Is American Standard "Americast" tub good?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by HomeRepairGuy, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    The Lowes website shows an American Standard bathtub made out of "Americast". The description says "Durable Americast® material with glossy porcelain finish". Is a 60" x 32" x "17.5" tub and sells for $576

    Is "Americast" a good tub material that can withstand scrubbing when it gets dirty?
    Is it a steel tub?

    Thanks,
    HRG
  2. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    With more searching I found the definition of "Americast":

    "Americast® brand engineered material is a composition of porcelain bonded to enameling grade metal, bonded to a patented structural composite."
    It seems that it's porcelain on a "thin" metal tub which is reinforced by a structural composite. Does this sound about right to you pros?

    EDIT: Found the weight of the tub which is 190 lbs. (RE-EDIT: See post below for tub weight.)
    Since I answered my own questions and it appears to be a good and sturdy tub, I think I'll go with this tub.

    Thanks for looking anyway,
    HRG
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I have installed many Americast. I llike them. I will take your word for the 190 pounds....sounds a little high, since one person can maneuver it around pretty easily. That is the reason it is preferred to the behemoth cast iron!

    Follow the install instructions carefully. They used to PROHIBIT underlaying the tub with strucolite or other mortar bed. That may have changed recently.
  4. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Hi Jimbo,

    You have a good sense of weight. I just discovered that the 190 lbs weight is for the whirlpool model. The bathing pool model is 161 lbs.

    Oh, wait! Those weights are in the "spec sheet". The "installation instructions" say the weight is 142 lbs. and does not show different weights for whirlpool or bathing pool models. Now I'm really confused. I'm want to get the bathing pool (non-whirlpool) model. Which weight would you say is correct for a non-whirlpool model?

    Here's links to the spec sheet for the Cambridge model:
    http://www.americanstandard-us.com/assets/documents/amstd/spec/SpecSheet_348.pdf
    and the installation instructions:
    http://www.americanstandard-us.com/assets/documents/amstd/install/Install_348.pdf

    Regarding the motar bed, it's even better that Americast tubs should not be underlaid with a mortar bed. Will make my job a lot easier! I was just checking the installation instructions on the American Standard website and it does not say to underlay the tub. It doesn't say NOT to do it but from what you said, I won't do it.

    Thanks,
    HRG
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    WHAT difference does it make what it weighs, as long as you can maneuver it? The surface of the tub is a composite material which WILL get scuff marks on it, but will also clean easily. There is little similarity between an Americast tub and an enameled steel one.
  6. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    The weight determines whether I have it delivered to our home or pick it up with my wife using our van. 142 lbs we can just handle but more than that, I don't think so. We are both getting on in years. Was told that the delivery cost would be $79 + tax and would like to save that if possible.

    HRG
  7. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Returned the Firenze composite tub to HD and ordered an American Standard Cambridge tub made out of Americast.

    American Standard's recommended drain for the Cambridge tub is 1583.470. But all three user reviews on the americanstandard website for this drain are negative, stating very difficult installation. Two plumbers say they took 3-5 hours without success. --- Anyone have any recommendations for a different drain that can fit the Cambridge tub? Note that the Cambridge tub is deeper than normal at 17-3/4 inches.

    Thanks,
    HRG
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I am 77 years old, which I guess is "getting on in years" and I remove, move, and install cast iron tubs by myself, so weight should not be a problem. American Standard does have a couple of "proprietary drains", but I do not know offhand whether that tub uses either one of them. One has the overflow in the rim of the tub, and the other has the overflow cast into the tub, and neither of these can use a conventional waste and overflow system.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I'm 66 and I DONT! Apparently Jack LaLane needs to step aside....hj coming on strong!!!!!!
  10. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Whoa, 77 and moving and installing "cast iron" tubs yourself! That's unreal since I heard they can weigh about 300 lbs. Thanks for your insights on the drain. I'll contact American Standard and see what options I have.

    Happy New Year to the Incredible Hulk,
    HRG
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    As to the weights, one may be shipping weight (box, etc.) and the other the actual tub.
  12. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Jadnashua,

    Very astute observation. I'll bet you're right. Forgot about the weight of the shipping box. Probably 142 lbs for the non-whirlpool tub and 161 lbs in the shipping box. Guess we'll have to have the tub delivered to our home.

    Thanks!
    HRG
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The Egyptians built the pyramids without cranes, so installing a cast iron, or removing one, is all about using leverage to your advantage.
  14. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I was browsing the American Standard website and there's an "Ask the Expert" tab for the Cambridge tub. One question was whether the Cambridge tub needed to be set on a mortar bed. American Standard's Customer Care reply was:

    "The Cambridge tub was designed to mount to a 2x4 stringer that you would nail to the studs along the back wall. The tub deck sits on this stringer, and the other end rests on the apron. Though it's not required, we also recommend that you bed the tub in mortar or sand mix. This will provide extra support. As long as you install the stringer per the instructions, you will not void the warranty, whether or not you bed the tub in mortar."

    Now the Cambridge tub, even without the whirlpool option, weighs about 142 lbs, plus it's an alcove tub set in 3 walls. How in the world can one lift a heavy tub like that over a mortar bed to set it in place if it is a replacement job and the 3 sides already have walls?

    Any geniuses able to figure this one out without using a special lifting device with extended arm that costs more than the tub?

    HRG
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,124
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    We do it all the time. You can install without the motar, but I've noticed that there is less flex when you have some. I don't bother doing that with a cast iron tub, and that's why hj prefers them. A cast tub is plenty stiff.

    If you use mortar, we are talking just a few piles that allow for squishing down when the tub is set over them. It's impossible to lay a flat bed of mortar at just the right height.
  16. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Hi Terry,

    Could you please explain exactly how to lift that heavy tub only from the apron side over the piles of mortar without flattening the mortar by sliding the tub into position?

    I would like to try your procedure when I install our Cambridge tub.

    Thanks,
    HRG
  17. HomeRepairGuy

    HomeRepairGuy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Hi Terry,

    Would very much appreciate some info on how to set an alcove tub that weighs about 142 lbs on mortar when only the front apron side is accessible. I currently have no clue on how to lift a heavy tub over the mortar to do it.

    Thanks,
    HRG
  18. PlumbPowerHouse

    PlumbPowerHouse Plumber

    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Americast is a good sturdy tub. It kind of reminds me of a cast iron tub. They look nice and they are very durable
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