Fiberglass tub/stall problems

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Venezia03, May 24, 2008.

  1. Venezia03

    Venezia03 New Member

    May 24, 2008
    We have a 30 year old fiberglass tub/shower combo and a fiberglass shower stall in our home. The tub has had a crack in it and now has a smaller crack next to it. We have been told that We must have dropped something in it by one person and someone else told us that fiberglass tubs just do that.

    What is the life span of a fiberglass tub?? Can it be repaired or is it wiser to replace it, altogether?

    The shower stall has a leak somewhere. It is in the master bathroom and the water has now damaged the wall between the bathroom and bedroom. The floor of the stall feels spongey around the drain. Could this be the source of the leak??

    Are these fixable?


    Thank you.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    I would not try to repair the tub. Even if someone felt they could do it, it would likely have removed. By the time it was repaired and reinstalled you'd have the cost of a new one invested and no real assurance that the patch would hold. The shower stall leak has ruined the floor and will have to be totally torn out. I suspect there is considerable damage under there, but a little damage or a lot of damage, you will have to get everything ripped out to fix it anyway. Yes, it is likely the drain was the cause, but you might be able to tell more when you get into it. I fear there are a couple of pretty hefty remodeling bill headed your way.:eek:
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  4. Venezia03

    Venezia03 New Member

    May 24, 2008
    Fiberglass Tub & Shower problem!

    We would also like to know if this is caused by normal usage?? How long can a Fiberglass Tub or Shower last??? What is the normal life span of fiberglass?

    Is it true that to remove these, they must be cut into pieces to be taken out of our home??

    Any information is appreciated!

    Thank you
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nov 23, 2006
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Yes, but that does not mean it should have happened. Fiberglass tubs need to be set on a bed of mortar to fully support their bottoms, and cracks eventually develop when that is not done at the time of installation.

    Essentially forever. Fiberglass is not biodegradable.

    Quite possibly so, unless you have a large bathroom with a big door opening out onto a very wide hallway.

    That tub can actually be permanently repaired right where it sits and the bottom be fully supported, but like Gary mentioned, the cost to truly do that job right would be high enough to have had it replaced with a new one.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Because of issues with the finish, the normal lifespan of fibreglass tub and sbhower units is about 15 years. Many give up the ghost before 10, if not properly maintained. If you are really nice to it, you could get 20, and at 30 years, well, if there is any finish at all left on the fibreglass, that would be unusual. Are you able to keep that thing clean and shiny at all?

    As for the comments made about your problem, installation errors can lead to cracks. 30 years ago, it was not so common to bed the tub or shower in a mortar substrate for support,which is the practice today.. As a result, just walking on it caused flexing, which eventually causes cracks. Again, at 30 years of age, it does not owe you anything!

    The process to repair a through-crack in fiberglass is quite labor intensive and messy ( lots of sanding dust, fumes, etc. ). I would not recommend it, even though replaceing the tub is neither easy or inexpensive, but you will be resetting the 30 year clock. If you spend a lot of time and money on the old one, it is still 30 years old.
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