Sterling Accord 4 Piece install

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by mjheinz57, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. mjheinz57

    mjheinz57 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Downers Grove IL
    I have purchased a Sterling Accord 4 piece tub/shower surround. I have 60-1/4" rough in space for the 60" tub/shower surround. It says that I can nail directly to studs, but I have had a few people tell me I should try to get concrete board or green board behind it before I install, what are your expert opinions? I know I have the depth to install green board behind the surround, but I don't think it will fit if I install backer board on the ends.
    Is it really caulkless? Do the seams seal tight enough to preven moisture from getting behind the acrylic surround? Can I get away with just installing the surround to the studs?

    Please advise!
    Thank you in advance.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2013
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

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    You can nail directly to studs. The way they are made any water that gets behind the acrylic surround will run into the tub. Look at the tub and the bottom of the walls and you will see groves that direct the water into the tub. They give specific instructions where to caulk and where not to caulk. Have you opened the box yet? More of these come through damaged then not.

    John
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
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  4. mjheinz57

    mjheinz57 New Member

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    tub surround dry wall issue

    Thank you!
     
  5. thebigsee

    thebigsee DIY Member

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    Southern California
    I just finished installing a Sterling Ensemble Curve shower enclosure. I used galvanized truss screws to screw directly to the studs. I drilled the holes first and then screwed it in. Went very easy, but had to add furring strips in a few places. No need for cement board or anything like that.

    I too am a bit apprehensive about the lack of caulk, but I followed the directions. It is definitely the highest quality pre-fab that I could find. But as already stated, open the box immediately and check for cracks. It took 3 times before I got a back panel that wasn't cracked into the wall. Cracks on the flange are not a big deal, but it should not go into the actual body of the unit.

    They're clearly durable units, but they have problems I think with the packing material or need better instructions on how to handle it while moving it.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2013
  6. mjheinz57

    mjheinz57 New Member

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    Thank you.
    Can I butt dry wall right up over the flap where the nails go?
     
  7. thebigsee

    thebigsee DIY Member

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    Follow the provided instructions on installing drywall over the flange. Essentially, you need to use moisture-resistant drywall with the papered-edge towards the unit on all sides. Keep at least a 1/8" gap between the unit and the drywall so that water will not wick up into the drywall. This gap should also be siliconed. It is essential that there is not direct contact between the unit and the drywall edge.

    I have also seen photos of units that were drywalled up to the flange, then a piece of wood trim was used to hide the flange. I considered that (you can remove the unit in the future without damaging drywall), but ended up just bringing the drywall down.
     
  8. thebigsee

    thebigsee DIY Member

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    Sep 24, 2009
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    Also -- make sure that you don't overtighten the screws on the flange. Just attach them enough so they secure the unit in place. If you screw it in too hard, the flange WILL crack, and if that crack goes into the wall material, you'll be very upset!

    And do put the tub into a mortar bed, it is the only way to go.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2013
  9. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    Location:
    Seaside, California
    I am in the process of installing the Accord tub/shower. BTW, first tub arrived with a hole in it. Surround arrived with a hole and several cracks. I made sure to check it at the plumbing supply warehouse before taking it home. Second shipment proved to be good. Tub install is rock-solid (with mortar on top of shower-pan rubber sheet) and perfectly level. Installed the back surround with no problems.
    I am not sure how you would use the green-board drywall with the papered edge towards the unit since the upper corners of the surround are raised to keep water from pooling on the ledge of the surround. You would need to cut the ends of the drywall in order to follow the contour of the surround, thereby, not having any paper on the bottom edge. If you installed the green-board per your instructions with no cuts for contour, then there would be a 5/8 inch gap in the center of the back wall that would need to be caulked. Far too much of a gap, in my opinion, to produce a nice clean, finished looking caulk line.
    I am thinking of cutting and following the contour with acrylic/pcv moulding to cover the flange and butt the green-board above it, giving the surround a framed appearance and to have access for removal of the surround in the future (if need be). Does anyone have other ideas or suggestions?
    Should the gaps between the panels on top of the surround be caulked? The gap I am referring to is about 3/8 of an inch wide and about 1.5 inches long, running perpendicular to the flanges where the panels meet. If water got splashed up on the upper ledge of the surround, it could enter this gap. When I look down at it from my ladder, I see that the water has nowhere to go but behind the surround. I am trying to avoid any future problems with water damage. When I called the techs, I was told that caulking is only need where the finished wall material meets the surround panels and tub and the gap does not need to be caulked. I hope a have explained and I will try to upload photos for a view of my concerns. Any help with this would be most appreciated.
     
  10. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    If your framing is plumb and square, and built to the specified measurements, the seams between the back and end panels will not show any gap larger than about 1/8". Drywall over the flange, primered and painted will hold up fine for normal residential use. The wallboard to shower seam should be caulked to seal.
     
  11. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. The framing is perfectly plumb and the end panels do not show a vertical gap larger than 1/8" between the back and side panels . That part is great. My concern is the gap at the top of the surround where the end pieces meet the back panel. There is a large gap (approx. 3/8") and it seems that if water were to get on top of the panel then it would have no where to run except out the back. See attached photos with side panel installed and without panel installed.
    One more question: Are the aluminum lock tabs absolutely necessary for the side panels? It seems that screwing the panels to the studs would be enough to keep them securely in place and would make for easy removal if there was a need to replace a panel without damaging the tub in the process of having to remove the lock tabs.



    IMG_0935 (640x480).jpg

    IMG_0934 (640x480).jpg

    IMG_0936 (640x480).jpg

    Photo below is without panel:
    IMG_0942 (640x480).jpg


    Here is photo showing the sloping contour in the corners of the back panel: IMG_0940 (640x480).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  12. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    It looks like less than 3/8", and yes a little bead of white silicone caulk there is correct. It looks to me that the flange there going towards the corner was damaged and then filed down, as the flange dimensions should be the same on each panel.

    The clips help to keep the components aligned. If one of the studs warps or twists a little in the future, the clips help to keep the seams from opening up.
     
  13. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    The flanges on both sides of the back panel and side panels are exactly the same (mirror images of each other). Neither of the side flanges on the back panel have dimples for screws. So I think it was intended that way by the manufacturer.
    Wonder why Kohler told me the top section shouldn't be caulked??
     
  14. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    I drill holes for the screws to avoid the possibility of cracking the flange.

    I would be willing to bet that most of the people who work in the call center have never installed one of their products.
     
    fullysprinklered likes this.
  15. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    I also drilled prior to using the truss screws and then coated them with silcone to prevent any possible rust problems that may occur in the future.
    Regarding caulking the 1 1/2" long gap on top... I spoke to 3 or 4 call center staff over several days and finally asked to speak to someone who had experience installing these units. They reluctantly transferred me. The gentleman who answered, assured me that caulk was not to be installed in that area. I explained that there was nowhere for splahed water to go except out the back. I was looking at the problem area while speaking with him. It seemed like he thought that my question was absurd and that the fabrication of the unit would not allow the water to flow behind it. The more I looked at it the more frustrated I became because there is no inward channeling of the water. I will email them my photos on Monday in case they misunderstood me and then let you know the outcome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  16. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    Got off the phone with Koehler and a tech (Gary) with install experience told me that if water went into the gap that it would wind up going into the tub (I just can't see that happening). He suggested pouring some water on the top ledge to confirm this. He also said that silicone could be used to fill the gap. I will try pouring some water on the ledge and see what happens. If it goes behind the side panel, then I will caulk. Will let you know the outcome.
     
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Kohler seems to be quite arrogant and IMHO, their engineers are infected with the NIH (not invented here) syndrome...I feel this is one reason why their typical product changes on a very frequent cycle, which also makes it really tough some times to find parts since they change so often even Kohler may not have them.
     
  18. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered Active Member

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    Just finished a Sterling tub/surround install. I got lucky in some respects, though the flange on the long piece was damaged. Not enough to send it back since the sheetrock will cover it. The guy who creates the instructions should have to install a couple of them before being allowed to tell others how to do it.
     
  19. Stan R

    Stan R New Member

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    Sprayed water on the top ledge. It ran into the gap and down behind the panel. Definitely needs to be caulked or you risk water damage in the wall cavity if enough water were to go there.
    Note well: along the interlocking, unfinished edges - the side panels need to be "deburred" in order to get a good tight fit. I used 150 grit sand paper (the Vikrell material sands very easily like sheetrock). Otherwise, you will have trouble getting a good tight fit with minimal vertical gaps/seams.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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