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Thread: Installing a Kohler Villager Cast Iron Tub

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member tbb2's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how I got into this line of posts since I started a new thread but they seem to answer the question.

    I have the impression cast iron is brittle. How brittle it is I am clueless.
    I imagine the tub could get dropped a few inches in the described installations to get it to set on the rear ledger or in pulling out the installation 2x4 on the bottom. This small drop would not break it would it - or do I need to rope it or lever it down?

    Has anyone done this installation on top of grouted down DITRA waterproofing and slip sheet - and not destroyed the grout and sheet?

    For that matter is there a better way to water proof the floor under tiles and tub in a bathroom other than DITRA?

  2. #17
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I've never heard of anyone breaking a cast iron tub buy installing or moving them. I have removed old tubs by smashing them with a sledge hammer. I don't know why you would water proof under a cast tub. They have a drain that goes through the floor, normally I cut an 8" x 12" hole for the waste and overflow.

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Default correct way to level cast iron tub

    I'm in the process of installing a cast iron tub with a friend. He and the plumber set it on wood shims to level it before hooking up the drain. It is on a new 3/4" plywood floor that has been reinforced to take the weight. No problem there.

    My concern is that wood shims in 4 places along the edge won't support the weight long-term and will crush down, creating a crack between the tub and soon-to-be-installed tile.

    What is the correct way to install the tub, or is this acceptable?

  4. #19
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    They should have installed a "ledger" board under the rear edge of the tub to support it. That is the ONLY support needed, and it is NECESSARY to keep the tub and tile together in case of wall movement.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #20
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Did he shim under the front apron to level that? Or under the back ledger?

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Did he shim under the front apron to level that? Or under the back ledger?
    Under the front apron. I'm pretty sure he screwed a ledger into the wall, but I wasn't there so I will confirm

  7. #22
    DIY Member BillTheEngineer's Avatar
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    Read the MFG instructions for leveling, The last Kohler CI tub I did said to not shim under the front skirt or apron, voids the warranty. CI tubs are stiff but usually start at the 300 lbs mark, add 175s lb for a person and 350 lbs for the water and that is a lot to put on the skirt and/or apron. There are four feet on the bottom of the tub, and that is where the shimming should be. I use metal shims, no compression and they spread out the load better. Simpson Strong Tie has a few flat products that are galvanized and work well and are cheap and at you lumber yard or big box store. The tub generally should not rest on the front skirt, there is a good chance of chipping the porcelain. Unless you are putting in a vinyl floor the tile will will hide any gap between the floor and front skirt.

  8. #23
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillTheEngineer View Post
    Read the MFG instructions for leveling, The last Kohler CI tub I did said to not shim under the front skirt or apron, voids the warranty. CI tubs are stiff but usually start at the 300 lbs mark, add 175s lb for a person and 350 lbs for the water and that is a lot to put on the skirt and/or apron. There are four feet on the bottom of the tub, and that is where the shimming should be. I use metal shims, no compression and they spread out the load better. Simpson Strong Tie has a few flat products that are galvanized and work well and are cheap and at you lumber yard or big box store. The tub generally should not rest on the front skirt, there is a good chance of chipping the porcelain. Unless you are putting in a vinyl floor the tile will will hide any gap between the floor and front skirt.
    Been setting cast iron tubs on ledger strips and there aprons for 50 years.

    John

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillTheEngineer View Post
    Read the MFG instructions for leveling, The last Kohler CI tub I did said to not shim under the front skirt or apron, voids the warranty. CI tubs are stiff but usually start at the 300 lbs mark, add 175s lb for a person and 350 lbs for the water and that is a lot to put on the skirt and/or apron. There are four feet on the bottom of the tub, and that is where the shimming should be. I use metal shims, no compression and they spread out the load better. Simpson Strong Tie has a few flat products that are galvanized and work well and are cheap and at you lumber yard or big box store. The tub generally should not rest on the front skirt, there is a good chance of chipping the porcelain. Unless you are putting in a vinyl floor the tile will will hide any gap between the floor and front skirt.
    I'm sure you are correct. I have called the plumber back to do the job properly before laying tile all around this beast. Unfortunately, he seemed a little unsure how to maneuver the shims into place under the Heavy Beast.

    Any suggestions on the best way to get those shims into place under the tub?

  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member lifespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o1 View Post
    Been setting cast iron tubs on ledger strips and there aprons for 50 years.

    John
    This tub by Toto appears to be strong, well-designed, and does not isntall with a ledger board. Instead, the load is supported at the correct (bottom surface) location with four feet cast into the bottom of the tub.

  11. #26
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Kohler tub also had legs, but we still used a ledger strip.

    John

  12. #27
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    All of the older plumbers have been using the ledger for the back support on cast iron tubs.
    It seems the directions to support under the legs is a CYA statement by the lawyers. They don't install tubs though.
    I would love to have the people that write those things come out to a jobsite sometime. When a tub is dropped into a three wall alcove that has been drywalled in on the back side, it can get very interesting.

    Also, I don't know of any tub installed the way we do, using the ledger board method that doesn't look perfect 50 years later.

  13. #28
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    (All of the older plumbers have been using the ledger for the back support on cast iron tubs)
    I guess I must be one of those old plumbers.

    John

  14. #29
    DIY Senior Member jch's Avatar
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    I just installed a Kohler Villager cast iron tub in my bathroom. Followed the advice here and it went smoothly.

    I put a ledger on the back wall to support it at the rim and then have the front apron resting on the plywood subfloor. Because it's cast iron, the tub is not perfectly true (it's got a slight twist to the top surface. So if one end showed level the other end wouldn't.

    I flipped it up on to its apron (on a moving blanket), slid it up to the alcove, then rolled it down onto its feet and the ledger board.

    The main thing is that if you stand on the rails and move around that the tub doesn't budge. Otherwise you'll get leaks at the drain over time -- at least that's what my plumber told me :-)

    Hope this helps,
    ----------
    - John

  15. #30
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Two items regarding replacing a cast iron tub.
    1. If you remove it without busting it into pieces, then you know EXACTLY how to install the new one by just doing the opposite steps.
    2. I have not had assistance in moving or installing cast iron tubs for "decades". IF it is done "smart" instead of "brute force" two men are usually not necessary unless it is for a second floor.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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