Replace bath tub with jetted tub?

garrai81August 9, 2013

We are interested in replacing our small bath tub with a jetted tub.

(air tub or whirlpool tub)

However, I don't even know where to start on this.

Does anyone know the major brands for this?

Would angie's list be a good place to look for a company to come out and make an estimate?

Thanks for any guidance.

mac

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Sophie Wheeler

What size tub?
Is it a tub/shower combo?
Is there room in your electrical panel for another circuit?
Which end would you think about putting the pump and having an access panel?
Are you on slab or crawlspace foundation?
Will you also be replacing the wall cladding? Flooring? Vanity?
Any DIY skills? Willing to learn any?
What's your budget for the project? 5K? 10K? 15K? 20K?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 7:25PM
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garrai81

- What size tub?
5' x 32", about

- Is it a tub/shower combo?
It is.

- Is there room in your electrical panel for another circuit?
I believe so.

- Which end would you think about putting the pump and having an access panel?
Sorry, I cannot make out the English here.

- Are you on slab or crawlspace foundation?
Crawl.

- Will you also be replacing the wall cladding? Flooring? Vanity?
Not really.

- Any DIY skills? Willing to learn any?
Not for this job. No. Too busy.

- What's your budget for the project? 5K? 10K? 15K? 20K?
3k.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Sophie Wheeler

For a jetted tub used as a shower, it has to have an integral tile flange. That allows the wall cladding to overhang and any water that hits the wall to not go behind your walls. There aren't that many in that size that are inexpensive. It will need a specialized drain, and, if you want to spend any time in the tub, a supplemental heater so the water doesn't cool off so fast.

Since it's a tub/shower, the wall cladding will need to be redone to be waterproof into the tub. It's possible, if the build is recent, and it was done with the proper vapor barrier behind it, that only one row of the tile would need to be pulled in order to replace the tub. But, I wouldn't count on that. I'd count on having to replace all of the wall cladding in the alcove. That can be as cheap as a plastic surround for around $100 or cheap tile with the proper vapor barrier for probably $150 or so. The first is the easiest and the least chance of leaking. The second will read as more upscale, but you have to be sure your contractor understands about the vapor barrier and correct materials to use to tile this (NOT mastic.)

And since you have that torn out, it would be foolish to try to keep your current control valves for the bath unless they are also very new. New safety standards are in place for anti scald mechanisms. So, you will need a new shower/bath faucet and valve.

Then you will need the electrical line run from the panel to the location for the whirlpool pump and supplemental heater. That location is usually opposite the drain side of the tub. You will need to be able to site an access panel that is removable to be able to get to the electrical innards here. That can be from an adjacent room, or from a hidden panel on the tub itself.

All in all, you might be able to get all of the needed materials for 2-3K if you shop the box stores carefully and find some bargains. The danger to that is that if you are inexperienced, you don't know if you're buying quality or crap. They sell both. And that's one reason that it would be simpler to let the pro pick the products after you tell him the features that you want.

Then you've got to pay the contractor labor to install all of that. The electrician's price will depend on how difficult it will be to access the panel and run the wire to the location. For that, it's a really good thing you are on a crawlspace! That makes it cheaper for both the electrician and the plumber.

On the whole, I'd expect your project to cost between 5-7K, depending on location, and if you have no DIY skills to bring to the table and have to hire professionals for the whole job. And be sure that you hire someone that is licensed and insured to be in your home, and will pull the proper permits to get the job inspected with your code office. Some handyman guy isn't licensed to do electrical of that nature, and while he might be able to do the demo and get the tub in place and glue on the plastic surround, it's unlikely that he'll have the right insurance to deal with a large job like that, and thus probably wont' want to pull permits and be inspected. They are usually limited to smaller jobs like simple fixture replacements like a faucet or light. Which this isn't.

Just remember, you are doing a project that combines electricity and water. You really have to know what you're doing here! A small General Contractor should be able to do the complete job, and also carry the needed papers. And he should have no problem with the code guys coming in to inspect his work either. If he does, then he's not the right person for the job.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 11:22AM
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garrai81

Thanks for the comments.

Based on cost, I think I will pass on the jetted tub.

Someone else suggested that instead I look into a steam shower. May I assume that would also be around 5 k?

Thanks again.

mac

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 7:36AM
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Sophie Wheeler

More like 6-10 depending on location. It's even more involved as it has to be vapor proof 360 degrees with a more expensive topical waterproofing system. You might want to bone up on some DIY skills. Or, work some overtime. Owning a home is about time or money. You either have one or the other to contribute to the home's maintenance and upkeep.---and eventually improvement.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:02AM
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