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Old 11-23-2016, 09:32 AM   #1
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Bathtub Material


Hi. I'm doing a complete gut/remodel of a 1927 bathroom. Currently have a 2 wall cast iron tub, but will be putting in 3rd wall and replacing with a 3 wall, alcove tub.

I ordered and just received the Kohler Archer tub. Here's what I bought:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/KOHLER-Arch...0-in/999991088

However, I opened up the package and realized the tub is broken, so it is being returned. Considering the price I paid for the tub, I was disappointed with the construction. The apron seems flimsy and is held in place by two pieces of OSB that are screwed into the bottom of the tub. The enameled steel tub I installed at my old house seemed much more rigid.

So, now I'm questioning if I should stay with a more expensive acrylic tub or move over to enameled steel. Enameled steel tubs in general seem less expensive, which makes me question if it is better. Does anyone have an opinion on which is better, Enameled Steel or Acrylic tubs? I do not want to handle the weight of a cast iron tub, unless someone is very convincing. Also, any good tub suggestions? I don't see this being used for many relaxing baths, more for showers and bathing kids, so space inside is more important than comfort.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Re: Bathtub Material


I know this about those acrylic / fiberglass tubs.

They are weak, and will develop a major crack along the bottom if there is some weight put on them.

I had one that was just supported by Styrofoam strips underneath, and in a few years the Styrofoam deteriorated enough that my 300 pound self made a long crack in the thing while showering.

You may not be big enough to weigh this much, or if more than 1 showers together the weight can add up.

Only you know for sure what occurs in your shower (and I don't want to know), So I would go for the Cast Iron one, if I were rebuilding my bathroom.


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Old 11-23-2016, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Bathtub Material


Thanks Ed,

For what it's worth, I do plan on setting the tub into a mortar bed, regardless of the material. I'm just not sure I want to mess around with a 300+ lb cast iron tub...
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Old 11-24-2016, 03:41 AM   #4
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Re: Bathtub Material


The steel tub is going to draw more heat from the water.
The acrylic is not going to be as friendly when it comes to keeping it clean.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Bathtub Material


Do plan to sell your house in the future? Fiberglass and tin tubs scream cheap to me. As much as cast iron tubs are a PITA, they are the only way to go for longevity. The enamel on tin tubs seems to chip and scratch very easy. Much louder also. Have you thought about replacing the tub with a nice modern step down shower? Do you have room for a soaking tub elsewhere?
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Old 12-01-2016, 07:22 PM   #6
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A new Kohler cast iron tub costs 379 at Lowes and will last a long time and no mortar bed needed. Yes 300 pounds is a lot of weight. My son and I managed ours and it was well worth it You will need to do a tile surround if you go with cast iron though.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:30 AM   #7
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Taking your suggestions into account, I have it narrowed it down to the American Standard "Americast" Princeton tub, which seems pretty solid and gets good reviews, or the Kohler villager, which cast iron. Either way I'll be doing a tile surround. You guys have me leaning toward the kohler though.

I'm still gutting the room so I have a little bit of time, but lowes has both of these models in stock. The tiled walls of the room were in 2" on concrete on metal lath and the floors are a solid 4" of concrete, almost done getting it all out.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:35 AM   #8
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Re: Bathtub Material


Although cast iron is the last word, big box store tub glass finish (even kohler) must be suspect. Thin finish is just as bad as thick bad finish. I like americast as well as heard some good things about well finished steel tubs. I'd suggest more search or if you must use the big box store, use the americast. 10 plus years on americast and when sold, just scrubbed with ajax and looked good as new.
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:56 AM   #9
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Carp,

Yeah, one of the Americast tubs was out of the box and it seemed well built, really solid.

Most of the plumbing supply shops near me require commercial accounts and The big box stores are really close, so I go with them for convenience.
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