Basement Bathtub, one piece, or cast with one piece surround, Brand preferences

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by lj973gm, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. lj973gm

    lj973gm New Member

    I am going to be installing a bathtub within the next month. I am in a time crunch or else I would just being doing a cast iron tub and tile walls but the wife wants this room done before the baby is due.

    This is going in the basement. I can clear a 32" wide tub and around 78" of height (left hand drain) if I yank the stairs to get it down there. There used to be a stand up shower where this unit will be going. There is a 4" cast iron drain cut flush to the floor that I will have to convert. I am guessing break up the floor in the area and convert to PVC. Will likely cut the cast behind the existing trap and transition to the PVC trap and stub up, then align properly for tub drain. Please correct me if I am incorrect.

    I have installed a number of tubs i the past (I am a commercial electrician and residential HVAC Tech/installer by trade, not a plumber) but as stated all have been cast iron with a tile surround so I am a bit lost on what brands make a high quality one piece unit.

    If there are no one piece units that will fit my needs then I will likely go with a cast iron tube and a single piece surround. Seams look cheap in my eyes and just a are a place for a possible failure.

    Please list units that are of solid construction and that you would be proud of in your own home. There does not seem to be all that many one piece units that are made, the reviews I have seen so far are less than promising but could be due to poor installs.

    I know there have been advances in products in the recent years so just looking for some plumbers experiences.

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks

    If I missed any vital information needed for a recommendation please let me know.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    One piece units are quite difficult to maneuver into an existing house without damage or heartache. They normally are used in new construction and put in before all the walls are up. But, if you can get it in, more power to you! Keep in mind that the tub will need not only a drain, but it must be vented properly. That may or may not be in the wall and under the slab so you may need to crack more concrete and make provisions for that as well. It's unusual that a shower would have a 4" drain line, and it may have been cobbled to gether incorrectly - a shower is normally a 2" drain unless it is quite old, then might have been a 1.5" one (today's code requires a 2" drain on a shower). Some codes require any pipe underneath a slab to be at least 2". A tub could use a 1.5" line, but 2" underneath the slab is better.

    So, I see some concrete work in your future. It's hard to tell what you have and its condition from above.

    Can't help on the brand/model thing, but hopefully others can.
  3. lj973gm

    lj973gm New Member

    Thank you for your response. Here is some more insight to clear up the vent concern.

    The house is older construction 1950's. It is for sure 4" cast. It has a main vent 4" for the future tube and toilet within 5 feet of where the tub will be going. From what I have looked into this is up to code in my area. I believe it is called a wet vent in this configuration.

    As for my plans to cut the concrete and access the original p-trap it is to convert to 2" PVC. I should have included that in my first post.

    I plan to toss a hose into the drain in the near future and let it run wide open to see how it handles the water. When I moved in the first thing I did was gut the basement and never used the stand up shower so I should verify before I go any further.
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Land of Cheese
    It sounds to me like you have a 4" stack coming down, which is in reality a drain for fixtures up above. If so, this cannot be used as a vent unless the connection is made up on the floor above, at least 6" above the flood rim of the highest fixture connected to the stack. No plumber would have ran a 4" vent for a basement.
    A decent crew would have a nice tile surround done in a few days, starting from scratch. There are times when some professional help pays for itself, but I didn't need to tell you that.
  5. lj973gm

    lj973gm New Member

    Thanks for pointing out my careless typing. The 4" drain is for the shower and the head, you are also correct that there is another head above. There are two different 2" vents that go into the slab. I am guessing one for the head and one for the shower.

    I wish I had the extra coin and time for a crew to come knock out the job but it is not in the cards.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    It's pretty typical that one-piece tub/showers are locally made, so it's a little hard to find reviews on them. They are large and bulky, and not an easy thing to ship long distance.

    If you can find a way to bring one to the basement in one piece, of course that's an option.
    Sterling makes a kit that installs fairly easily though. The wall kit snaps into place after the tub is set.

    It's kind of what you feel is best for you. Most installers find that placing either a shower pan or tub down first, and then installing walls is easier in the long run.
    With a one piece, or even the Sterling kit, you have to drywall over the flange, tape and texture and then paint. Often, when you are building them in piece by piece, you can extend the surround to cover whatever drywall had been cut out. A little more on solid surface and forget about having to do drywall or painting.
    If you have bare wood framed walls down there, you will be doing drywall anyway. Either way, when it's done, it's going to be screaming!
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