Fiberglass bathtub floor repair question

baymeeNovember 26, 2005

We installed a Kohler fiberglass tub/shower one-piece in 1977. There are hairline cracks in the floor and we discovered last night that if the tub is filled, that water goes through the cracks and leaks through the subfloor which is beneath a thin cement pad. Taking a shower has never caused this, I guess because the cement pad under the tub was able to absorb the slight amount of moisture.

Is there a product that could be applied to the tub floor to seal up these minute cracks?

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If there is a boat store in your area, contact them for advice. There are products advertised on the net, but I'd want to talk to an expert first.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Thanks, I thought of that, but I'm not confident that it will work well. Was hoping of another new product that I haven't heard of yet.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:24AM
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I know someone who used a process done by a professional. They drilled holes in the bottom of the tub and pumped in a plastic material that sealed the bottom of the tub completely. It worked well and was done about 8 years ago and still holding. All you see in the tub are small holes, but they are colored almost to the same color as the original fiberglass.

However, if my shower was leaking, I would be inclined to pull it out and replace it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:46AM
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I agree, but I would now have to use a multi-piece shower/tub because it would be impossible to put a one-piece in now. Wondering if a tub will fit through a 30" door???

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 4:49PM
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We had the same problem. I would definitely advise replacing it, but if you need a short-term fix, go to an automotive store and get a fiberglass repair kit (like Bondo), with the fiberglass cloth sheets and hardener.

You'll first have to sand down the tub at the cracks through all the color layers until you get to the bare (brown) fiberglass; make sure you sand at least 3 or 4 inches beyond the cracks, as you will need the extra space to lay down the new fiberglass sheets. (Don't be surprised if you find that the cracks are much larger than you thought, or you find more that you didn't know about!) If you can, I would advise sanding with s power-sander, or at least with something attached to a cordless drill-- I did it the first time by hand, and it took forever.

Next, get rid of ALL the dust from the tub floor (a wet sponge works well), and cut the fiberglass cloth sheet into pieces to fit where you need it. Expect to put down at least 2 layers, or more if you want some extra security. I stagger the sizes so that the bottom-most layer is the smallest and the layers get progressively larger. Just make sure the layers you are putting on do not go beyond the sanded area of the tub floor-- it won't adhere properly to the colored enamel coating.

Next, prepare the liquid hardener as instructed on the box. Wear rubber gloves and make sure the area in which you're working is VERY well-ventilated-- the smell is AWFUL!! Get the cut pieces of fiberglass cloth saturated in the liquid and spread them out over your cracks, making sure to get ALL the air bubbles out from underneath. This will dry pretty quickly (again, read the directions on the box). You can safely do two layers at a time; if you need more, sand in between coats and repeat.

When you are satisfied that the floor has been repaired, you can cover over the ugliness with an enamel tub and shower fiberglass paint (sold at Lowe's or HD). This stuff advertises itself as a repair kit, but it's more geared to fixing walls, not floors. We found it in almond and white-- we ended up having to get both and then we mixed the colors to get the color we needed. Note, this stuff takes FOREVER to dry, at least overnight or longer. Be sure to paint it on with a brush and don't let it "puddle."

When all was said and done, it took a whole weekend (mostly with waiting for drying time) and cost about $50 total in materials. It lasted for the last year we were in that apartment, and you could only notice it if you were specifically looking for it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 3:07PM
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When we remodeling our bathroom, the contractor told me we must have a 2 piece shower because of door openings being too small. Long story short, he cut a one peice near the base and put molding and chalk. Looked ok at first, but then mildew was a problem. Later the floor developed the cracks you are talking about. Looked in yellow pages under fiberglass repair and had a person come out and he took out the molding and fixed the cracks in the floor. Looks like it would have originally. This was done for a reasonable price and has lasted several years.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 3:59PM
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I have seen fiberglass inlays for bathtub floor bottoms advertised on a website called Bathtub Refinishing Referral Network.

The inlay fits on the bathtub floor to repair holes cracks and to support the bathtub floor on fiberglass tubs. The kit says you can install it in an hour and it comes in bone and white colors.

It sort of looks like a bathtub mat but is thicker. They say its almost invisible once installed. It's worth a shot before you spend thousands having a contractor replace your bathtub. Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathtub Refinishing Referral Network

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 5:24AM
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If you are in the tri state area of PA.,DE,NJ. there is a tub/shower repair co. called DNA Repair that has helped me several times. They have always done a great job for me in my apartment buildings. I would contact them with any questions you have. Dalton the owner has been doing these repairs for over 30 years and knows quite a bit about the different manufacturers and types of the bath/shower units.There phone # is 610-696-7715

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:07PM
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