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greghamilton 06-17-2013 09:35 PM

Tub/Shower Combo
What is everyone's thoughts on a tub/shower combo? I am looking at the Kohler Sterling Accord 36" wide tub with an above floor drain. Reason is, I just wrecked out the old tub and shower and there was a bunch of water damage behind and underneath the shower. I just want to try to eliminate as many maintenance requirements going forward.

joecaption 06-17-2013 10:14 PM

Tub and shower combo is done in about 90% of homes.
If there was water damage more then likly there was a leak that no one fixed or someone installed it with drywall behind it.
Done right it should last several life times.

greghamilton 06-17-2013 10:55 PM

The one I wrecked out was a seperate shower and bath tub. The shower leaked. I think it was leaking through the grout and then overflowing the shower pan. It was about 28 years old so I just wrecked out both of them.

How hard is it to install a bath tub. I am not a plumber, but I do have some framing experience and other various handy man type qualities. I just have never under taken a major plumbing job. I have pulled and reinstalled toilets, repaired toilets, fixed leaks under sinks, etc. Just nothing like what it looks like I'm going to have to do here, did down and find where the two drains meet up for the old bath and old shower and somehow cap off the old bath drain and hopefully make it where I can run a flexible drain line from the new shower to the old shower drain. Just eye balling it, it looks like the old drain is about 8" away from where the new one needs to be.

oh'mike 06-18-2013 05:34 AM

Sorry---no flexible lines are possible.

The P-trap must be directly below the drain----so you will need to open up the floor and move the drain----do not offset the drain---the first time the drain clogs up you will be in trouble---

greghamilton 06-18-2013 02:40 PM

That's too bad about no flexible lines. Do you mind taking a look at these pictures of what I am working with?

I do not see what I would think of as a P-trap in any of them, unless the P-trap is under the concrete somehow.

So basically, it sounds like I need to make that 1 foot diameter dirt hole into a 4 foot diameter hole, cap off the old tub drain where I'm guessing it would tie into the old shower drain several feet down, and then extend the shower drain laterally until it is directly underneath where the bath tub would be?

Also, from looking at the bath tub, there do not appear to be any access ports for access to the drain lines. We are considering a Sterling Accord tub/shower combo as in this link:

How in the world do you gain access to underneath the tub? Do you have to wreck out a wall and go in from the backside?

oh'mike 06-18-2013 03:22 PM

Actually the drain plumbing is not very deep under the slab---the P-trap is right under the old pipe that comes up.

Rent an electric jack hammer (about $65--) and open up the slab--dif another few inches and you will uncover the drain and p-trap-----when you get to that point come back on --one of us will walk you through the process---

having access from behind the tub is ideal--but not absolutely necessary--the tub drain and it parts can be set before the tub--then hooked in when the tub is in place.

I looked at your pictures--be careful with the jack hammer---you have water lines under the slab---

greghamilton 06-18-2013 06:29 PM

Thanks for the info. So, are you saying the P-trap is under the concrete? Also, I guess a big sledge hammer and chisels would be out of the question?

wkearney99 06-18-2013 07:33 PM

The hardest part of doing the plumbing for a tub shower is making sure the fixtures all line up. There's really something to be said for paying a plumber to do this. It's the kind of thing that when you do it all the time then it's easy.

There's no reason you couldn't do all the rest yourself. The old setup probably leaked because the builder or sub didn't spend any more than bare minimum on it. Looked like tile put onto drywall and that pretty much guarantees later water problems.

These days there's a lot of good materials out now that make it pretty foolproof. Redguard, Hydroban and other waterproof membrane materials can make a very waterproof install.

Any particular reason you're considering the tub surround style? Instead of tile?

Be aware that a raised tub also raises the height of it above the the floor. This means a bit of a step-up to get in, and a step-down getting out. Not a big deal but something you notice. Since you're doing a total gut here you might as well just go for one with the drain in the floor.

greghamilton 06-20-2013 12:30 AM

Yeah, I'm with you on the plumber part. I'm thinking about paying a plumber to install the tub and then me taking over from there. I have done some tile work and lots of grouting when I regrouted the master bath tub surround and shower. The more I think about it, I think the tub/shower combos look kind of cheap. I don't know why they even call it a tub/shower combo since there are no fixtures included in the deal or shower head, etc. Plus, I'm pretty tall and I would want tile to go up above the surround on one of those tub/shower combos to protect the walls anyway. I think I will pay a plumber to install the bath and basically de-activate the old tub drain and then move the old shower drain over so it lines up with the new tub drain. I had not thought about what you said about the above floor drain if that is what you were talking about. I definitely would prefer less of a step up to get over the apron. Do you have any suggestions on the best way to go about picking a good plumber? Any ideas on what would be a good price for a tub install that includes eliminating one drain, moving another, and moving the old shower lines so they line up with the new tub? I will probably de-activate the old tub water lines since I have done copper soldering before and actually enjoy it, although caps are the hardest since they will have water in them. Also, I was looking at tubs. I noticed there is a Bootz porcelain enameled steel tub that weighs less than 100 lbs and is pretty cheap around $150-$200. Any thoughts on these. Thanks.

oh'mike 06-20-2013 04:45 AM

Those are kind of tinny sounding and are damaged easily if abused---
I like cast iron,but they are a lot more money---

greghamilton 06-20-2013 04:17 PM

Yeah, I like the thought of cast iron too except for the weight. We have a one-story house though and I would not expect to move it more than once hopefully. I probably will go with a Kohler cast iron tub, not above ground drain if they make them, so the step over will be minimized.

Your thoughts on picking out a plumber? Angie's list, etc. Guidelines on what to expect in terms of cost, how I will know if I'm getting a reasonable quote? I will be careful to request a quote for bath tub install rather than bathroom remodel. I would expect there to be one less zero on the end of the final number that way hopefully.

oh'mike 06-20-2013 08:09 PM

Most plumbers will provide the tub---so ask before you buy one.

Best place to look for a plumber is your friends and neighbors---see who they have used---

Installing a cast iron tub is not bad to do yourself (with a helper) It's been a few years since I could get one in by myself---but I have done just that many times.

wkearney99 06-21-2013 06:53 AM

The bootzcast tubs are ok. We put one in the basement bath of our new house. Mainly because I wanted at least one tub that was going to not be an issue for washing a dog, sporting equipment and the like. Versus risks of damage to an acrylic one, it's a reasonable choice. Now, for a bath I'd be using everyday I might be inclined to shop up-market a little.

I concur with Mike regarding involving the plumber in the selection. Because if there's anything wrong with the tub the plumber should be able to handle it. We had a brand new Kohler acrylic tub come damaged and the plumber handled getting it replaced. This being a plumbing company with a warehouse for accepting deliveries and trucks to get them to us, so take that into consideration.

I'm no plumber but there's something about leaving drains 'decommissioned' that bothers me. I really don't like to have things dead-ended when it comes to plumbing. You never know what sort of nonsense is going to develop over time. Stubbing off a drain just seems like an invitation to disaster for clogs and such in the future. Just as leaving capped off lines inside walls turns into a mess when someone later tries to attach something to them (like pictures or shelving systems).

greghamilton 06-21-2013 07:33 AM


350 lbs by yourself. Dad gum! That's pretty good. Sounds like a good way to get a hernea.

Seriously, I'm leaning towards doing this whole thing myself. I've already got my family conditioned to having only one bathroom since I thought this shower had a leak a long time ago so I just removed all the knobs for a significant period of time. Didn't leak at all during that time. This time, got the old sledge out and raked the bath and shower down to bare concrete. It sure isn't going to leak now.

I'm kind of leaning towards your first bit of advice, rent a jack hammer, dig out the hole some more and post what I find in hopes of more good advice.


On the drains, I'm with you. If these drains really aren't that far down below the slab, I might consider what is involved in basically wrecking out both drains and then extending just one drain to where I need it. How flexible is the drain once it comes up through the floor? Does it have to be perfect or can it move back and forth a 1/2" or so? On the supply lines, I was going to try to cap them about 2" above the slab, but looking at it, if I go with a non-above-the-floor drain tub, then I'm assuming the bottom of the tub would basically be resting on the concrete and the water supply lines for the old bath that I need to de-commission would be right in the middle of the bath tub, so I'm thinking I need to cap them under the concrete, but that sounds crazy even saying that. Any ideas on that?

wkearney99 06-21-2013 08:29 AM

I wouldn't assume anything is 'flexible' when it comes to wet plumbing. Most of the time when a drain is set straight into concrete it was done so after it was connected to the tub during a dry fit. Or in a tract home where there's little variation.

From the looks of it the supply lines are coming from the wall and then were buried into the concrete using copper tubing, correct? So why not just continue the lines through the wall and bring them out there you need them for the new location? I gather they didn't do it this way before due to the position of the vent line? Perhaps now's the time to step back and re-think how this room is laid out and adjust the plan to best fit the right way to do it?

You call this the guest bath and you're looking to remove the previous separate tub and shower setup and replace it with a single tub with a shower setup. No problem there. But if you're doing this then why not move the tub over to where the shower base used to rest? Then you'd have your water lines much closer. And since you have to wreck out the drain regardless this would be an easy win. Break out both old drains, remove the old tubing while you're in there (or most of it) and then position the new tub drain accordingly. Your water supply lines are right there and you wouldn't have to move the vent stack. You'd only be breaking out the floor under it and that's pretty easy to repair with concrete.

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