Drop-in tub in alcove without frame or stringers?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Leslie_B, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Leslie_B

    Leslie_B New Member

    Aug 15, 2019
    Los Angeles, CA
    I purchased a Kohler Underscore acrylic drop in tub (60"x32") with the understanding that it could be installed in a 3 wall alcove using a tile-in bead kit (verified by Kohler). After the installer looked at the tub, he determined that would not work -- the 2x4 drop-in frame would prevent the tub from sitting flush against any studs because the lip wasn't wide enough to reach. He told me I'd have to return it and buy an alcove tub with apron.

    When I called Kohler to confirm, they said the drop in tub CAN be placed against the studs with no frame, no stringers, and no nail-in flange because it has feet. They say just build a frame across the apron and it's fine. But even if I use a mortar base, I'm incredibly skeptical how this tub could not be secured to the studs in any way? I live in prime earthquake territory and this is a 2nd floor condo for what it's worth.

    I prefer the drop in style because I can tile the front of the tub -- but I'm ready to bite the bullet and exchange for an apron front with integral flange if I have no choice.

    I appreciate any advice before I make any more costly mistakes on this project...
    P.S. -- thank you, this forum is a life-saver!
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Would a 1x4 on the wall work? That's only 3/4" to worry about.
    I'm not a big fan of drop in tubs for a three wall alcove though. I can see why the plumber is hesitant about putting his name on it.
    The tub does have feet, and if the floor is level, you can slide it in. I have also used construction adhesive under the feet to lock it down. If the floor is out of level, then the mortar and some shimming works.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Even when a drop-in tub is literally dropped in, most of them aren't designed to 'hang' by the rim, they need a slight gap there that is filled with silicon. As a result, they are entirely supported by their feet or the bottom of the tub. So, if you get the tub sitting flat, and you do want the rim level, too so mortar may be required, once the tile is up, the thing shouldn't move around. The tile flange must be attached properly, or you'll get moisture behind and in the walls and floor.
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