Installing a Kohler Villager Cast Iron Tub

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Terry, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Under the front apron. I'm pretty sure he screwed a ledger into the wall, but I wasn't there so I will confirm
  2. BillTheEngineer

    BillTheEngineer Member

    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    Hauppauge, NY
    Read the MFG instructions for leveling, The last Kohler CI tub I did said to not shim under the front skirt or apron, voids the warranty. CI tubs are stiff but usually start at the 300 lbs mark, add 175s lb for a person and 350 lbs for the water and that is a lot to put on the skirt and/or apron. There are four feet on the bottom of the tub, and that is where the shimming should be. I use metal shims, no compression and they spread out the load better. Simpson Strong Tie has a few flat products that are galvanized and work well and are cheap and at you lumber yard or big box store. The tub generally should not rest on the front skirt, there is a good chance of chipping the porcelain. Unless you are putting in a vinyl floor the tile will will hide any gap between the floor and front skirt.
  3. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
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    Been setting cast iron tubs on ledger strips and there aprons for 50 years.

    John
  4. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    I'm sure you are correct. I have called the plumber back to do the job properly before laying tile all around this beast. Unfortunately, he seemed a little unsure how to maneuver the shims into place under the Heavy Beast.

    Any suggestions on the best way to get those shims into place under the tub?
  5. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    This tub by Toto appears to be strong, well-designed, and does not isntall with a ledger board. Instead, the load is supported at the correct (bottom surface) location with four feet cast into the bottom of the tub.
  6. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Kohler tub also had legs, but we still used a ledger strip.

    John
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,121
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    All of the older plumbers have been using the ledger for the back support on cast iron tubs.
    It seems the directions to support under the legs is a CYA statement by the lawyers. They don't install tubs though.
    I would love to have the people that write those things come out to a jobsite sometime. When a tub is dropped into a three wall alcove that has been drywalled in on the back side, it can get very interesting.

    Also, I don't know of any tub installed the way we do, using the ledger board method that doesn't look perfect 50 years later.
  8. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    (All of the older plumbers have been using the ledger for the back support on cast iron tubs)
    I guess I must be one of those old plumbers.

    John
  9. jch

    jch New Member

    I just installed a Kohler Villager cast iron tub in my bathroom. Followed the advice here and it went smoothly.

    I put a ledger on the back wall to support it at the rim and then have the front apron resting on the plywood subfloor. Because it's cast iron, the tub is not perfectly true (it's got a slight twist to the top surface. So if one end showed level the other end wouldn't.

    I flipped it up on to its apron (on a moving blanket), slid it up to the alcove, then rolled it down onto its feet and the ledger board.

    The main thing is that if you stand on the rails and move around that the tub doesn't budge. Otherwise you'll get leaks at the drain over time -- at least that's what my plumber told me :)

    Hope this helps,
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Two items regarding replacing a cast iron tub.
    1. If you remove it without busting it into pieces, then you know EXACTLY how to install the new one by just doing the opposite steps.
    2. I have not had assistance in moving or installing cast iron tubs for "decades". IF it is done "smart" instead of "brute force" two men are usually not necessary unless it is for a second floor.
  11. Why did I try this?

    Why did I try this? New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Hi,
    This thread has been very helpful. I am in the process of removing a "harvest gold?" cast tub and was thinking of putting in a Kohler Villager since it looks exactly the same, except being white. Does it matter that the diagonal of the tub is longer than the room, or does it not since the tub is open underneath? Any thoughts on how I might remove mine? I was thinking of taking the panel off of an adjacent closet, tipping the tub on the side and sliding it out through the closet ;*) If I could spin it on the it's side in the bath I would. The skirt has a copper/fin heat pipe running through it!

    Thanks SAM_0428b.jpg SAM_0429b.jpg
  12. jch

    jch New Member

    That gold tub is definitely a Kohler Villager -- can't miss that Nike swoosh on the apron...

    The complicating factor here is that finned copper radiator pipe buried inside the apron--a clever way of hiding the radiator in the room.

    I'd say that the first thing you need to do is remove the finned copper piping. Are there removable fittings where the pipes meet the floor/walls? Or did they solder it in?

    If you can't get at those fittings (or if they don't exist), then I'd say you have no option other than to continue breaking the tub into pieces. Then (at least temporarily) remove the radiator pipes before you put a new tub in. The toilet is going to have to come out, and it would probably make it easier (more room to maneuver) if the vanity came out too.
  13. Why did I try this?

    Why did I try this? New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I could have an hvac guy cut & splice the pipe in the basement but that would probably be too $$$. I have guys quoting $200-$350(in labor) just to swap out water heaters!!!???
    Anyway... If I were somehow to get this tub out, could another Villager be installed by tipping it over from the skirt over the pipe? Or would Terry's method be the best? The pipe actually comes up through the floor 1-2 inches inside the skirt from the end and does the same from the drain side.
  14. jch

    jch New Member

    Based on how tightly-fitted those radiator fins look inside the tub apron, I don't think you'd stand much chance getting a new tub over top of it unless you dropped the tub straight down on it. And I can't imagine doing that with a cast iron tub.

    Perhaps you could install the copper unions on the radiator pipes below floor level yourself??

    Regardless, I think you need to bust up the old tub first.

    Then post a picture of the finned radiator piping so we can see what you're up against.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,134
    Location:
    New England
    What temp water do they circulate through that? The tub could get hot enough to burn someone. I'm not so sure that was clever...more like irresponsible!

    They make some decent looking wall panels. Some of them are designed to also hold towels...now, a nice warm towel at the end of a shower or bath is a treat. I'd look at relocating that.
  16. Why did I try this?

    Why did I try this? New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    SAM_0430.jpg
    Here is the radiator.
  17. jch

    jch New Member

    Are there unions already installed on the radiator pipes above floor level?
  18. Why did I try this?

    Why did I try this? New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Appears to be soldered all the way:mad: This DIY project has become a major PITA. Another rant, why don't plumbers put shutoff valves on showers? I have to shut my whole house down, and as a 1st time DIY it could take days.
  19. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    I don't think you can get very much heat out of that setup. Copper fin heat is based on convection. You won't get much of that from the section of copper fin. It would be like closing the damper on the baseboard.

    John
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,134
    Location:
    New England
    If their boiler is pumping 180-degree (or higher) water through it, the tub surface could get higher than you'd want. Most people don't sit on or in a radiator! Keep in mind that even 120-degrees can cause a second degree burn on young or older people that have thinner skin.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
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