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Thread: new bathroom, new tub, what material?

  1. #1

    Default new bathroom, new tub, what material?

    I am having a new bathroom built in my 100-year old home. I have looked at cast iron (Kohler), "americast" (American Standard), and the fiberglass and acrylic tubs....Home Depot also has a tub that is enamel on steel (Bootz). I like the cast iron best, but I am concerned about the weight. This will be on the second floor, with the length of the tub running parallel with the joists, which span a 12-foot room. Must the floor be reinforced somehow? Should I choose a lighter weight tub? The more I study the more confused I get.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What's underneath that room? Are there any load bearing walls? On an old house, it is really tough to assess sometimes, since modern codes didn't apply - it could be way overbuilt or pretty springy. If you jump in that room, do things rattle all over?

    A modern house is generally built to handle 40# per square foot...no way to tell on an older house. Need more details on how it's built.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    There is no load-bearing wall underneath....the long side of the tub will be next to one, though. This will be part of an approx 8x8 bathroom over a larger 12x13 kitchen. Two of the walls are pre-existing; one an outside wall and the other an interior load-bearing wall. I am not doing this work myself--have hired a contractor and gone through the permit process, so all work (construction, plumbing and electric) will be inspected. When I jump up and down, sure, things rattle some, but not to the point I worry about anything falling down. I'll check to see how far apart the joists are....
    In the existing bathroom (the one I will be tearing out) there is a cast iron tub over joists of the same length (12'), but the long side of the tub is perpendicular to the run of the joists, so the weight is distributed over more of them. That hasn't sagged at all in who knows how many years....
    Last edited by macwnj; 03-03-2008 at 09:59 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Member FJK's Avatar
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    This might not answer your question, but should help you put things in perspective. A cast iron tub wieghs ~ 313 lbs, a steel tub ~ 110 lbs. Water weighs ~ 8.7 lbs per gallon. What if 5 200 lb guys stood where you want to put your tub? Will the extra 200 lbs of weight from a cast iron tub be the deal breaker? I don't know, but maybe this will help you make sense out of all of this. FJK

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default tub

    I have never had anyone be concerned about installing a tub on the second floor regardless of the joist orientation or where they fell in the scheme of things. Do not even consider the steel tub, and evaluate the plastic ones very carefully. I would prefer the American Standard Americast, but only because it would be easier to get upstairs than the cast iron one.

  6. #6

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    I've read mixed reviews concerning "Americast"...would like to hear from anyone with some experience with it.....

  7. #7

    Default enameled steel tubs, including Americast

    We have done 3 bathroom renovations in the past 7 years (moved once), and installed one Americast tub, and one Kaldewei tub in our old house (Kaldewei is a German brand that makes enameled steel tubs). The Americast was a fine tub, didn't flex when my 6'2" husband stood in it, kept a pretty nice surface, and had a look and feel quite close to cast iron. We (myself and my carpenter) brought it up two flights of stairs, something we could never have done with cast iron. We did install it over doubled joists, which is not too difficult to achieve in a limited area. In our guest bath, we installed a Kaldewei tub. I can't say enough about the beauty and ease of installation of these tubs. They are 3.5 mm enameled steel, don't flex, look gorgeous (lots of shapes, two ended if you like, center drain if you like, great grip pattern) and are easy to install, since they sit on legs. You can get at the drain/overflow system until you build a front to the tub. One of the great advantages of this brand is that their "mini" model has an angled end at the foot end. This allows a tub to fit in some pretty tight spots. Our guest bathroom was 6X7 in our old house, and we had the tub/shower combo, along with a toilet and pedestal sink, and it still felt roomy. I liked the Kaldewei so much, we are putting two of them in our new house. If I couldn't have gotten Kaldewei, then it would have been a toss-up between American Standard and a cast iron tub.

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