Need advice on installing a bathtub on uneven floor

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Cindy, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. Cindy

    Cindy New Member

    Oct 11, 2004
    I just found this site while searching for information on a problem I've encountered and I hope it's okay that I post this plea for help.

    Two years ago, I purchased a big, expensive, old mistake...a HUD house that I intended to remodel (along with a friend).

    We've been slowly making progress and are now faced with a problem on installing a new bathtub in the upstairs bathroom. The floor isn't level - with the left side (where the drain is) being approximately an inch lower than the right side.

    The person working on the house said I have two options: either purchase a fiberglass tub that can be cut down on the bottom edges so they'll rest flat on the floor (a 2 or 3-piece model) - or install a tub without a finished outside and tile around it. Neither plan calls for leveling the floor, which concerns me.

    I'll be honest in saying I don't know the first thing about plumbing, but it seems like the floor should be leveled before the tub is installed. But I'm not sure how to deal with the appearance of the tub on the right side, where the floor would have to be elevated for it to be level.

    I hope I'm explaining this so it makes some sense! Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The tub has to be level to work correctly. You can mix some mortar shovel some underneath the tub and then set it in place and mush it down so that it is level. Make sure you get it level right to left and side-to-side. That won't help the uneven floor, though. If you used a drop-in tub (i.e., one without an apron - it still sits on the floor but has no finished side wall), the wall you put up could be made to fill in without problems.

    If you want to tile the floor, it needs to be flat. It doesn't need to be level (but it is nice if it is!). How is the rest of the floor? Depending on the floor, one way to make the floor flat is to use something like self-leveling concrete. This special stuff is mixed up so that it is like cream, you pour it out on the prepared floor, it seeks its own level, and voila, you have a flat floor! You might have to push it around into the corners, but other than that, that's it. Kind of expensive, but it works. I just got done doing that with mine, actually fairly easy, except that it is heavy. You can walk on it in 4-hours, tile it the next day. Hope this helps.

    Now, you really should figure out if there is a structural problem that caused the floor to be uneven first. Patching it without figuring that out and fixing it is opening you up for failure. They could have cut one too many joist openings for the plumbing or heat ducts, and the floor is unstable, and that is why it is uneven.

    You can get some great info here on plumbing. will give you some great info on tiling, if you decide to go that route.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2004
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    An inch in the length of the tub is a lot to be out of level, but it is an old house. If it has finished settling, you need to put in a 2x4 ledger all around to support the back and side rims. You need to set the tub in a mortar base of some kind for support. And then you need to do something about the front panel. It should be shimmed for support, and then will need decorative finish trim along the floor.

    It might be easier to level the floor. Without seeing the whole situation, I would say contact a reputable builder and seek his advice on that project.
  5. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Sep 6, 2004
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney
    Wichita, Kansas

    Are you still on a train? When are you coming to Kansas?
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Home now.

    Passed through Kansas on the 14th ( Amtrak Southwest Chief)
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