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Thread: How level does a bathtub have to be?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member SpartyRules!'s Avatar
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    Default How level does a bathtub have to be?

    I'm installing a Americast "Princeton" bathtub from Lowe's in my 1939 house.

    In attempting to put up my ledger board for my tub today it instructed me to install the board off the floor 13 5/8" on each stud. Once I had done that I threw my 4 foot level on it and my floor must be a little out of wack. I'm about a 1/4" higher in the back (away from the drain) side of the bathtub.

    So what is my best course of action?

    1.) Leave it how it is, and make sure it is level side to side, I'll just have a little more pitch to the tub.

    2.) Raise the front of the tub a bit and lower the back to achieve level.

    3.) Figure out how to level the floor.... will not be easy.


    Thanks in advance
    Ryan

    PS - not sure if it makes any difference but I will be installing ceramic tile floor and surround, with knowledge courtesy of the guys at John Bridge.com!

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartyRules! View Post
    1.) Leave it how it is, and make sure it is level side to side, I'll just have a little more pitch to the tub.
    That is probably what I would do since parallel-with-the-floor beats trimming the tub's skirt (and top of the surround to match the same-sloping ceiling line?) or leveling the floor.

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    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    If you leave it how it is, if you put tiles on the walls, it may look aquard where the tiles meets the tub. If you choose to place your tile level. The smaller the tile, the more noticable the difference in level.

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    DIY Junior Member SpartyRules!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krow View Post
    If you leave it how it is, if you put tiles on the walls, it may look aquard where the tiles meets the tub. If you choose to place your tile level. The smaller the tile, the more noticable the difference in level.
    Could I get by with just doing my option #2? Just raise the front a bit? or would then the tub not be touching the ground in the front, or worse, would that make the tub tilt towards the rest of the bathroom and the water would run out of the tub onto the floor?

    Should I just make the ledger board level, bring the tub in, put it in place and throw a level on it? It's a total gut on the bathroom, so I can move the tub in and outof place with ease.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The ledger board is NOT supposed to support the tub - they support the edges in case you do something like sit on the edge and keep it straight. You want the tub level in both directions. The easiest way to do that is to put something like Stuctolite, plaster, or deck mud underneath it and set the tub down in it before it sets up. You can place a layer of plastic both under and over it if you want (under keeps it from drying out too quickly by wicking into the subfloor and above makes it easier to take the tub out eventually since it won't stick to the stuff). This will do two things, fully support the bottom of the tub so it won't deflect and feel much more substantial and last longer, and allow you to get it perfectly level. If you don't have it level, assuming it is also being used as a shower, you'll have leaks or pooling at the low side.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    I would choose option #2.

    Achieve a level tub and fill in the gaps with water proof materials (ie: mortar, cement, thin set, etc....)

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    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    You are installing a new tub. Take my word for it and do whatever it takes to make that tub PERFECTLY level and all sides.

    Jim stated the exact proper way to install it. Make sure there is a bed of material underneath that will form a mold when dry and support the tub nicely.

    Tiling will look unprofessional with an out of level tub. Take your time and get it right no matter how long it takes.

    I use a laser level. When pointed at the back wall the line wraps around the corner and shows also on the side walls (you can also draw level pencil marks on the studs all around at the proper height). This gives you a level line on all three sides. Then after I put the mud on the floor (very generous amount) I just line up the top of the three sides of the tub with the laser line. A few of screws into the studs to hold it in place until the mud drys and you're done. Piece of cake.

    Don't try to work a heavy tub by yourself.
    Last edited by GabeS; 01-28-2009 at 09:07 AM.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

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    DIY Junior Member SpartyRules!'s Avatar
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    Mud under the tub? Even if the manufacturer specifically says "NO material underneath the tub or warrenty is void"?

    I've decided to make the tub level, one way or another. Sadly tub #1 came out of the box with a bent flange and a BIG chip out of the corner. Going back to Lowe's today.....

  9. #9
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Find the high point,
    Level to that using a four foot level.

    Shim the apron at the floor so that the tub is stable.

    Most homes that have been around for a while, have sagging floors.
    Leveling and shimming is a must.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartyRules! View Post
    Mud under the tub? Even if the manufacturer specifically says "NO material underneath the tub or warrenty is void"?

    I've decided to make the tub level, one way or another. Sadly tub #1 came out of the box with a bent flange and a BIG chip out of the corner. Going back to Lowe's today.....


    Do you think anyone has brought a tub back years later, for a refund?

    No.


    I set all tubs in mortar regardless of what the mfg. specs state. I don't want any weak spots in the underside of that tub and that solid base prevents that.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Whoa there on the Mud!

    Americast tubs will delaminate if you put mud under them!

  12. #12
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you were sloppy with bedding a tub, it might only be supported by a small point. Then, add water/people, it might be like stepping on a pebble with a bare foot...but, instead of hurting, it could poke a hole in it. That would not be covered by any warranty. Get good coverage with stuff that will smush into full contact and it would be like setting it on a floor, but now it is level instead of out of whack.

    What you don't want is to put stress on the tub. Hanging it from level ledger boards when it is not supported properly underneath or only supporting the bottom partially would do it.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 01-28-2009 at 03:07 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If you lay a sheet of bisqueen over the mortar, then there is no contact anyway.

    Though I don't put mortar under the Americast either.

  14. #14
    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RUGGED;181558]Do you think anyone has brought a tub back years later, for a refund?

    No.


    That was pretty funny.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  15. #15
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    If you lay a sheet of bisqueen over the mortar, then there is no contact anyway.

    Though I don't put mortar under the Americast either.


    I assume that's plastic sheeting. That's what you're supposed to use for steel tubs or any tub that doesn't recommend mortar base.



    If americast is that heavy/thick plastic tub, I've mortared them before, but with plastic. I believe one I didn't. Whoops! They haven't called me yet, maybe they get a refund? heh

    Anything thin fiberglass.....it's getting mortar base. It's disturbing how many customers have tubs that are spider cracking which is leading to leaks through the floor, which does tons of damage before discovery.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

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