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Old 11-19-2005, 05:56 PM   #1
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Concrete under the tub?

Hi all,

Just looking for a little advice. We are remodeling our downstairs (lower level of our tri-level) bath. It is a small room and on a slab. My wife picked up a clawfoot tub at a sale and wants to put it down there. Our puppy seemed to dislike the wall paper and pulled much of it off and got into the dry wall too. This accelerated our plans a little.

Anyway, our house was build in the early 60's. We have removed the old ceramic tiles and the sink. Our next step was removing the tub and surround. This is where we got hit with reality.
  • The surround was installed directly to studs (no greenboard or wall)
  • The main drain (vent?) from the upper level bath comes down in the middle of a divider wall, directly behind the faucet and plumbing for the lower level.
  • The plumbing for the lower level appears to come from the upper level.
  • In the wall between kitchen (upper level) and the bath is a junction box that has some VERY worn looking wire. It looks like the 220V for the stove.
  • But, the real shocker, the thing that threw me was that when we got to the and got the drain off and got it moved, we found there was no FLOOR beneath it. There is gravel, but the fiberglass tub is not even resting on it. What were they thinking? I thought at first it might be for a drain or something, but there is no drain except the tub itself.
So, has anyone else come across this? How do you fix something like this? :confused:

Thanks for any input.




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Old 11-19-2005, 06:52 PM   #2
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Built in the early '60's, so here are my best guesses about what you describe:
1. A fiberglas tub and surround would normally be attached directly to the studs. Greenboard would only be necessary for a tile surround, if that's what you're going to replace the fiberglas surround or entire wall with.
2. You don't say what size pipe that is, but if it's not the main 3" or 4" drain/waste/vent stack and only 1.5-2", it is the vent for the lower level tub drain and right where it should be. All toilets drain into the main stack or main drain line, and everything else is, too, although with smaller lines.
3. The supply lines usually would be run the most economical and direct route from the main cold and hot sources. Directly down from the level above must be it, in this case.
4. If that's what it is, you might want to consider re-wiring that while you have the wall open. No junction box should be enclosed inside a wall, however. Have a solid length of new wiring run from the panel to the stove.
5. They probably left it like that in order to plumb the drain in the gravel to the specific tub or shower that was to be selected later. The fiberglas tub bottom should have been supported by mortar or compacted gravel under it, but if it ever leaked, they would never know it. May have been why they did it.
In any case, you can change the clawfoot plumbing as necessary much easier with the gravel, than having to bust out concrete.
After you've done the plumbing for the new clawfoot, making any adjustments and changes as necessary, then you can remove gravel and backfill it with 4" concrete level with the rest of the slab. If you're going to replace the tile, there should be no problem.
I assume that you're doing this work with the proper local Building Inspection Department permits and inspections. (Everything must be to local code.) If you're not, please stop what you're doing and get them involved immediately. If you ever want to sell that home, you will need the proper records, or you may be forced to tear everything out and re-do it later.
With what you've described, I think that this all makes your remodeling job a little easier, if nothing else.
Good Luck!


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