Measuring To Replace Tub And Surround In An Alcove - Kitchen & Bath Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:07 AM   #1
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measuring to replace tub and surround in an alcove


I have a 47 year old house and a smallish, cast-iron tub in the main bath. I'd like to replace it with a nicer, fiberglass soaker tub. We're planning on selling in a year or two, so want to DIY the project if possible. We're kind of handy, but definitely beginners. We did replace our shower in our master bath with a 3-piece fiberglass unit that nails to the studs and it turned out fine.

Anyway, the question starts with the measurements. The alcove for the tub measures 57 3/4 inches long and 31 3/4 deep, inside measurements - that is to say from the interior of the existing surround. The depth is determined by a corner, that's the absolute maximum.

So...the tub I'm looking at says it's 60 x 32. Is that the rough opening size? Is it possible to fit that in this spot? One end of the alcove is the back side of the hallway linen closet, not structural wall. Do you think it might be possible to shave down those 2x4's or even replace them with 2x2's...to give me more length for the tub? The depth has me concerned because the surround and tub will have to end right at the corner of the alcove and I'm not 100% how that will look. Hating this. I'd really like to have a bigger tub there.

Thoughts?

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Last edited by Lilion; 07-05-2015 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:37 AM   #2
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Chance are very good that your existing surround is installed over drywall, plaster and possibly failed tile. 47 years ago the standard RO size was 60". You are never going to know what you have until you measure between 2 studs; anything else is just an opinion.

There are even older tubs out there where the size varies.

Modern tubs are usually 1/4 - 1/2" less than the RO size expressed.

I recall at least one install where I was forced to remove a wee bit of stud face. Doing that for one with a surround would be a big deal.

You have to read the detailed spec sheet for the product you are considering. Some depth measurements include the flange and some don't. The flange is on the top and both ends of the tub.

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Last edited by Colbyt; 07-05-2015 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thank you for your reply Colby. I know the surround is the glue-up type, because my husband installed it. It was his first ever DIY and it's not a good job; definitely that has to be replaced even if we don't replace the tub. But having seen a soaker tub at Menards for $250 on sale, I'm really wanting to replace the tub if possible. I think the existing tub is cast-iron. It is possible that it's older than the house...apparently the contractor who build the place used what was on hand at times, we just replaced a furnace that was about substantially oversized for the house. (But it lasted 47 years. )

If I understand you, we could put up a nail-to-the-walls surround even if we have to shave down the studs a bit? The alcove is the backs of closets on two sides, actually, the master bedroom and the linen closet, so we wouldn't affect anything structural if that's the case.

I'll try looking the tub we're looking at up on-line and seeing if they have the specs. Thanks!
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilion View Post

If I understand you, we could put up a nail-to-the-walls surround even if we have to shave down the studs a bit? The alcove is the backs of closets on two sides, actually, the master bedroom and the linen closet, so we wouldn't affect anything structural if that's the case.
Pretty much what I said, but don't skim over the "somewhat difficult" part. Shaving 1/4" to make it fit is not that bad, cutting off an inch of an installed studs can be a real challenge.

Who know, maybe you will discover what I just did on a 1963 house. They made the RO a little big so one end had a double layer of drywall floor to ceiling.

Keep in mind that when the home was built a couple of guys had to wrestle that 3-400 pound tub into place. I'm betting they left plenty of room and then shimmed the extra.

If it were me and I knew I had to do something pretty soon, I would cut a couple of exploration holes above the surround on each end so I could measure stud to stud. That does not guarantee that the bottom will be exactly the same as the top but it will be a real good indication. Worst case you have to patch the holes and paint the room.
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post

If it were me and I knew I had to do something pretty soon, I would cut a couple of exploration holes above the surround on each end so I could measure stud to stud. That does not guarantee that the bottom will be exactly the same as the top but it will be a real good indication. Worst case you have to patch the holes and paint the room.
What a great idea. That never even occurred to me. We practically never use the shower anyway and will be ripping it out and tiling if we can't remove the tub, so that's what we'll do! Thanks!
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