I was looking at replacing my bathtub with a slightly wider, deeper
unit (32" wide over 30") - but space is so limited as is in the
bathroom that instead of taking up more floor space I was wondering
about going the other way and altering the wall behind the tub.
As I'd only need 2 inches more space and don't want to intrude into the
adjoining room, I was wondering if I could rebuild the wall other than
conventional stud construction - possibly turning the studs 90 degrees
so the framing thickness is 1-1/2" rather than 3-1/2", and to give it
more rigidity, instead of drywall, using 1/2" (marine) plywood instead
of wallboard on the tub side.
Is this a harebrained do-it-yourselfer's idea that would have
inspectors crying foul? I'd have to work out how it connects to the
rest of the framing, and it couldn't take an electrical box (and
there'd be no plumbing in that wall), but I've done enough structural
work on my house that I'd feel pretty confident in my work.
if this is an interior, non load bearing wall, it is doable. there are
no code issues that i am aware of (call your building department and
ask if you are going to have it inspected). the problem with flatwise
2x's is that they tend to not lie flat in that dimension. so you
should pick your material very carefully. another possibility is to
use steel studs flatwise, since they are perfectly straight. you would
have to use them in pairs, one facing in, one facing out. then the
track that comes with it wouldn't work, but you could divise something.
i'm not sure what you would gain with plywood, and marine plywood is
overkill. if you have that much water getting into your wall, you have
big problems which need to be fixed anyway.
I would feel pretty confident with turning 2x4 on side. I would
consider using cement board in that location.. rigid,waterproof. You
should be able to have elec box facing adjacent room as long as you
place it in space usually available as tub curves inward from top.
Thanks for the input, folks - and I'm glad to see replies that don't
include the words "You're insane". Good to see the electrical box is
still an option.
Re water damage, I guess I'm a little paranoid just now. The plastic
tub surround in there is cracking in spots, and it's backed with
green-paper gypsum board, not quite up to cement board. What's more,
the supply line connector into the toilet broke last week, flooding the
bathroom and adjacent room floors. Thankfully homeowner's insurance
will cover repair expenses (after a fat deductable), but things are
going to be upside-down here for a while. Maybe I should bite the
bullet and start this job while the place is taken apart.
If you could steal an inch from both sides, it would leave the drain
where it is and probably allow you to rip an inch off the 2x4s above the
tub[below it isn't required] and construct the same style wall. You
could probably even cheat a little and recess the tub into the wall to
the finish overlaps a bit more than normal and no one would notice.
If you look at the other side of the wall much I would be wary of the
wall warping with 2x4 sideways. If it is a closet or something, who cares?
Assuming the wall isn't load bearing, it sounds doable, just a lot more
You could reframe the wall with studs turned on their sides, but then
you'll have to sheetrock, paint, etc. the room on the other side. If I were
going this route, I would find the straightest KILN DRIED 2x6 studs I could
find. These would offer slightly more strength than a 2x4 layed flat, and I
would think it would offer better resistance to twist if you anchored each
If you want to try avoiding damage to the wall on the other side, how about
cutting the original studs back 2"? You could set your circular saw to a
2" depth, then cut notches every 1" or so. Then knock out the pieces. If it
were me, I'd add a layer of 3/4" plywood, SCREWED every 6" to the studs to
add extra strength. Then install your tub. If you're tiling, put hardiboard
or durock over the plywood.
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