Bathtubs...

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Ice10

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Bathtubs...
« on: 1 Feb 2021, 04:20 am »
I just got on my contractors schedule to remodel my kids bathroom so we’re looking at ordering a replacement bathtub.  We currently have a very shallow cast iron tub which we’re looking at replacing with something deeper and not cast iron (based purely on weight). This will be an alcove 60”x30” tub. My contractor likes American Standard Americast tubs and I’ve had good luck with Kohler in the past, but that was a long time ago.  Does anyone have positive or negative experiences with a particular material or brand of bathtub? 

john1970

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #1 on: 1 Feb 2021, 02:43 pm »
A few years back I renovated my guest bathroom on the second floor of the home and purchased a cast iron Kohler tub.  If it were me I would stick with cast iron due to its reliability.  Are there structural issues with the location that make the weight a concern?  I assume the contractor is moving the new tub so it is their job to move the new tub to the bathroom regardless of weight.  The Americast tub you mention sounds interesting in that it is a enamel over steel over composite material.  Is it that much lighter than a cast iron tub?

I would avoid fiberglass tub; they are cheap and as a general rule do not hold up. 

A couple of helpful links:

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-choose-a-bathtub/

https://www.badeloftusa.com/ideas/bathtub-materials/

Good luck,

John

Ice10

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #2 on: 1 Feb 2021, 02:58 pm »
I appreciate the input and links.  To answer your question, the tub we’re replacing is cast iron (albeit a cheap one) so there are no structural issues.  My only reason for looking for cast iron alternatives is a) hoping that there’s a new product that makes cast iron obsolete or at least less appealing and b) it’ll be up to my contractor and myself to get it into place in a small bathroom so lighter is preferred.

Peter J

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #3 on: 1 Feb 2021, 04:57 pm »
This was a common question when I was remodeling.

If we eliminate budget as a criterium, it comes down to functionality. To me that means amount of usage and desired longevity (and appearance, I suppose). Many, if not most, "fiberglass" tubs have an acrylic surface...fiberglass is the underlying reinforcing structure.  Here's some food for thought.

Acrylic or gelcoat is no match for porcelain in terms of absolute durability. But porcelain is harder to repair. On the other hand, reasonably priced cast iron tubs are not the same as they were 30 years ago. The castings and porcelain finishes are rough and lumpy. Americast attempts to combine the best of both worlds and does a pretty good job.

There are other considerations for some if you intend to actually bathe  in the tub. Cast iron and steel are cold to the touch and suck heat out of water inside of them. Acrylic not so much. Comfort is yet another. Some tubs have decidedly uncomfortable backrest if soaking is in the cards, yet open up "floor space" for shower.

Not much new under the bathtub sun in the last twenty years. FWIW, I took out way more tubs than I installed, converting many to walk in showers.

Kohler makes some nice stuff, but one pays for the name to some extent.

The proper installation of tubs is often overlooked.  Leveling rims and not just plopping on the subfloor is uncommon. Many call for a mortar bed underneath. Read the instructions.  Gun foam in this area is almost worthless. If it's an exterior wall, insulate well before tub install. On suspended wood floors, especially over crawlspace, the exit for drain is often overlooked and it's a big f'ing hole that acts like a chimney. Ahh, but we're getting into my peeves with the building industry, so I'll digress.

BobRex

Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #4 on: 1 Feb 2021, 05:00 pm »
I've had acrylic tubs / shower pans for 35 years.  The only issue was with a Lasko builder grade unit.  The floor cracked and had to be redone.  Once that was fixed the unit was fine.  Kohler acrylic tubs are fine.

aldcoll

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #5 on: 1 Feb 2021, 05:11 pm »
And I will throw in the what will this bathroom be used for in the future if you still live in the house after the kids leave?

As I got older and those around me did also it changed my requirements.   Will a parent or family senior move in or will you be the senior still there?   Or kids leave and now it his and hers shower steam?

Even if you are just doing a remodel now install studs and backer for grab rails in all the right places.  One skateboard or car can change that way you use everything.

Alan

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #6 on: 1 Feb 2021, 05:23 pm »
I have used American Standard steel/porcelain sinks in the past with no issues.  I also replace some  Kohler toilets with American Standard and prefer them. Last fall we replaced our countertops in the kitchen and bought a beautiful Kohler sink and it developed a crack in the porcelain. Kohler replaced the sink but we had to pay for the labor which involved lifting up a 15' piece of L shaped Cambria Quartz top.

I need to replace a tub in one of my bathrooms and it is going to be an American Standard.

Don_S

Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #7 on: 1 Feb 2021, 05:35 pm »
And I will throw in the what will this bathroom be used for in the future if you still live in the house after the kids leave?

As I got older and those around me did also it changed my requirements.   Will a parent or family senior move in or will you be the senior still there?   Or kids leave and now it his and hers shower steam?

Even if you are just doing a remodel now install studs and backer for grab rails in all the right places.  One skateboard or car can change that way you use everything.

Alan

I will +1 on Alan's recommendation for backer installation. My Lennar home is in a retirement community with lots of backing for grab bars. I mounted this next to my toilet and congratulate myself often on what a smart move it was. Screwed into solid wood. Comes in a variety of finishes and works best placed on the right when seated.

OK, I digressed. It is not a bathtub but something else for you or others to consider while remodeling if a wall gets stripped and a backer can be installed. It comes with hardware to mount to dry wall but I would not trust that.

https://smile.amazon.com/Moen-LR2352DBN-8-Inch-Integrated-Brushed/dp/B007TAQ8M8/ref=sr_1_55?crid=2K3EM423ZPOLS&dchild=1&keywords=moen%2Bgrab%2Bbars%2Bfor%2Bbathroom&qid=1612200397&sprefix=moen%2Bgrab%2Caps%2C228&sr=8-55&th=1

Ice10

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #8 on: 1 Feb 2021, 07:15 pm »
Thank you all!  Several years ago I fought, and lost, battles with my parents when we remodeled their bathroom.  Two 75 year old people that were in denial about their mobility insisted on a big jacuzzi tub and a crazy shower head configuration that you needed a PHD to understand.  Of course time proved me right and I’m taking that information into the master bathroom remodel.  The master bathroom will be completely set up for my wife and myself to grow old with.

For this bathroom, I’m going to put in stud backers for handles if ever needed but for now with two barely teen age daughters we’re looking at a soaker depth tub that has to endure whatever the kids dish out.  Given that we get some low temps I’m going to insulate around it as much as possible. Holy heck the existing cast iron tub sucks the heat out of the bath water in the first bath of the night and I pity the first one that puts their bare back against the cold cast iron!  That’ll wake you up!

Thank you all for your input, it’s great appreciated. 

ctviggen

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Re: Bathtubs...
« Reply #9 on: 1 Feb 2021, 10:37 pm »
Can you heat a bath tub from the outside, I wonder? I've seen heating systems to heat the tile of a shower. Anything like that for a tub?

We have a small shower and a HUGE jetted tub.  Every time I see a home-buying show where the people say they want a large tub, I think they're crazy. We've never used our tub.  I'd rather have a small tub and large shower.