Question about steel tubs

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by rhyno406, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. rhyno406

    rhyno406 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I'm currently in the process of remodeling my bathroom. I am trying to accumulate the necessary information to do everything as well as my budget allows. I currently have an enameled steel tub in it. I'm planning on possibly re-tiling around the old tub. If, when I remove the old tile, the tub is in good shape; should I keep it? I don't know what the life span for these type of tubs is. I don't want to have to replace it for at least another 15 years. The exterior of the tub is in good shape. I am not sure whether or not when I remove the tile I will find any problems or not.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The most likely problems are visible around the drain and overflow, and the overall finish of the interior. Porcelain enamel tends to lose some gloss, especially if not treated gently during its life.

    The lifespan of a steel tub would probably be listed at about 15 to 25 years. Some get "killed" in less time. My steel tub was installed in 1986. The finish shows its age but I do not have any rust "cancer" at the drain or overflow. No immediate plans for a bathroom remodel. Good for a few more years.

    If you are going to all the trouble of doing the tile, I would at least take a close second look at any decision to NOT replace the tub.
  3. rhyno406

    rhyno406 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Yea that is what I was thinking as well. The only problem is this; I just re-tiled the floor up to the tub. The tub is standard so I could easily replace it. What other options do I have aside from another steel one?
  4. Jeffco

    Jeffco New Member

    Messages:
    8
    The beauty of an enamal over steel tub with a tile surround is the best. That's what I did. It adds to the overall look. My tub was installed in 1980 by previous owners and was somewhat neglected. They have some chemical cleaning kits for them, which I used, and it came out great. The shine is super clear like glass so I kept it for the new tile surround. Make sure your tile installer uses a tarp over it when he's working. Newer tubs are so dull, but you don't have to clean them as often. The problem with these shiney tubs, you have to clean them once a week. Use Bon Ami. Oh, when you seal the tile and some gets on the tub, use rubbing alchohol with a terrycloth towel and it will lift it off.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,647
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    steel tub

    My opinion of a steel tub is that they were useless when they were installed and just got worse over the years. I would only install one if the customer insisted on it, and would NEVER leave one in place if the room was being remodeled.
  6. Jeffco

    Jeffco New Member

    Messages:
    8
    That's too bad you feel this way. Even enamal over steel jacuzzis' look great in a modern tile surround. All the other type of tubs I saw looked to dull or flat. I had to straighten mine out but it just took a half hour because they never attached it to the studs. Lucky.
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