Creaking Americast tub

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by jjapogee, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. jjapogee

    jjapogee Light construction, remodelling

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    So. Cal. Mountains
    Installed an Americast tub a couple months ago- used 2x4 ledgers along back, as directed. Mfr does not recommend mud under the tub (will void warranty if it is used)- I was skeptical, but followed their recommendation.

    Tile is in and finished/caulked, and the tub has started creaking- along the bottom of the tub. Dang!

    Any ideas why they don't want mud under the tub? I have some access (via crawlspace) under the tub- it's sitting on 3/4 ply b/w a couple of I-joists- there's access through a slot where the waste/overflow drains out. Any suggestions on how to get this thing to quiet down?

    Edit: In reviewing some past threads on this issue, sounds like spray foam is a no-go...possibility of delaminating the tub structure. Some seem to bed this tub in mortar (regardless of mfr. recommendation), using visqueen b/w tub and mud- presumably to keep mud away from tub surfaces, where delaminating might occur. As mentioned, I've got little access via the waste/overflow slot in the floor- I might be able to shove some mortar in via that access, but could only push it in so far. Trying to protect the surface of the tub with visqueen could be tough/impossible. Is there any real risk in delam due to mortar contact?

    Creaking = movement....if I do nothing, am I risking eventual cracks/failure of the tub?

    I'd rather not call Americast about this...not optimistic I'd get any useful info....
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    This is just my understanding, not supported by tech documentation: it is not the CONTACT with some material that is a problem. It is that the entire tub needs to be able to move/expand/contract with heat etc, and restricting part of it stretches the bond.

    In any event, I have done plenty with no known issues. I would contact American Standard and see what they say. If they do say to send in the foam, be sure to use the "blue" can, minimal expansion type. But don't do anything until they tell you what to do.
  3. jjapogee

    jjapogee Light construction, remodelling

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    So. Cal. Mountains
    Just talked w/ Amer Standard- had to call twice, b/c the first person was truly clueless, and could not (would not?) transfer me to a supervisor.

    The second person was more helpful, but after describing the problem, they zeroed in immediately on the stringer as the problem. I was well aware of how critical it is, and made dang-sure it was dead-level and straight, and securely fastened to the wall. After roughing it in, it made no noise. Still, they persist that this is the only possible reason for creaking (even though the noise is coming from the bottom of the tub- not the perimeters).

    They said that if the stringer is properly installed, foam or mortar can be placed below the tub, but only if it the tub is relatively new- apparently, they have added a new layer to the bottom of the tub that has a 'waffle' appearance to it. Older tubs don't have this, and foam or mortar in contact with the surface will delaminate it. (I asked about placing plastic sheeting b/w tub & foam, and they said no-go.) If the tub doesn't have this layer, they said shims can be placed under the tub, but I'd rather not do this because a) access is limited/getting them in there would be tough, and b) I'm wary of having focal points of contact along the bottom of the tub where weight would be concentrated. They also said that if I do nothing, there is no risk of the tub cracking or failing- it'll just be a noisy tub.

    I haven't inspected the tub for the presence of this 'waffle' layer- will do so later today. Assuming it is present, I'd prefer to use foam, as I could more easily get it to the back end of the tub. I have to wonder, though, if the foam will eventually pack out and stop supporting it?

    Shoulda gone with cast iron. Live and learn, I guess.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  4. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I put a cast iron tub in 21 years ago; it is still a great tub, but did you ever lift one up? they are pretty heavy!
  5. jjapogee

    jjapogee Light construction, remodelling

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    So. Cal. Mountains
    This dang tub has just gotten creakier & creakier....I'm pissed!

    As noted in my original post, the tub was installed exactly according to A/S directions...the floor & stringer are dead level. When I called the A/S rep last year, they said a mortar bed would void the warranty- so it didn't get one (even though it's my SOP). After it was installed, it started creaking- called A/S, they said foaming it would be acceptable (seems like it would pack out, eventually). I didn't foam it at the time...hoped maybe some time would help?

    Over the months, that thing has just gotten noisier and noisier...now I'm thinking about foaming it in. I thought there would be access underneath it, but the drain access slot that's cut into the subfloor (exact dimensions/location spec'd by A/S) doesn't allow access to the back end of the tub...there's a rib that runs crosswise (just barely above the subfloor) that blocks access. Double dang!

    To get access to the middle or back end of the tub would require cutting another hole in the subfloor (assuming that rib really IS a rib, and doesn't extend along the length of the tub). Not even sure if that will work...and I'm not crazy about the risk of cutting into the tub.

    I will NEVER buy an A/S Americast tub again, nor recommend them to ANYONE.

    Rant over.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,816
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    MOst tub squeaks we trouble shot are the result of the tile and grout being in direct contact with the tub face. Before you start ripping things out check this.

    We like to tape some sill gasket around the tub skirt and up the sides before tiling and then cutting this away after. There should just be a small expansion gap of like a eight of room and that filled with silicone. You might test this theory by pressing on the face of the tub while another person walks around inside the tub. It might be just rubbing hard in one spot.

    Good luck.

    If you do use spray foam remember to fill that tub with water and let it sit a good day before draining.

    JW
  7. jjapogee

    jjapogee Light construction, remodelling

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    So. Cal. Mountains
    The tile is not in contact with the tub- there is a good bead of flexible, sanded caulk b/w the tile & tub surfaces. It's been installed/finished for a while, so short of a complete re-do, any such sill gasket isn't an option. In any case, the creaking is clearly coming from the bottom of the tub, towards the drain.

    Contrary to my original thoughts, since I can't seem to get any foam along the bottom (due to the rib that's formed on the underside of the tub that sits verrrry close..but not quite...in contact with the subfloor...that blocks access to the back end), I'm going to try to insert a few shims and see if that helps. If not, I'll probably try to foam it as much as possible (with water in the tub, as suggested) using minimal-expansion foam.
  8. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    Try reading the posts. I think he has made it very clear that he didn't use mortar and stated the reasons why.

    John
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    3,816
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Perhaps its the vertical length of waste pipe dropping through the floor? Is the waste pipe, or PTrap in contact with the framing or sheathing anywhere?

    There should always be room for expansion and maybe the pipes for the drainage are squeaking on the framing???

    JW
  10. jjapogee

    jjapogee Light construction, remodelling

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    So. Cal. Mountains
    Per the installation directions, there is a ~12" x 18" access slot cut in the plywood subfloor for the waste pipe/etc...nothing contacts it, whatsoever.

    What's really aggravating is that apparently A/S has since changed the design of this Princeton tub, and now has a 'waffle' structure on the bottom of it that allows the use of a mortar bed
    http://www.americanstandard-us.com/assets/documents/amstd/install/Install_1751.pdf

    That was NOT the case at the time I purchased/installed this tub- they were very adamant NOT to use mortar in both print, and on the phone. Seems quite obvious they had lots of similar problems (my discussion with A/S seemed to suggest this), and have since changed the design. Grrrrr.

    Thank you for the continued suggestions....I'm about out of options, so everything is appreciated.
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