Putting a bag or a cover designed for a vent prevents it from releasing the warmer air in your attic space during the winter. It will also keep rain from getting inside and affecting your roof insulation. It’s not a good idea to close off side vents since some homes have bathroom fans that vent into the attic space.