Cast iron alcove tub - how are "feet" shimmed?

Users who are viewing this thread

Tbbarch

Member
Messages
77
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Virginia
I have a cast iron integral apron alcove tub that is being relocated.

There was no indication under the original installation that the "feet" under the basin were supported.
Looking at installation instructions on new cast iron tubs, that are not a match for what I have, I see that the space between the little feet on the bottom and the floor is supposed to be shimmed.

The cast iron basin is a little over and inch off the floor deck at the low end with no feet.
There are some tabs on the sides at about the middle that are about 1 1/2" off the deck and
"feet" at the back about 3/4" above the floor deck.

How are these "feet" (support points?) shimmed with the tub in place?
 

Tbbarch

Member
Messages
77
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Virginia
"How are these "feet" (support points?) shimmed with the tub in place?"

I've always wondered that too. :)

https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/installing-a-kohler-villager-cast-iron-tub.33212/

Thank you for the link Terry.

I failed to mention the tub was mounted on a 34" (+/-) ledger on the long wall. It also has a brace at the front and the back running from the base of the apron up to a bit past the basin on the apron side.

So do I take it that when a cast iron tub has a ledger support, and the new tub installations I was looking at do not call for one, that support under the "feet" are not necessary?

What are those little "feet" for anyway?
 

Jadnashua

Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
Messages
32,760
Reaction score
1,178
Points
113
Location
New England
While a CI tub is probably strong enough to 'hang' on the ledgers, it is not designed that way. It is normally designed to sit on the feet. If the floor is level, that works. If not, you have more than one choice. Some like to set it into piles of mortar. This also allows you to get it setting perfectly level. Because the point load on the feet can be substantial, you'd want to use a shim made out of something that wouldn't compress over time, so something metal and bigger than the foot would be best to spread that load out so you don't end up with a hole or depression in your wooden subflooring.
 

hj

Master Plumber
Messages
33,540
Reaction score
989
Points
113
Location
Cave Creek, Arizona
Website
www.terrylove.com
we have installed cast iron tubs for decades upon decades using just the ledger board and have NEVER had a problem with them. IF you have the tub sitting on the floor, then you do NOT need the ledger board.
 

Terry

The Plumbing Wizard
Staff member
Messages
29,939
Reaction score
3,400
Points
113
Location
Bothell, Washington
Website
terrylove.com
The feet on a cast iron tub will push into the plywood over time and sink a bit That's why they suggest a metal shim. That's what I see when I look at a tub that was installed without the ledger board. I don't rely on the feet for a cast tub. I have no way of getting to them on most of my installs. I do use the ledger board, and have never seen a problem it. I'm sure someone has, I haven't.

tub-sinking-into-wood.jpg
 
Last edited:

Tbbarch

Member
Messages
77
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Virginia
In reaching out in all directions it seems I get two answers.

1) A full apron alcove cast iron tub is supported on a ledger attached to the wall - which makes practical sense.

2) Use metal shims to support the "feet" - though no one has any idea how to get access to shim under those "feet". The idea that the locations of the feet can be mapped and dead level pads installed before tub installation and that there is no variations in the castings "feet" that require shimming is just impossible for me to believe.
I could not get any rational response from American Standard on how they intend to shim under their new tubs that do not call for a ledger. They illustrate blocking under the drain end too but do not address it in the installation instructions. It sounds like a "do it as instructed" and never mind it is impossible and they do not have a clue how to achieve the result instructed. That way if the product has a failure it is my fault for not installing per the instructions.

I would love to hear someone's report of a cast iron tub failure related to installation on a ledger on the long wall.

Thanks for everyones feedback.
 

Jadnashua

Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
Messages
32,760
Reaction score
1,178
Points
113
Location
New England
Many CI tubs have an attached apron, so when using a ledger to hold the other long side up, assuming the apron is not floating as well, you best be sure you use screws rather than nails to anchor the ledger IMHO. A CI tub is quite strong, so it is unlikely you'd break it, but if it could move, it would make keeping water out of the walls problematic, and it would not be a good feeling getting in and out. Personally, I like the idea of some mortar piles underneath. If you've put your ledger up properly so it sits level when squished down , you'd have both the mortar, the ledger, and the apron all holding things up - the feet would be optional at that point. By using some mortar underneath, you've spread the load out from small contact areas to quite large ones, and that should prevent it from sinking into the substrate.
 

Terry

The Plumbing Wizard
Staff member
Messages
29,939
Reaction score
3,400
Points
113
Location
Bothell, Washington
Website
terrylove.com
What I love are the new instructions for some of the acrylic tubs that recommend a 1/16" gap between the ledger board and the tub.
Have it there, but don't touch.

It's all done by magic now. A lawyers dream.
 

ShowerDude

Showers
Messages
710
Reaction score
66
Points
28
Location
Minnesota
Real world VS manuals...

dry fit tub in some chalk or the like so that you mark feet placement remove tub and shim level with some metal off cuts or the like and use your levels and fasten said metal in place

reset tub ????

im no PLUMBER

clearly a lot of heavy lifting

im a fan of ledgers.....
 
Messages
109
Reaction score
11
Points
18
Location
Hauppauge, NY
I am not a plumber, I am mechanical engineer and diyer so take what I have to say anyway you want. CI tubs are strong and I doubt you will ever have one fail if you support it from the ledger and apron. I shim them under the four little feet under the tub with Simpson Strong Tie or the like, something galvanized or stainless steel. On concrete if the feet were level and the floor were level it would be fine, but of the 3 tubs that I have done the never protrude below the apron so shims are needed so the apron is not on the floor. On wood the feet are way too small to support the weight of the tub, person or people in the tub and water without compressing the wood under the feet. I again use Simpson Strong Tie or the like to shim under the tub feet so the ledger and apron are not supporting any of the weight. The shims spread out the load so it does not compress the wood beneath.

Getting the shims in is pretty easy. I reach through the stud cavity at the head and foot of the tub with a pry bar to lift the tub and then put a 2 x 4 under the apron so tub is off it's feet. then i put the shims under the feet and lower the tub back onto the feet. I repeat this and adjust the number of shims under each foot till the tub is level, does not rock and is not stilling on the apron. Easy one many job and take a half an hour at most. After shimming the apron is an 1/8" to a 1/4" off the floor. Before placing the tub check to level of the floor, if its more than a 3/8" of out you may have some fixing to do or have a challenge hiding the lower edge of the tub apron.

Getting the tub in place can be done by yourself but for safety 2 or 3 people would be better.
 

JCH

Member
Messages
248
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The bottom of the feet on Villager cast-iron tubs are machined true to each other.

For shims, I install 2 stud-nailing protectors (for lack of a better term) in a "+" pattern on the floor. Their built-in teeth hold them in place and keep the extremely narrow cast-iron feet from sinking into the subfloor over time.

Terry's right though, a ledger would be quicker although getting a ledger's placement exact can be quite fiddly to get it wobble-free. These tubs are often warped a bit so the ledger needs to be adjusted accordingly (or metal shims put under one end of the apron).

Hope this helps,
 

Terry

The Plumbing Wizard
Staff member
Messages
29,939
Reaction score
3,400
Points
113
Location
Bothell, Washington
Website
terrylove.com
Terry's right though, a ledger would be quicker although getting a ledger's placement exact can be quite fiddly to get it wobble-free. These tubs are often warped a bit so the ledger needs to be adjusted accordingly (or metal shims put under one end of the apron)./QUOTE]
I install the ledger board so that the ends are high. I sight down the 2x4 to make sure before it gets placed.
I shim the low side on the apron. They never move when I'm done.
You do need to find the high spot on the floor and work from there. It's rare on a remodel for the floor to be flat and level.
 
Last edited:

Kickstart

New Member
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Ambler, PA
I know this is an old thread, and there multiple ones on the Kohler Villager 5' cast iron tub, but I figure this is the one most germane to share my experience leveling it....

I just received my 5' cast iron Kohler Villager tub this week, managed to get it upstairs with an appliance dolly with the help of my son, and fit into the alcove using the technique Terry described in another thread (thanks!).

Because I have some access to the sides of the tub, I decide to follow the manufacture's recommendations and level by shimming under the feet.
Before I got the tub, I prepped the floor by placing 5x8 BOCA plates on the floor where I knew the feet would be. I very very carefully made sure they were all level (using multiple plates, and even cutting out my own shims in the same dimensions) and screwed them into place. I was hoping this would make for an easily leveling job....

I can attest that the feet on my tub were definitely NOT machined level... I had accurately leveled pads (using my new Stabila level) and the tub rocked significantly.

The tub is tough to level. The way the feet are located in relation to the center of gravity of the tub, it's very easy to shim the tub and not realize one of the back feet is now off the ground. I also found that the apron on one side would contact the floor so I had to add more shimming to all four feet to raise the tub a little higher to prevent the apron from taking any weight (as per the manufacturer's instructions).

My real nightmare was it took me a while to figure out my tub is "twisted"... maybe normal for cast iron tubs? What I mean is, if I got the long back edge level and then got the left side in the alcove level, then the edge on the right side of the alcove was so out of level that there was over a 1/4" difference from one side to the other. I spent a lot of time on the phone with Kohler arguing about this (I'm not a pro, so maybe this is expected and maybe I'm out of line here). So I ended up "splitting the difference" so the right edge slopes into the alcove (a little over 1/8" over the 30" span) and the left edge slopes out of the alcove the same amount. I guess I'll have to carefully cut the tile to match the slope, but at least the long back edge is level.

After all that, if I had to do it again, I think I would just put down a thick pile of plaster or cement, push it into place until it was level, then let it set-up. Maybe a combination of the ledger Terry suggests with the plaster/cement, this way the ledger just acts as a leveling guide but the plaster/cement takes most of the weight of the tub.

Sorry about the long post, but hope this helps others.
 

Terry

The Plumbing Wizard
Staff member
Messages
29,939
Reaction score
3,400
Points
113
Location
Bothell, Washington
Website
terrylove.com
A cast iron tub dropped onto mortar will sink.
The only way to prevent that is with the ledger board. That's how hj and I have always done it.
 

Kickstart

New Member
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Ambler, PA
I was wondering about that.

At this point, I already have it shimmed, but I'm wondering if I should somehow secure it better. With not too much effort I can move the tub. Maybe once the tile is down and the tub caulked it won't budge.
 
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks