Installing a Kohler Villager Cast Iron Tub

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JohnjH2o1

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The copper fin doesn't come in contact with the tub. It's not like a cast iron radiator were the water is running through it. There is no air circulation under the tub to produce heat. That set up wouldn't have even heated the room.

John
 

Jadnashua

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Humm, a light bulb's filament doesn't touch the glass, but the glass gets plenty hot. Heat is heat...while there isn't much air in that cavity, what's there will circulate. Yes, my example isn't as extreme as the hot water in there, but even a convector that is closed up will get hot - it just won't warm the room as effectively.

It would be good to hear from the OP to see how warm in real practice the tub got. Course, if they're running something like 120-degree water through it, it's not an issue.
 

JohnjH2o1

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You can't touch a light bulb that's been on but you can handle copper fin that has 160-degree water running through it.

John
 

Why did I try this?

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Ok, I'm going to take out the panel in the closet on the left hand side of the picture. The 2x3 is going to be cut and then we will drag/walk the tub out through the closet. From there we will use either a dolly or slide it on the skirt.

Ledger: this tub has no ledger and no shims and the feet rest on plywood, been here for 36 years! If I wanted a ledger would the cast tub need to be set in place and then marks put on the wall? Or would I measure based on the specs and put on a level board and set the tub in once?

Thanks much:D
 
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Jadnashua

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What do the installation instructions say about it? The thing sits on the feet, is pretty heavy, but a ledger can ensure it can't tip a little.
 

JCH

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Kohler's installation instructions say for the tub to sit on only its 4 machined feet.

*However*, these feet are very skinny (<1/4" wide) and will sink into the floor unless placed on metal shims. Also, they are not necessarily in-plane with each other. The Kohler Villager I just installed had warped and its feet were 1/8" out-of-plane. Wobbly tub, leaky drain (eventually).

I eventually used a ledger board (despite Kohler's instructions saying not to) and am glad I did. No wobble. No sinking into the floor. Rock solid.
 

JCH

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If I wanted a ledger would the cast tub need to be set in place and then marks put on the wall? Or would I measure based on the specs and put on a level board and set the tub in once?

I found it was an iterative process because the tub wasn't exactly true. Used deck screws to temporarily hold the ledger in place while I checked the tub for levelness and wobbles.

Such is the nature of cast iron manufacturing I suppose. These beasts slump slightly as they cool, making them slightly different than spec.
 

Why did I try this?

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Do the drains have to be installed prior to dropping the tub in place? I have an opening to the drain pipe from underneath but it is small and covered with a bunch of other pipes.

Thank you
 

JohnfrWhipple

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Kohler's installation instructions say for the tub to sit on only its 4 machined feet.

*However*, these feet are very skinny (<1/4" wide) and will sink into the floor unless placed on metal shims. Also, they are not necessarily in-plane with each other. The Kohler Villager I just installed had warped and its feet were 1/8" out-of-plane. Wobbly tub, leaky drain (eventually).

I eventually used a ledger board (despite Kohler's instructions saying not to) and am glad I did. No wobble. No sinking into the floor. Rock solid.

Thinking that your tub is going to be level is like expecting the floor to be level or all the walls to be square.

A perfect tub install is often the "Apperance of perfection" not perfection its self.

The last Kohler tub I installed was out over a 1/16". No way to get it perfect on all three sides so I just set it in the middle. The criss cross apple sauce marks where money. Like taking the average and setting it there.
 
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JohnfrWhipple

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Kohler's installation instructions say for the tub to sit on only its 4 machined feet.

*However*, these feet are very skinny (<1/4" wide) and will sink into the floor unless placed on metal shims. Also, they are not necessarily in-plane with each other. The Kohler Villager I just installed had warped and its feet were 1/8" out-of-plane. Wobbly tub, leaky drain (eventually).

I eventually used a ledger board (despite Kohler's instructions saying not to) and am glad I did. No wobble. No sinking into the floor. Rock solid.

Thinking that your tub is going to be level is like expecting the floor to be level or all the walls to be square.

A perfect tub install is often the "Apperance of perfection" not perfection its self.

The last Kohler tub I installed was out over a 1/16". No way to get it perfect on all three sides so I just set it in the middle. The criss cross apple sauce marks where money. Like taking the average and setting it there.
 
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Dhagin

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We set Villager and similar c.i. tubs on steel shims. The tricky bit, is getting the steel shims at the correct height. To do this, we check the feet of the tub to see where they line up and to verify if they're in-plane. Then, we use various thickness of plywood - without voids - to bring the steel to the correct height. We've tried the ledger bit, but the bottoms of the edges are often pretty rough, and removing/resetting c.i. tubs to get the ledger right is hard work and a pita. Not to mention, every time you set & reset one of these bad boys, you increase the risk of damaging something. :)

The steel shims work. Once set and wall finishes installed, these things don't move. Ever. :)
 

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So, at the urging of ya'll in another thread I had a plumber install my Kohler Villager. $500 later and the tub has a wicked wobble. He installed it with a ledger board then shoved it hard up against the wall to minimize the wobble. I called the plumber and he is telling me to use hard plastic toilet shims under the front apron to level it out. Is that the right thing to do?
 

Terry

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So, at the urging of ya'll in another thread I had a plumber install my Kohler Villager. $500 later and the tub has a wicked wobble. He installed it with a ledger board then shoved it hard up against the wall to minimize the wobble. I called the plumber and he is telling me to use hard plastic toilet shims under the front apron to level it out. Is that the right thing to do?

On a remodel, the first thing you check for is floor level.
I measure out where the apron will hit, normally 30" from the back wall on a Villager and using a level find out which end is high. I then take the level and measure back for the back wall ledger board. Doing this means if there is a low end, that will need shimming.
Out of level somewhere requires something to prevent the wicked rocking. I often have to shim the front apron on an older remodel.
 

craig2018

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First things first: you guys are geniuses. I'm stuck on the first post and the apparent wisdom of just carrying the damn thing into the alcove and then using english and the space between the studs to get things right.
 

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I got my Villager installed over the weekend! I'm still tinkering and so I am not 100% done, but the S.O.B. part is done. Here is what I learned:
  1. Real muscle power is necessary to bring this monster in and get it in the slot. I'm a big guy and still I needed help. Don't think that you can do this with only the help of your wife, or young teenage son because this b******* is heavy and there's little room to move
  2. Ledger board - mine measured to 13 3/4 when I had it out of the crate and standing on end. I used a length of 2x4 cut about a foot shorter than the alcove
  3. Ledger board II - because there is a small lip on the underside of the tub I made a 1/4 by 1/4 relief cut/rabbet along the length of the top side of the ledger board for the side that screwed (#12s) to the wall
  4. I sort of followed Terry's OP description once the tub was standing on end and in the alcove. The trick was drop the tub in slightly out of square and then use the space of the open cavities for handholds and manuevering the tub to square. Important to note that I didn't cut or shave back any of the studs
  5. I didn't attach the drain parts until after the tub was installed. My intention was to save the drain works from getting smashed. Because I had help from above and access from below this option worked fine
  6. Leave the cavities between the studs open in order to be able to reach down and under the tub for adjusting the position as well as shimming
  7. GAME CHANGER - because I pulled up luan and intend to tile the floor I installed a piece of 1/4 ply in the alcove and ontop of the existing subfloor. Into this ply I cut two channels wide and long enough to slip in a flat bar about halfway of it's 16" length. I located these slots far enough away from where the feet are located in order to not compromise how the tub will sit. I slip my flat bar into these slots, lift up the tub under the apron, insert temporary shims or 2x4, and then down through the cavities install and position such shimming as was necessary to level the tub. These slots were awesome because I needed to raise and lower the tub ten or twelve times in order to get things level. I understand that there is a danger in levering up under the bottom edge of the apron, but I could not think of a safer or more efficient way to raise & lower the tub for adjustments
 

craig2018

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Hey all, a follow up question: when you use a ledger board for your Villagers do you position it so that the legs along the back wall rest on the floor or are hovering? Mine, I've realized, are off of the floor. I can shim these but then I must shim the the front even more and so the apron now is maybe 3/8s above the floor? What do you pros do (after laughing at guys like me, of course).
 

Terry

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Hey all, a follow up question: when you use a ledger board for your Villagers do you position it so that the legs along the back wall rest on the floor or are hovering?

I normally measure to set the ledger so that the tub is leveled. The legs never touch the floor. It's been working for me. Kohler suggests shimming them, but unless you have way more access then I ever get, it's not going to happen. I have pulled tubs that had no ledger and the feet were sinking into the plywood. God knows how far they were sinking and how that affected the tile gap at the wall.
 

craig2018

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My floor falls so far away from the wall that I need to shim the front feet: about 5/8". The back feet are off of the floor unless I shim them.

There's a small -very small- amount of wobble if I stand in the tub facing the valve and shake laterally. Because I have access to the underside thanks to still-unfilled stud cavities and access points for lifting the tub with flat bars (per point #7 above) I've been able to experiment with shims, without shims, shimming the entire tub higher, etc. Bottom line no matter what I have a tiny amount of wobble.

After reinforcing the joists by laminating them with a double thickness of 3/4" ply (Liquid Nails & screws) and some bridging I've concluded that the floor in bathroom has some movement and that's just the way that it is. House is a frame ranch and went up in '64. No rot anywhere, but there's always felt to be a little give underfoot for the 20 years we've been in the house. As I said, the house just moves and while I don't like that it's my house and I'll be here for at least another ten years.

FWW I had a friend who is/was a journeyman plumber stop by for beers and to have a look. "Rock solid" is what he counseled, but then felt the wiggle and told me I'm OK but (a) be prepared t0 keep an eye on the caulk seam between the tub and wall (which will be tiled) and (b) support the apron with a strip of rabbeted hardwood installed under the tub apron. Caulking isn't a problem, and the strip of wood is a fail-safe and insurance against the feet doing all of the work for the next 50 years. I like better the idea of plastic shims or even thinset to a strip of wood, but my solution is TBD until I get an evening off and can tinker.
 
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