Plan To Install New Fiberglass Tub; Questions About Process For Mortar Underneath - Kitchen & Bath Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 05-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #1
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Plan to install new fiberglass tub; questions about process for mortar underneath

(Actually it's Veritek, a "natural gloss composite", whatever that means - but not steel or cast iron!)
I've chosen a tub that requires a mortar bed underneath.
It seems like a fairly straightforward thing but I thought I'd get some helpful hints from anyone who wants to chime in.

First, I've seen some suggestions to put plastic over the mortar before setting the tub in it. The manufacturer does not suggest this (but does not forbid it). It seems this would help with uninstall down the road, and should not compromise the support to the tub the mortar is supposed to provide. Any comments?

Can someone tell me exactly which Quikrete product is used for this purpose? The instructions say use a "fast drying cement". I know there are some pretty fast-drying ones (and am nervous I won't be fast enough, although I plan to get someone to help); is there a "slightly less-fast product" which would work? Does mixing cement with cold water help to slow down the setting time?

Is the concrete mortar supposed to be mixed really dry? How do you keep it from spreading beyond where you want it to be?

I'm, installing the Swanstone BT-3060R tub. It has special instructions for raising the tub (on 1x4s or 2x4s) for "sound deadening or fireproofing" purposes. I think I may have to use this approach because I believe my current bathtub is similarly raised to avoid having the drain (at least right under the tub) drop into the crawl space.

Someone in a previous thread suggested placing "piles of mortar" under the tub, rather than spreading it out before placing the tub? I'm worried that I may not get enough support under the tub using the "piles" method if it doesn't spread out to some area. What do others do? I'm assuming ideally, all the areas under the tub floor should be in contact with mortar?

Once you drop in the tub (with plastic between the mortar & tub?), then do you jump in the tub & force it down? Then do check again that it's level: It's a basic tub - 5 feet long & 30 inches wide. I know before laying down the mortar I want to be sure the plumbing connections are fine & install the clips, making sure the tub will be level. The rest of my floor was pretty level so I'm not expecting problems under the tub - instructions say to make sure all 1x4s (or 2x4s - since I'm raising it) are in solid contact with floor & to use shims if not, so I'll do that if necessary

Thanks! Any other helpful hints based on experience are welcome!

Last edited by lazzlazz; 05-02-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
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The plastic idea isn't necessary and doesn't accomplish much but it also wouldn't hurt anything.
The product you want to use is "SAND MIX", all brands have sand mix.

You don't want to mix it dry. It should easily pile with little slump but shouldn't be mixed to the dry side. You want it to squish and form itself to the tub bottom when the tub is placed. Don't get in the tub after you position it - wait twenty-four hours or more.

One long pile down the middle is the way to do it. You should then be able to shake the tub into place and have it settle under its own weight with a little encouragement. DON'T JUMP IN THE TUB, that would screw up everything.
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