HELP! Large tub Surround gap

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by captwbrown, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    I need some good advice from someone. I built my own whirlpool tub with tile surround box. The tub is a drop-in. It will also double as a shower as the walls all around are tiled. Here's the problem: In order for water to drain on the inside wall while showering (between tub lip and wall) , I had to put a very slight slope in the top of the surround towqrd the drain located in the corner on top of the surround.. Now the gap between the tub lip and and tile is about 3/4 inch near the drain. Right where all the water goes. I need to have an absolute watertight seal there but silicone does not stick real great to the glazed tile. It sticks, but I just don't have alot of faith in it as a long term solution. Is there some type of mastic substance that can be used? And what type of trim can I use to make it look good? I appreciate any advice.
     
  2. sulconst2

    sulconst2 New Member

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    wow!
    let me see if i got this right. you installed a drop in soaking tub into a platform with a drain in one corner of the platform. (would love to see a pic of that) and you are trying to use this as a shower. i guess when you pitched the platform your tub is also pitched and probably fills unevenly. a tub like this is used for soaking then have a seperate shower. should have bought an alcove tub. thats what they are made for. i think your only option now is a circular shower rod/curtain which is used for clawfoot tubs.
    by the way, how did you tie in the platform drain?
     
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    surround

    From your description, you have a "cobbled" up surround and a "cobbled" in drain, and now you are trying to make it leakproof. I doubt that you will succeed, because it appears that the entire project is flawed.
     
  5. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    OK guys, take it easy on me. I've found a solution to every problem that this project has thrown at me and I'll solve this one. Its a damn tub, I'm not landing a man on the moon. First of all its not "cobbled". Its a fine installation albiet a little unorthodox. The tub is not slanted at all. That is how I got the gap. I had to keep the tub perfectly plumb. The drain is tied in between the tub drain and the overflow. The Idea of having a circular curtain rod is what I originally had in mind but I thought I could keep it more open this way. If anybody has any constructive advice, that would be great.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2005
  6. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Let's see some pictures and I'm sure someone will have advice.

    Jason
     
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    San Diego, CA
    We are all occasionally guilty of being a little testy.! Please bear with us. A picture would help, because I also am not clear on exactly what you are describing.
     
  8. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    Her are some pictures of the corner. Can't get the camera in there to show the gap real good. The tub is now sitting on foam blocks that came installed on the bottom (supposed to be as good as sitting in mortar bed). Now I'm starting to think I can take the tub back out, knock off the foam blocks, trim the tub lip all around to match the slope of the surround, then set the tub back in to a mortar bed to the point that the lip sits flush with the tile. Then just silicone or mastic the minor gap. Can you cut/trim an acrylic tub lip? Marking it exactly where to cut is not a problem. I can mark it where it sits right now and get a perfect line. What do you think?
     

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  9. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

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    Plumming
    I'm thinking and thinking on this once.

    OK, heres go.

    I see a flat deck and a tub higher than the deck, ok, I got that one seeing.

    Wheres the water? Is it all go dwon under the tub?
    Whats the little chrome drain for?
    Is water going there too?
    Does the drain under the tub coolect all the water?

    Mosts time, I see tubs like that built into a corner and walls coming down to the top of the tub, but not before it goes over a spashing plate taht was siliconed to the tub.
    You mighnten want some marble or sumthin and silicone that big gap up.
     
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that if you pull the tub out, trim the styrofoam blocks and drop it down on some support, (mortar, plaster, shims) it should drop down to the deck.
    The reason most are using something like mortar, is the issue with getting just the right depth on the support.

    If the deck is straight and level, then the tub should drop down to it.
    If the deck was framed out of level, then I could see some problems.

    I think a circle shower curtin would be a good idea here.
     
  11. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    The deck is not exactly flat. There is a very slight slope from the front of the tub down toward the drain. This is so that any water that collects on top of the deck while showering will run down toward the drain. The problem is that the slope created a gap between the tub and tile down near the drain. I can't slope the tub too, because then the tub wouldn't drain right. I should say that there is a waterproof membrane under the tile on the wall and deck. So the only threat from water is that gap and I need to close it somehow. What I can't understand is why there can't be some kind of plumbing mastic like they use in roofing and underground electrical work that virtually gaurantees a waterproof barrier if applied right. I'm leaning toward my idea above but I'm sure open to any ideas. Thanks for your interest.
     
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    There is a very heavy sticky putty-like subststance called Duct-Seal. In the trade, it is referred to by a name I cannot use here! It is available at the box stores and electrical supplies. It is uses to seal cable entrances,etc. You could pack that in the gap; then use a piece of plastic moulding, applied with silicone adhesive/sealant, to trim it out.

    A better design would have incorporated some sort of curb, but it is too late to do that now. What is the waterproof substrate beneath these deck tiles?
     
  13. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    I am very sorry, but you got troubles

    that is never , ever going to work correctly....not as a shower.

    if for no other reason just the mold and hair and soap
    that is going to collect on that tiel.
    its gonna get ugly after a while.

    It will be a constant
    maintaince problem keeping it dry and cleaning it off
    after every shower.

    it is going to seep through the tile on the wall and eventually
    leak through to under the tub....

    you are in it too deep now , sort of like apollo 13,
    theres no going back from here..

    I am sure you arent interested
    in tearing out the whole project so you just got to go on.

    your only real escape from a lifetime of troubles is to put
    up a round shower curtain...and smear a ton of clear silicone
    all along that gap and on the tile


    I took a tub something like yours and imbedded it into
    the wall a full 2x4 deep laying the 2x4 on the tub sealed in silicone
    then wall board on top of that.. with a heallthy slope outwards from the
    wall and tilted towards the drain too.

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/services/
     
  14. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Well, although Mark's comment is a little on the "doom and gloom" side, he is essentially correct. I mentioned the need for a curb. In general "Construction 101" terms, caulking should never be the only, or even the primary means to stop water intrusion. Mechanical structure ( flashing, curbs, etc) are the proper methods, and caulking is used to back up, reinforce, and trim out.

    Nonetheless, you "got what you got" so you need to put something in there to try to stop the water, and then something to make it look nice.

    If you have slope as you describe and water does not accumulate and stagnate along that ledge, you may be OK.

    I am still wondering what is UNDER the tile.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2005
  15. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    Thanks to all who have replied. I've got a substance called Redgard underneath the tile. Its totally waterproof. I can add a curb to the deck under the lip of the tub when I take it out to trim it to the contour of the deck. When I trim the tub at the angle of the slope I will have a very small gap filled with silicone plus the small curb maybe 1/2 inch tall. I think instead of cutting the tub edge I'll get my contour line just right then "sand" it down with a power sander. That way no cracks or breaks and a nice smooth edge. Then I just put the tub back in and sink it a little lower till its flush all the way around.(Yes, I think my drain line will still have enough slope). Well, thats my plan right now anyway. I can hear all the snickers out there but I 'm going to make this thing work.
     
  16. thezster

    thezster Member

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    Good for you... Sometimes you do whatever you have to do to make things work.... and if your persistant enough at it... it looks good too....
     
  17. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    no snickers from me

    I hope I didnt sound like doom and gloom,

    compareing it to apollo 13 and all .......lol

    I am sure you can do someting to accomidate your gap



    someting else you can do that works pretty well is to go
    buy synthertic or plastic corner molding.....


    I have taken that kind of moouding and sealed off a 3/4 gap
    in front of my own peronal tub about 4 years ago and it
    still is holding good.... basically a gap between the old vinyl linelouem
    and the lip of the tub......

    the kids have thrown all they could at
    it and also washing a large dog hasnt phased it ether
    it has caught hell and still looks pretty good.

    I simply cut the trim moulding to size and glued it down with
    good old silicone...

    you can simply cut it to size , then glue it down with clear silicone
    and it can both hide the gap and seal it off fairly nicely


    the plastic moulding never rots like the wood kind and it wont look
    too bad either.


    you do what you got to do..to win the battle...
    ....and I think this might make things
    look more palatible to the eye too.


    good luck....
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2005
  18. Cal

    Cal New Member

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    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    You can make this work,,however i still gotta get in my snicker,snicker,,,.

    Can you try this for some waterproofing and looks,,,,,,,

    Get some of the tile trim (that matches walls) cut it down to 1 1/2". Using clear silicone adhere these pieces onto the tub lip and down to the tile deck.

    In essence you are now extending the tub lip.

    Get the circle curtain too, water on that flat surface---NO MATTER WHAT'S UNDER IT will leak eventually .
     
  19. captwbrown

    captwbrown New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Thanks for your idea Cal. Just one thing, though. The surface were talking about is sloped enough to let all the water drain immediately when it hits the surface. Won't that keep it from seeping through? I have seen tile shower floors so it must be the same situation there. Also this stuff called Redgard is a rubber-like coating that water will not get through even if it gets through the grout and thinset. (I hope).
     
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Showers that use a lined pan, use a clamping style drain with weep holes that allow water to drain. The tile is not expected to catch all of the water.

    In your situation the water caught by the vapor barrier will not be caught by weep holes in a clamped down drain, but rather will drip into the well below the tub.
    You don't have containment.

    When most tubs are set in a deck, there is not expectation that water will ever get on the deck.
    What little that gets splashed there can be wiped up.
     
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