cracking porcelain over steel tub

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by thomasWshea, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    So, I have a low end porcelain over steel tub in my condo (built in 2000) that creaks and pops a lot under my feet, and I believe what ever support that was under the tub has failed.

    There are many fine racks in the bottom of the top, and one area in particular, near the drain, actually sits lower than the drain, so water pools and sits in that area.

    I hate this tub - beyond words. I'm planning to replace it - after reading many pluses and minus on tub materials, I'm seriously thinking of cast iron, based partly on my experience with dad's cast iron tub, and how it doesn't move at all under my feet.

    How long do you think I have before I have a real problem with this tub, such as the tub rusting to a point that the porcelain begins popping up etc.

    The tub is being used for 3 showers a day.

    Thanks!
    IMG_20140212_193540_019.jpg IMG_20140212_193618_632.jpg
  2. dhagin

    dhagin builder:anti-builder

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    oahu
    No way of knowing, of course. Could be rusted through to immanent failure as we speak, or might get another few showers out of it, or a few years...

    What is the worst that could happen if it fails now? Plan for that now and be ready to switch it out when it does fail. :)
  3. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    Thanks for the reply...we're kind of just pending to see what happens, and ready to replace if it goes. I was expecting some of the porcelain to come loose before it fails, but it sounds like that may or may not happen.
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,281
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Eventually the steel will rust and either the appearance will make you get rid of it, or it will rust through and start leaking. Either way, those tubs were a bad idea for everyone except the people who profited from them.
  5. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    Exactly, this tub has creaked and popped since day one. I went into HD, and I saw a similar if not identical unit for 99$, which was a clue that it is a "slap it in" el cheap o unit.

    The thing that gets me is this tub was 99$, and a quality villager cast iron unit is 400$. You'd think for a major fixture, spending an extra 300$ is the more value based decision, when replacing it prematurely will cost thousands. But I guess that's on the poor sap that like me that gets stuck with it.

    Next place I buy, I'll be more carefully auditing the basic fixtures etc. Within 6 months, I had to replace the toilet in this place. It was the most ill flushing pos i'd ever dealt with. I went with a Toto, never a problem since.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,332
    Location:
    New England
    There are ways to make those less expensive tubs last longer (and this applies to many fiberglass and acrylic tubs as well) - when installing them, set them into a bed of wet mortar. That supports the bottom of the tub and minimizes or prevents (depending on you well you do it) the thing from flexing. Done right, they can feel as solid as a CI tub, but still won't last as long. But, in their effort to save time and money, that step is often skipped and what you're seeing is what happens, sometimes, fairly quickly.
  7. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    Yeah, I've read that. From how the tub acts, I am almost 100% sure they didn't do that. If I have to replace it, I am planning on going with cast iron at this point. Thanks for the input!
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Loose Weight ?

    I am not right.

    Carry on.
  9. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    LOL.

    Just the weight of the water can hose a lot of those cheap tubs.

    I miss the old Cast Iron Tubs that you had to heat up before use, or the hot water would get cold.


    Have Fun.
  11. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    Yeah I don't know if the kohler villager is as thick as the cast iron tubs of yesteryear, but I know my dad's kohler cast iron tub from 2008 doesn't have a noticeable problem sucking the heat out of the water. That may be partly that people are keeping houses warmer now than they did years ago. I imagine improvements in insulation have made it cheaper to keep a house at 72 degrees, though now all the green politicos would prefer us keeping our houses at 65 and using toxic CFLs bulbs in every fixture - forget that, I don't live in the free world to freeze, and look green under low grade CFLs.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,267
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; You'd think for a major fixture, spending an extra 300$ is the more value based decision,

    The "value based decision" is usually, "how much does it cost NOW". If that were not the main criteria nobody would buy the cheap stuff.
  13. thomasWshea

    thomasWshea New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    WA
    good point. my wording was off. i meant: I rather pay more now for a longer lasting product that has a lower cost of ownership per year down the road.
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