Unlevel tub with tub enclosure

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by patn, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. patn

    patn New Member

    Aug 18, 2008
    Hi I am renting out a space with a bathroom that has a tub with shower installed above. The enclosure is covered with tile. Water was getting onto the floor-- it hits the wall at the end, runs to the outside of the tub, and from there onto the floor. So I decided to replace the shower curtain with sliding glass doors.

    The guy I had install it (trying to save myself trouble) couldn't deal with the un-plumb tub problem. The walls might be out of plumb too. (It's a 100-yr old house that has settled some). He left it with the doors all askew and when closed there is a gap at bottom thus countering the very reason for installing the doors in the first place.

    Question: any tricks for re-doing it right, which would require variable-depth shimming at the sides and bottom? Ace hardware sold me some plastic shims and wide flat caulking tape to hide them. This is going to make for a pretty un-professional installation that is prone to problems, I suspect, so I haven;t done it. I searched online for shower enclosure shimming but didn't find anything.

    I will no doubt also have to plug up the holes he drilled to install the frame, and drill new ones. Do I just fill the old ones with grout?

    One idea I had was to lay tile along the tub itself, and use a variable depth tile-set material from one end to the other. But is there setting material that will withstand so much moisture creeping underneath?? And will it stick to porcelain? And will it look decent when finished??

    Or should I just pull out the tub and use a tub-enclosure? That might keep water from going downstairs for sure and save me a lot of trouble in the long run. It would eliminate the ugly-caulking around tub problem too.

    When I bought that house I re-did the tub enclosure walls, used cementitious, etc; but the part behind and below the tub might very will be rotten, since some of the part above was. (that was 1995 or so).

    Any brilliant ideas based on experience with out of plumb tubs and bathroom walls would be gratefully received!:D
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    First, I'd take a level and see how far off the tub is. If it isn't level, it can get really messy. Custom glass doors (costly) could be made to fit the skewed walls, but if water pools against the door, you'll still have problems because of the tub leveling issues. It could be really bad if it slopes towards an inside wall, and it leaks into the wall rather than running out. You could have all sorts of damage you can't see.
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  4. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Another thing to consider is if this is a one bathroom house, working on the bathroom while you have renters is going to be impossible. So why not just fix it right now.

  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    You could not get a one piece tub/enclosure in there, and a multipiece one might give you additional leaks. In any case, NOTHING square will fit into a skewed opening. The amount of unlevelness will determine whether a stock door can be used or a custom bottom rail will have to be fabricated to compensate. There are no "ready made" shims because they have to be made for each individual specification.
  6. rayh78

    rayh78 Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Colonial Heights, Virginia
    One way is to buy some solid PVC like in 1x6 size.
    Then cut a long one piece tappered shim the exact size you need. You would need to cut from 2 of 1x6s at one time . I make one cut and have 2 pieces the same that are 3/4" wide. Which would give you a 1 1/2" long shim to go under the tracks.
  7. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Jun 27, 2008
    North Carolina
    You didn't mention how big the gap is between the factory square door frame and the tub/ walls. The joints should all be sealed with caulk but any gap larger than 1/8" will fail. You can go slightly larger by using a closed cell foam backer rod pressed into the gap then caulk over it. I've done that successfully in exterior work but I'm not sure how long it will last for a shower situation.

    Rayh has a good idea but I don't think the size would be correct. SLowes and the Orange building sell exterior plastic trim in various sizes and profiles that might work for less money. The trick is making a long tapered cut, not an easy thing to do without cutting your fingers off. You could glue the piece onto a piece of scrap 3/4" pine to make "handle", trim up the small plastic trim, then cut through the glue to remove the handle.
  8. patn

    patn New Member

    Aug 18, 2008
    Thank you

    Thanks, especially rayh and southern man.

    I will see what I can do; especially check the walls and see if I plumbed them or not when I did the tile; check on pvc, and post here the results.

    Cutting stiff substances that are flat I have found can be done with a metal rule and something like a wooden block to hold it down. The latter is in case the knife slips - which did happen to me once. I cut off the fortunately very very end of a finger, mainly skin. I was cutting rug that time. I learned to be careful and count myself lucky. Those push-out triangular knives are dangerous.
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