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tns1 03-06-2011 10:12 AM

new 'no caulk' shower tub
Looking to replace an old one-piece fiberglass shower tub. There isn't any way to put a one-piece back in without tearing out walls, so I have to cut the old one up in pieces and get a multi-piece replacement. The Sterling-vikrell product looks like a good candidate. It includes the tub and 3 wall pieces that snap together and advertised as 'no caulk'.

Can you really get away without using caulk on these? It sounds great, but I worry that moisture in those deep seams would tend to grow mold. There would be no way to clean or even see in there.

These units have what looks like large, thick, ugly nailing flanges on the front vertical edges of the wall pieces. How are you supposed to hide this? Even without fasteners it looks bad.

The pipes are epoxy-lined. When I build the new valve should I sweat it all together and make the house connections with that copper pipe epoxy stuff, or what?

Just Bill 03-07-2011 06:20 AM

They are not new, I have used them for at least 10 yrs. I like them. As for one piece units, they are installed and then the house is built around them. VERY difficult to impossible to istall one as a remodel job.

JCarsten 03-07-2011 11:32 AM

Install the shower with no drywall behind this flange and screw tub directly to studs. Then cover nailing flange with drywall mud. Finish with tile or paint.

tns1 06-01-2011 12:33 AM

Finally getting around to this. Since the pipes have epoxy I plan on using a couple of shark bite couplers to join my soldered up shower tree to the 1/2" house pipes.

I have test fit the Sterling tub and wall pieces, and things look good. I am puzzled by the mention of a felt pad under the tub. What is this material and what is its purpose? I have placed a 1/4" sheet of durock fiberboard on top of the existing plywood to provide a completely flat and level surface for the tub feet. On top of this I planned on placing some 40mil pvc shower liner as a barrier and cushion. I can change this if there is a good reason to.

tns1 06-02-2011 09:22 PM

I have since read that these tubs can make cracking or squeaking noises if not set in a mortar bed. Sterling recommended a 1" mortar bed covered with landscape cloth to allow later tub removal if needed.

tns1 06-06-2011 12:40 AM

This Vikrell material is some kind of hard plastic with 'kitty hair' fiberglass pieces blown into the mold. It is not as strong as either fiberglass cloth or fiberglass mat products. The first wall surround I took home had a 4" crack in one corner - one of the thickest area of the mold. The material is brittle and you must be very careful how you handle it. I snapped off a couple of (non-visible) pieces just trying to test fit the sections. Also I noted three of four areas where air pockets left small voids.

There are 4 stainless clips that retain the wall pieces to the tub. I recommend removing these first thing. They do not add any structural integrity to the assembled unit and only prevent you from dis-assembling the wall pieces - something you will want to do a few times during fitting. I suspect they are present to meet some earthquake code, but they are a nuisance.

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