Replacement bathtub for 60x30 alcove

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by kevint, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. kevint

    kevint New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hi,

    I'm renovating my 1955 bungalow's main bathroom. I removed the brown cast iron tub, and I'm looking for a replacement. The alcove is 60" x 30". I'm trying to find the deepest tub possible for the space. I bought an Aquatic Gelcoat fiberglass tub from HD. I pulled it out of the box, and found that the tiling flange is cracked on one side and therefore this tub is going back tomorrrow.

    I'm a little leery of the fiberglass tubs now, seeing how brittle that flange was. I was looking at the Sterling tubs at HD, that are made of a material called vikrell, but I can't find any reviews of them. Americast seems like another good option as well.

    I've done a lot of DIY work over the years, but never installed a tub. I plan to tile above the tub with a Kerdi waterproofing solution.

    Any thoughts? We're not looking for the cheapest tub, but also not the most expensive. We plan to sell within a year or two.

    -Kevin
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,153
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Vikrell or Americast is fine.
    The Americast may have better resale value though.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,882
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    NOrmally a 30" tub is going to be 14" high. When you get to 16" high, then they are usually 32" wide.

    You can get an Americast tub that is 60x30x17.5 or their Princeton which is 60x30x14
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2011
  4. kevint

    kevint New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Ohio
    Do the Vikrell tubs require a mortar bed underneath? I've read mixed things about the Americast tubs needing (or prohibiting) a mortar bed for support.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,153
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Vikrell doesn't need mortar, but then neither does Americast. However, any tub except cast iron can be improved with mortar.
    If you install Americast, just sandwich some bisqueen between the mortar and the tub.
  6. kevint

    kevint New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hi,

    Trying to install my Americast tub. The floor underneath the tub is about 3/4" lower on the left-hand side (drain side) than the right-hand side. I have to shim the tub about 3/4" to allow the tub to sit perfectly flat on my ledger board.

    I was planning to do a mortar bed for this tub regardless of the floor level issue. Do I need to shim the floor at all? Or should the mortar bed just take care of this?

    What's the recommended way to install the tub after the mortar? I was thinking I can put some 2x4's on top of the floor and slide the tub on those, then pull out the 2x4's. This way I get a solid bond with the mortar.

    Thoughts?

    -Kevin
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,153
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I use a few piles of mortar, and allow the weight of the tub to squish the piles down. You don't have a lot of time for this, it sets up quickly.

    With Americast, I normally just lift it up and set it down on the ledger board, making sure it's shimmed to level on the apron.
  8. kevint

    kevint New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Ohio
    So put down the plastic, then piles of mortar, then another layer of plastic. Try to drop the tub vertically on top of the mortar to squish it down, and level it before it starts to setup.

    Few more questions:

    1) Is it necessary that the tub apron be supported? Do I need to shim continuously to support the apron? Or is the mortar enough to support it?
    2) I was planning to use deck mud (same stuff you build shower bases with). Seem OK?

    DSCN2211.jpg DSCN2212.jpg DSCN2210.jpg
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,153
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would try to support at least part of the apron.
    For the most part, the mortar should help support, but you do want the apron supported too.
    3/4" in five feet. That's a lot, but I've seen others with that too. It's a good thing that you're catching it now. It will make it easier to tile.
  10. kevint

    kevint New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes, it would have made the tile much harder to do. The tub is now dry-fitted once again after I removed the 1/2" plywood from under the tub that I put down over the entire floor. I only have 1/4" gap now at the lowest point, which will be easily covered up by the Ditra and tile. I will cut some 1/2" and 1/4" lengths of wood, and try to support the apron as much as I can.

    I was just practicing being able to level the tub, tilt it up in-place, and let it back down again. I can get the tub back to level within a few minutes, so I should be able to set it in the mortar with enough time.

    The next issue appears to be with centering the tub in the alcove, which seems to be closer to 60 1/4" instead of 60 1/8" wide. There seems to be at least 1/8"+ of wiggle room from right to left. I have to match 3/4" thickness of the old plaster. With the old tub, they used 3/8" plaster board strips along the studs to shim the wall, and then 3/8" plasterboard on top of that to make 3/4".

    I was planning to shim with 1/4" wood and then use 1/2" durock. With 1/4" strips of wood, the tub flange is just proud of the wood. I was thinking of chiseling out a little bit of the durock, in order to take into account this, and allow the durock to be perfectly flat. Essentially, it would be like cutting a rabbet 1/8" deep to clear the tub flange. Is that a good idea or not?

    Sorry for all the questions...this is my first tub/tile job, and I'll be fine once I can move forward here.
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
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