Ledger board for a Cast iron tub?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Andrew21, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Andrew21

    Andrew21 Member

    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    New York
    Hey all,

    I've been reading all the threads and it seems to be a mixed opinion here. When I get my cast iron tub, do I need to install a ledger board? assuming the floor is level? Thanks!
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The ledger board is how many of us install a cast iron tub.

    If the home is not new, put a level on the floor 30" from the back wall to see which part of the floor is high.
    The apron will touch down on the high side, and the low side will need to be shimmed.

    The height of the ledger board is determined somewhat by the high spot you measured.
    The tub must be installed level front to back, or tile will look awful.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Some, but not all, cast iron tubs have "legs" which fit on the floor, but even with those, a ledger board ensures that the tub ledge will NOT separate from the tile because of expansion and contraction in the wall structure, or settlement of the floor under the legs.
  4. Andrew21

    Andrew21 Member

    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    New York
    Interesting. I'm going to install a Kohler Villager tub. I think its one that Home Depot sells.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    We all sell the Kohler Villager.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It has legs, but I would still install the ledger board, especially if it is NOT going to be installed on a concrete slab floor.
  7. Zenman

    Zenman New Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I installed the Kohler Villager several years ago. The instructions specifically said NOT to install a ledger - so I didn't.

    http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/1084177_2.pdf see page 3 for the warning
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  8. Terry Love

    Terry Love Plumber

    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    You didn't install a ledger board?

    Too bad.
    Plumbers work from experience, not from a desk.
  9. Zenman

    Zenman New Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    New Jersey
    No I did not - as per manufacture's instructions. See warning and link above.
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Like I said, experience everytime.
    I've installed hundreds of cast iron tubs.

    I would love to see you find a way to correctly place the shims after you have set the 300 pound tub in place.
    Good luck with that one.

    Have you installed your tub yet?
    How easy was it?

    It's not hard for me.
    And the tile guys love to install behind me.
    Everything is so level.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  11. Zenman

    Zenman New Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have installed two cast iron tubs in my home. I'm sure I took longer than a licensed plumber would, but that wasn't important to me. With the first tub, I called and emailed Kohler's tech support and got help from them. And had them verify the ledger issue.

    Shims were easy to install on the first tub as I had open access to 3 sides of the tub (the back side of the tub was adjacent to a closet which was gutted down to the studs during the remodel). Just used a 2x4 from the back side of the tub to lift, then slide in the shims. No sweat.

    The 2nd tub (Kohler Memoirs @350 lbs) was more work as I had to slide it in and out of the alcove a few times before I got it completely level. Even though I had the floor perfectly level, the tub's feet were not. I made little ramps out of wood that lead up to the shims (ramps on both sides to help the back feet move over the shims on the way out - as I had to slide it in and out a couple of times). I marked the floor for the location of the metal shims and nailed around them so that they would not move while sliding the tub in place. Same for the little wooden ramps. Again no problem, took me maybe an hour to get it completely level.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You really believe some engineer who has NEVER installed a bathtub, actually knows how to do it? They usually do not even write the technical manual that says how to do it. That is usually done by someone has has attended an ETL ("English as a THIRD language"), course.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Zenman,
    You have all the plumbers laughing.
    This should be put in the joke section.

    No plumber has ever heard of a problem with a cast iron tub cracking.
    As many tubs that I have looked at in the last 36 years, the only thing that ever happens is wear from use and cleaning, and people dropping hammers in them and chipping the porcelain finish.

    We do have problems if they are installed out of level.
    At least the guys installing tile have a problem with it.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  14. Zenman

    Zenman New Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Glad I could be of service :D
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Well, you're not THAT funny, so don't quit your day job.
  16. Andrew21

    Andrew21 Member

    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    New York
    I like the advice from the pro's :)
  17. geogymn

    geogymn New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    ny
    Overkill or maybe just a knucklehead but I put a plastic margarine container filled with freshly mixed grout under each leg just before I prop the tub on the ledger board. I've also used silicone caulk in place of the grout on occasion albeit I don't install that many cast iron tubs. Oh and I would listen to a pro before any installation manual.
  18. TWEAK

    TWEAK New Member

    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Bay Area CA
    After seeing the Kohler instructions I called and they said that they wouldn't warranty the tub if it was hung on the lip.Levelling my big Tea for Two tub wasn't really a problem. I rigged a lever to jack it up by the rim so I could slide the shims under the far feet. Easy. And no worries about the warranty.http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/detail.jsp?prod_num=850

    k-850.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2012
  19. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You are NOT supporting the tub by its lip, you are integrating the tub with the wall surface. The only way it would be supporting the tub is IF the legs compressed into the floor, and in that case the lack of a ledger board would create a crack betwen the tile and the tub. AND Kohler tubs USED to REQUIRE a ledge board before they started adding feet to the tubs, and they NEVER cracked.
  20. TWEAK

    TWEAK New Member

    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Bay Area CA
    Maybe I am not understanding what you guys are referring to, then. Terry is talking about the difficulty of getting levelling shims under the feet, so (as I read it) he prefers installing a level ledger board. For the ledger to affect the level of the tub, the tub lip has to be sitting on the ledger, no? The tub is either sitting on the feet or the lip is sitting on the ledger board. It can't do both. If it's sitting on the feet, then you have to level by shimming under the feet - what good is the ledger doing?

    I can't comment on older models, the current ones with feet are what we are discussing. The local dealer, whose service manager was a former Kohler employee, cautioned that the current models do show hairline cracks in the bottom of the tub, usually around the drain. In fact they were adamant that I fill the tub all the way to the overflow and let it set for a couple of days before installing the tub deck (mine is an undermount) and surround, "just in case". My tub was nearly $2 grand (including their special drain assembly) with almost $8 grand of slab granite deck and surround walls, so it was pretty important to do things by the book and get the Kohler warranty. The service manager even came by the house to look at the installation before the granite went in to make sure that it was all "good" - per Kohler's instructions.

    Again, maybe I don't understand your installation. But I found that that levelling the feet wasn't a problem.
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