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Thread: Leveling a Jacuzzi Tru-Level™ Shower Base

  1. #1

    Default Leveling a Jacuzzi Tru-Level™ Shower Base

    Hi,

    I have a 48x48 Jacuzzi Tru-Level™ Shower Base. This evening I tried to install it. I dry fit the base first. Then I shimmed it level, taped the shims to the floor, and marked on the studs the edges of the shower base. I then removed the base. I shoveled about 6 or 7 little piles of mortar, and then tried to set the base on the drain and get it back to where I had made the marks on the studs. I could not.

    The shower base has about 9 pieces of 4" foam squares on the bottom. As you might imagine, when you try to press this down into place, it doesn't penetrate the mortar the same way that a Vikrell tub with plastic ribs does. I could not get it pressed back down to the shims, and thus I could not level it.

    Luckily, I had installed a sheet of plastic underneath the mortar, so it was easy to remove it and try again later.

    Does anyone have a procedure or trick to leveling these shower bases? Thinner mortar? The instructions explicitly describe using mortar when installing it. They recommend spreading a completely even layer, though, not using the "little piles" method.

    Tru-Level™ self-leveling base system offers superior structural integrity and easy installation

    http://www.jacuzzi.com/baths/pdf/SHOWERBASES.PDF

    If the subfloor is level, no other preparation is necessary. You can proceed to install the base.

    Last edited by Terry; 03-02-2011 at 11:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What mortar mix did you use? A rich sand mix has some smush to it...a lean one, used for building a shower pan is more like beach sand, and doesn't.
    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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    Regular, plain Lowes mortar mix - the kind used with brick.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    You would at least need ridges. I still go by the small piles that allow squishing out and down to conform.
    I doubt that anyone at Jacuzzi has ever installed one of these using a "completely even layer"
    That would only work if you had a totally flat surface on the bottom of the pan.

    However looking at their instructions, I note that if your floor is flat and level, then nothing needs to be done.
    The mortar is only needed if the floor is out of level, or not flat.
    Last edited by Terry; 03-02-2011 at 11:42 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Terry. Of course, my floor is not level. I tried again with the mortar, this time with smaller piles and more water but still no go. It seems like the mortar doesnt want to be less than 1/8 thick beneath the foam legs. This is making it impossible to level it, since i cannot squish it down far enough in some spots. Sure, i could order some structolite plaster, which is more squishy, but i think the better idea right now is to stick with the mortar and cut off those damn foam legs!!!

    Cutting the legs will allow for a more solid base, and more importantly, one which i can level. In fact i may be able to get away with not having a 1/2 gap at the threshold since cutting the foam will drop the base by 1/2".

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Normally a base with "pads" under it would sit directly onto the floor with the pads in contact with the floor. ANYTHING you use under them has to be thin enough so it can "squish" to "zero" thickness, which borders on the impossible with any granular mix. You may be a victim of an engineers' theory of how to install it, without them EVER actually doing it to see if it works. That is very common in the plumbing industry.

  7. #7

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    SUCCESS! I ended up cutting off all but 4 legs. I then used a knife to carefully carve them so that the base would sit level when dry fit. Went and bought bag of mortar number THREE, mixed it up, and 20 minutes later im done and its level in every direction! Base was much much much easier to set with just 4 legs instead of 10.

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