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Old 01-10-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Hey, I've seen this question covered a few different ways but with no solid answer. I have an alcove bath tub with an apron. I want to make a tub surround with tile, which is easy enough. My problem is I want to frame around the apron to make it look like a drop-in tub. Some have mentioned cutting a straight level line near the top of the apron and building a frame underneath it. I dont know how logical that is, I don't want to disrupt the structural integrity of the tub. Could I take some 1x1's or 2x2's and build a frame on the outside of the tub, cover it with cement board and tile it? I'll try to add a picture of my bathtub. Thanks for any help
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:13 AM   #2
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


I can't really provide a definite answer, but a few things i can say:

how high do you want to build the extra section? You should consider that if the tub is left as is, and effectively a tiled wall is built around it, it requires caulked expansion gaps which will be prone to water leakage if not done very well and maintained.
But more importantly maybe, is the additional tile wall will make it harder to get in and out of the tub. You have the short wall section at the foot of the tub to tie into, if you go flush with the top of it, the wall might be too high; if you go lower, youll have an odd angle at the corner...
Have you considered building a tiled step in front of the apron?

another suggestion is use 2x2s at minimum; preferably 2x4s. you want it to be strong!!

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Old 01-11-2012, 07:08 AM   #3
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


I have not considered a step but I do like that idea. I was thinking of building the wall 2 or 3 inches below the top if the apron. That way once you install the cement board and tile you would have just a little bit of the apron sticking out above, giving the illusion of a drop in tub. My concerns are building the wAll and the tub flexing causing the grout to crack. But if you leave a 1/8 or 1/4 inch gap between the wall and tub and fill it with a flexible caulk, would that solve the problem?
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:34 AM   #4
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Maybe someone more experienced can add more insight, but in my experience of having done a handful of bathroom renos, I think it could work.

I would not leave much of a space, as i believe the tub apron is a bit flexible anyway. Then use the best caulking money can buy Also build in a very slight incline away from the tub on the tiled top, so water runs away from the joint.

As long as the tub is currently solid, I can't think of any other issues other than building the framing strong enough.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Thanks for the insight, good point on the angle. I hate to say it but the tub is mostly for looks anyways. I can count on one hand how many times we've used it but I still want it done right for future homeowners.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:21 AM   #6
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Adding that wall would be a sure way to have water get in between the apron and the tile, taking out the sub floor.
It looks fine the way it is, not worth the time and money to do this.
Drop in tubs are very prone to water leaks.
Grout is never used where the tile makes a turn or meets a differant material. Caulking is used instead.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:48 PM   #7
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


First of all, I assume it is a tub only (no shower) so water issues will minimal as compared to a shower. I'd be more concerned about flex.

As far as appearance goes, I'm with joe on this one.
I just don't see it looking like a drop in since it doesn't tie in with any other planes. I picture it as a weird little wall for no apparent reason.

Have you taken a straight edge to the apron. If it is curved or bowed out at all, you will have to be meticulous on these cuts as they will be the most visible.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


I haven't taken a straight edge to it but I do know towards the top of the apron it does have a detent on both sides to give it some design so yea it would've some meticulous cutting.... I like the earlier suggestion of framing a step in front and tiling over that. I know the apron is straight across near the bottom. I'm just looking to break up the look a little bit. Not a big fan of the big white apron
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:38 PM   #9
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


IMHO it looks fine. No reason to hog it up with something that doesnt belong there.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Thanks for all the help and suggestions. Here's a pic of the final product. I decided to take the safe route and not mess with the apron. I'm very pleases with the outcome.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:09 PM   #11
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Very nice!
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Apron bathtub framed for tile?


Looks great!
I think you made the best choice not messing with the apron. Good work.

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