Installing Sterling Ensemble tub - mortar bed

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Kimbo_g

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Hey there,

Looking for some help/direction on mortar, specifically with the Sterling Ensemble tub. I was leaning towards expanding foam, based on a response I got somewhere else, but after researching more, it seems like the tried and true mortar base is the best option, and what the manufacturer recommends.

First question, mortar or non-shrink grout?

That said, most of what I've read/viewed says to use piles under the tub. Question I have, will piles still work with the pattern that's under the tub? The tub instructions seem to show a bed where the main contact points are.

Thanks in advance!

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John Gayewski

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My thing is using a notched trowel, like a giant tile. With a grid type bottom I'm not sure how it'll set. Are you pretty level as is? As in with it just sitting there in place?
 

Terry

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Depending on how level the floor is, sometimes I've used the supplied felt pad. If the floor is out of level then mortar mix works. The reason for piles, or sometimes a notched blade is to apply mortar in a way that it can support, but also alow it to drop so that's it's not "lifted," up.
 

Kimbo_g

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My thing is using a notched trowel, like a giant tile. With a grid type bottom I'm not sure how it'll set. Are you pretty level as is? As in with it just sitting there in place?
The floor is about 3/16" lower at the wall vs. the apron.

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Kimbo_g

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Depending on how level the floor is, sometimes I've used the supplied felt pad. If the floor is out of level then mortar mix works. The reason for piles, or sometimes a notched blade is to apply mortar in a way that it can support, but also alow it to drop so that's it's not "lifted," up.
Unfortunately this one didn't have the pad, plus the floor does slope a bit. Leaving some space makes sense since the mortar will need a place to go when the tub is pushed in. In my head I wasn't taking the 'squish factor' into account and thinking more like setting something in concrete.

Should the piles still be relatively low in height with this type of support?
 

Weekend Handyman

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Depending on how level the floor is, sometimes I've used the supplied felt pad. If the floor is out of level then mortar mix works. The reason for piles, or sometimes a notched blade is to apply mortar in a way that it can support, but also alow it to drop so that's it's not "lifted," up.
Do you, by chance, have a pic of what you do for piles? I have often wondered about that. I did not use a mortar bed when I did mine, but will next time.
 

Terry

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The reason for the notched trowel, or small piles, is so that the tub can drop down for some support.
Sometimes you will someone comment about a full bed underlayment, but unless you have guessed right, often times that just recreates a non-supporting base done with more time and money.
Allowing the tub or shower pan to create it's own marriage to the existing floor surface, one that can "mold to fit" is the key.

I sometimes see someone ask if you use the entire bag for support. You only need enough so that the base is supported. Sometimes that means very little is needed.

Sometimes I will see lot's of space between, on say something like a deck drop in installation.
It's okay to build up the floor below so that not as much is needed.

I think the Sakcrete and the Quickrete are products that work.
 
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