Plumber cancelled; how hard to install tub?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by sinkholed, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member

    Actually a delay in my tub means he won't be available when tub arrives this Monday. I could likely get him to do the copper & valve work tomw, and then try to install the tub myself, something I've never done.

    If you look at pictures 3,4 & 5 from you can see I'll have access from underneath for hooking up the drain to the trap. It's tight, but accessible.

    It's a gutted room that needs the tub in before I can continue doing anything else. It's a Kohler Vikrell 60"x30" tub (fiberglas I believe?). Am I crazy to think that me and my son couldn't accomplish this over a day or two?


  2. i believe in you so i vote yes. I know you did describe yoruself as someone in the category of still being dangerous since you have a little knoweldge. :D

    it will take you both some time to get all four feet supported and to be really sure the ledger board is level and supporting the tub edge. Just time.

  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If he installs the water and valve, it will probably be in the way of installing the tub, and he cannot install the drain until he has the tub there.
  4. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    HJ, I think he just means the rough-in (by "valve", he probably just means shutoffs). Check out the overall scope of work, on the other thread...

    Sinkholed - he will have have to come back, before that tub's useable. Also before you can close the walls of the tub surround area.

    If you're just looking to get it in position & secured, so that you can start working on the rest of the room (electrics, hanging rock & tiling the floor, etc), then I also think you can do it. If you don't have to hook up any of the plumbing, it's pretty basic carpentry.

    But you have to post pics of the new framing & drain lines & everything like you promised! :)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
  5. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member

    It's a fine balancing act when, as a homeowner, you start weighing what you can and can't do yourself. It's a line I've been living on for months.

    I felt as ok as I could about the $5500 outlay for a new gas furnace install and the concurrent in-ground oil tank remediation. But "Sinkholed" was officially "born" when $1500 worth of tree trimming work began a yard rehab for an Aug 4 HS graduation party. A rehab that was quickly & rudely interrupted by a disturbingly large & deep sinkhole that opened up, a frighteningly 10 uninsured feet from my house, to swallow another $2500 ($1800 for the sinkhole fix + $700 to fell 2 "beautifully trimmed" trees).

    I bounced back to thwart a near $5000 lawn-n-landscaping estimate by renting a backhoe & skidsteer w/Rockaway, plus a slit seeder, spending just under a grand for a long Labor Day weekend. But then, THE BATHROOMS!!!

    I gutted and bagged one of the 2 bathrooms, and as the other thread attests, awoke to a new nightmare of DWV pipes being where they shouldn't, namely, right where joists to hold up the 2 bathrooms should have been.

    Plumber #1 wanted $1100 for the stack work & $950 for the tub install. Plumber #2 wanted $600 and $400. Guess who I chose?

    Almost forgot this: the one electrician who called back & came to look at my wiring (the house was built in 1973 and was wired with aluminum), he wanted $1200 to add a subpanel and run new copper. But taking a deep calming breath, and two steps backward, it became clear I already HAD copper in both bathrooms, thanks to the original owner having installed ceiling exhaust fans on a new unbranched copper circuit on it's own breaker.

    Fast forward and the stack is done and support is in. But the tub is late and Plumber #2 is going on vacation until 7/25. When he comes back he's scheduled to tile walls & floors, then hook up toilet & sink. So here I am hoping I can get him to rough in the tub's plumbing today, and me & my son can then get the tub in place so work can continue.

    If he can, he will hopefully leave me with freshly capped copper & shutoff valves at the sink & toilet, all safe & ready for until he returns. As for the tub, I'm hoping he can do the same. If it's at all possible, I'm hoping it's left at a stage where I CAN close up the walls in the tub surround, but if not, I'll certainly settle with a stage that lets me place the tub so I can continue working.

    The thing that worries me most about the tub placement is the drain & overflow connection. If the plumber says he can handle that when he returns, GREAT!; I'm confident I can place and level the tub if I don't have to manuever it in with those pieces attached to it. If I do, however, it's going to be a PITA given the potential for bumping/breaking those connections inside such a small room. The tub end that's opposite the drain goes against a wall that I COULD carefully remove & later replace, if it would make sliding the tub in from another room a much, much easier proposition, but I'd obviously rather not have to do that.

    So continue, PLEASE!, letting me know what you all think. I'll let you know if the plumber signs off on this plan as well. And I WILL, once I get a chance, come back and post pictures of the new stack and framing. Of that I am sure there will be a number of shoulda-coulda-woulda's have done it this way or that, but from my deadlined and sinkholed perspective, it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen:D
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2007
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Will he have access from below and/or at that end of the tub? If so, that should not be a problem.

    ... and that would also allow you to add a bed of concrete or grout to support the bottom of the tub after it has been set if you do not have that support present (either integral or added) beforehand.
  7. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Before I say anything else...

    The stack is done and the framing is in? You promised us pictures!

    No more help until you post pics.
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Ah, come on now ... even outright guessing can sometimes be almost as reliable as mental images!

    But, I must admit this one is relatively easy for me since I did a very similar install just a few months ago ...
  9. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    It's not that - we don't even need to guess much, the other thread has a bunch of "befores" - and anyways, installing a tub doesn't have a whole lot of variables, it's as straitforward a job as there is.

    I just wanna see the new framing & stack!

    (if only to rinse out my eyes after seeing all the "befores")

    Besides, he promised!

    ...what? He's got till Monday before he needs help, right? That's fair...
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2007
  10. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member


    Replaced part of 2x6 sole plate beneath wet wall between bathrooms. Note new 2x10 joist has been added beneath 2x6, and new 2x6 nailer has been notched & sistered to joist. Added 2x6 bracing/nailers (1 at exterior wall; 1 to right if toilet). Replaced some bad 5/8 ply.


    From beneath you can see new joist, sister & blocking. To left of stack, in other bathroom, you can see a temporary joist has been added (right above the shims, just to the right of the red shutoff valves). Joist is temporary as we could only place it as far as to sit on the sill. Could not (yet) tie it in to the doubled 2x6 bracing like the other joist. There just isn't enough maneuvering room until the left bathroom's subfloor gets taken up.

    So much for the framing...the following 3 show the plumbing changes. Nothing drastic, just needed the monster lower. Hopefully doesn't give you guys too many concerns:D

    Note in this first one the little drop the plumber made in the copper that goes out to the hose bib. If he would have lowered that MORE we could likely have extended that left bathroom's new joist beyond the sill and tied into the doubled blocking.

    As for the rest of the plumbing, I didn't repost the BEFORE pix, but they're located at the original "redo stack" post

    [Note to moderators: if you want to move this thread into that one, so to keep it all together, please go ahead. Sorry I opened another one here, but I was freaking about not getting my tub, and needed quick opinions as to whether I needed to get another plumber, or whether I could handle the tub install myself].

    As for MY MAN!, "John The Reliable Plumber", he's due back today, Sunday, to do the tub's control plumbing. He talked me through doing the drain install myself, leaving me with the parts and the glues. If the tub comes in Monday, he'll try to swing by and do it. Otherwise he's off to vacation and it's all mine.

    I don't know who I love more, him or the guys here. You're both the best in my book. I'll keep you informed.




    Last edited: Jul 8, 2007
  11. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Phoenix, AZ
    Just took a quick peek...
    I would not be able to use the low-heel 90 where it is - I would have to use a 3" combo with a 3X2 reducer in the end of it...
    The low heel 90 like that is like using a santee on it's back...
    Replace the fernco rubber coupling with a shielded coupling (with a fuill metal shield around it). The rubber ones are only allowed underground.

    Attached Files:

  12. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Okay, pics! And flattery, to boot! We're on...

    You're going to need a piece of 1-by for the ledger, some galv roofing nails or waferhead screws, and a bag of mortar.

    If you're doing the drain yourself, you're also going to need a spud wrench:

    The bathtub should come with basic instructions. If not, the basic routine is:

    - Place the tub in position, use shims & etc to level it perfectly.

    - Mark, on the studs, the position of the top of the lip on the tub.

    - Check the level to make sure, one last time, that nothing shifted while you were marking it.

    - Pull the tub back out, all the while remembering to be grateful that it's a fiberglass tub, and not cast iron.

    - Now measure the height of the back lip on the tub, so you know how far below your marks, to install the ledger.

    - transfer that measurement to the studs

    - attach the ledger to the back wall.

    - Triple-check everything: level, straight, correct position, etc.

    - If you want to be extra-careful (always a good idea when you're doing something for the first time), put the tub into position again, to make sure that everything fits correctly.

    - Mix up your mortar, dump it on the subfloor under where the tub's going. The purpose of the mortar is to provide a solid base under the tub bottom, so it won't flex & crack later when it's full of water. You'll want the mortar soft enough that it will flatten when you place the tub onto it, but stiff enough that it won't sag by itself, which would leave gaps under the bottom of your tub.

    - Put the tub into position, holding it up a little bit as you move it. You want it to drop down into its final position, so it flattens the mortar; not have it slide into position, pushing the mortar away as it does so...

    - get some weight on it, so it sinks into the mortar bed, untill the back edge comes to rest on the ledger

    - once it's settle into place, nail it to the studs, through the predrilled holes in the lip. If these don't happen to line up with your studs, you may have to drill a few of your own... try to keep them as high up on the lip as you can.

    I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of things, others will hopefully chime in.

    I'll keep an eye out for your questions tomorrow.

    BTW, ditto on Mark's comments, above.
  13. strip down to your underwear. No jeans with metal grommets, no belts, no cell phones, nothing hard metal or plastic. Every time you move the tub there is a 50-50 chance you'll put a scratch on it somewhere. (You may only see the scratch later.)

    You do have to move the tub several times of you are double-checking your measurements and dryfitting the ledger board and feet before you put a mortar base down, so the chances of scratching the tub are high. Throw a bunch of towels in the tub, to receive the shock when someone drops a hammer.

    Mortar, and or maybe spray foam and or both (the foam has to expand outwards) if you haven't mixed enough mortar. Several threads here deal with this. Randyj posted a picture last spring, so if you search his posts you'll find it easily. To weight the tub down, you can use water. Simulates the real thing very well. :)

  14. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member

    "John The Reliable Plumber" reliably returned today to install the tub/shower control and stub cap my supply lines to toilet & sink. Great as you guys are, this guy's the greatest. 65 and honest as the day he was born. And a real nice guy to boot. Swapped stories for near an hour after he'd finished. Say a prayer for his wife who's got a painful nerve disease. They'll be off to Florida Tuesday, combined vacation and specialist visit.

    Finshed adding joist-bracketed 2x4 brace supports to all the subfloor seams that weren't supported by joists. Existing subfloor really tightened up; no noticeable flex anymore. Plan is to add 1/2 ply and then 1/4 hardibacker. Hopefully can add the 1/2 ply before the tub arrives.

    I've read here that Kohler's Sterling Vikrell advises mortar bed should steer clear of the tub's "feet". Another poster here was unsure precisely what tat meant since he claimed there were approximately 15 separate "feet" on the tub bottom. As someone advised him, I'm going to call Kohler and get a clarification as to what exactly they do and don't want as regards mortar.

    Am I ok using 4mil poly under and over the mortar, or should I use something thicker?

    And repaeating what I think I learned here: the additional 1/2 ply should glue down with yellow (Borden's?) glue and then get screwed into the first subfloor, taking care not to screw into joists?

    As usual, thanks.

  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    If you decide to glue (laminate) a second layer of plywood, you need something like Titebond II and plenty of screws avoiding the joists (although this is not as important when glueing, since the idea is to add decoupling, which won't happen if you laminate). For maximum effect, offset the second layer so it ends about 1/4-span from the existing stuff (i.e., 4-inches, if the joists are on 16-inch centers). Adding a second layer of ply in this case just stiffens the between joist deflection ratings, it doesn't add decoupling.
  16. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member

    Plumbing update...

    Plumber did install the rough in for the new valve, but despite having the rough in specs, "Houston, we have a problem!"


    I can't install the tub until this is fixed (don't think he'd want to handle working an open flame around the Vikrell mistake and the finish is ruined).

    I/m thinking this should be a minor fix involving maybe an hour or two tops? Appears to my untrained eye to require just 2 new sweated joints on each of the supply lines?


    It needs a 1 3/8" adjust to the right.
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    While it is nice to have the spout and valve centered, it is not essential. If it is going to bother you, then change it; but, technically, it doesn't matter. You might find it a little easier to reach if you were say bathing the kids and have to reach for it.

    If the drain is offset, that is potentially a bigger pain.
  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Whew ... and what about the showerhead above?!

    Personally, that kind of off-center deal would drive me bug-nutty even if I did *not* fall out of the tub while trying to use it!
  19. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Definetly center it. Not difficult at all. Actually you should be able to do it yourself. Pull the screws out of the valve and I bet you could push it over that far and re-attach it.

  20. sinkholed

    sinkholed New Member

    Me too, but not nearly as bug-nutty as my wife would drive me if I don't fix it;)

    Guess you mean the 2 mounting screws at the top of the valve that attach it to the blocking (not shown in picture)?

    I'll check again, but that bottom elbow on the rightside copper supply line is just under an inch away from that 2x6 stud.

    It's not a bearing wall, so I guess I could (somehow) chisel out a hollow in the stud (or even cut out an inch or three of it and sister on a support).

    Before I consider that I'll check to see how much "play" I have in the copper. 1 3/8" isn't alot to introduce at the showerhead that's 6' north of the valve. But it might be too much to try and introduce down below.

    Am I right or wrong thinking this should be a simple hour or two fix for the plumber? It would require what, 4 new sweated joints?
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