Bathtub Installation Confusion!

stinky-gardenerAugust 4, 2011

As part of a self-designed/directed bath re-do, I am in the process of selecting a new tub in replacement of a HUGE jetted tub that is original to the 1987 house I bought 5 yrs. ago.

The current tub has tiled decking around it, & sits in an alcove that measures 81" wide, 58" deep.

Have been assuming that I'd do another, much smaller drop- in tub, with no jets, and have a new tile deck installed around it.

However, the plumber I interviewed this week said that he prefers to install freestanding tubs, that they offer a more solid installation that he feels beter about. I thought, okay, fine, the tub I've most seriously considered, the Kohler Archer, comes in both types: the drop-in & the freestanding; no sweat.

Upon further consideration, & lots of measuring & mulling over the images in my mind, I am really wondering about how this will look.

Imagine this along with me, if you will, & tell me what you think?

Both the freestanding & drop-in Archer tubs comes in two sizes: 60" x 32" & 72" x 36." Let's say I got the larger one. A space About 6" deep would need to be framed behind the end. Tub would bump into the wall where the faucet is on the other end, then the back wall would require more framing, since the alcove is 58" deep, tub is 36." The framing would be tiled. Length of the front of the tub would be exposed. Would this look really "thrown together?" (Hope my description makes sense!)

I wonder if the decking on two sides would just seem odd. A drop in would have decking on three sides if the tub remains against the wall with the faucet, or I could somewhat center a 60" long drop-in tub, deck all four sides, & do a deck mount faucet rather than wall mount.

What would you do? Is a drop-in tub, btw, harder to install well? What are the pitfalls of drop-ins vs. freestanding from a plumber's perspective?

Also, is a deck-mount tub filler harder to install than a wall mount?

Thanks for any feedback!!

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Not sure, but I think you are talking about alcove tubs as the alternative, which are relatively easier, but what's the point if it's not what you want? Sure, drop-in's can be a pain and more costly to install, but the result is completely different, such as room around the perimeter for accessories, candles, etc. Don't be steered by some vague feeling that it won't be installed right, which happens to be convenient for the plumber. Each has it's method for proper installation.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:32AM
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Thanks very much, Homebound.
So, drop-ins are a pain to install? Would you say more about that?

Also, what is your opinion about how the finished result would look if I did the regular, non-drop-in tub & had framing around two sides? Odd? Okay?


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:55AM
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"Pain" was not a good choice of words. Drop-in relies on solid, level carpentry (deck and frame), so as long as that's good and the drain is put in the right place, there should not be an issue. Somebody has to do the framing properly.

Alcove tubs can be tough sometimes, such as when there's a foam base and the floor underneath isn't perfectly level. Then it can creak when you stand in it unless they foam it and shim it, install the stringer, etc, just right. Lots of trial and error sometimes. Dealing with this comes with the territory.

Free-standing tubs are another thing altogether, since they just rest on the level, finished floor, then get hooked up.

Just choose what you want, then find the right guy to do it. I think you are right about not seeing the apron of an alcove tub. I did a bathroom recently that did use an alcove tub with apron, and that was the biggest regret of the client. But we did not have the depth for a drop in, so it had to be that way. You, on the other hand, presumably have the luxury to do what you want. Go for it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Thanks for the additional information, Homebound. That helps a lot.

This fellow seemed really smart & was so nice, & he did seem like a capable, experienced plumber. He said he was 50 years old, so he should have 20-30 years of experience, I would think. Haven't gotten his pricing in the mail yet, so I'm still waiting to see if I can afford his services.

From what you're telling me, the freestanding tub is less of a wild card; it's fairly predictable, while the drop-in could introduce challenges. Don't know if the Kohler Archer drop-in would require the pesky foam you speak of.

A good plumber is worth his weight in gold imo. I have all these ideas, but need someone to help me bring them to fruition. At least I think I've found a good tile guy. Say a prayer to the plumber God for me!...Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:06PM
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This is the drop-in model (smaller size) of the Kohler Archer tub. The freestanding model is sold at HD too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Archer

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:15PM
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