Whirlpool bath--hardware compatible?

Old 11-10-00, 04:22 PM
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For want of a nail the shoe was lost...I'm just finding out how one tiny repair can lead to potentially huge changes. Tiles started coming loose and underneath wooden subfloor obviously rotted. Why? Bath tiles were loose and water went down behind the tile, down side of tub, onto floor, etc.

I'm going to rip up all the floor tile (a fellow at a local tile/carpet place said tile should never be installed over wooden subfloor so should add Durrock (Spelling?)) and put in new. But presumably the floor under the tub is also rotten, so the tub should come out and the area underneath repaired along with the rest of the bathroom, right? (That's question #1)

In the mean time, a plumber who was doing some other work had to remove some of the loose tile around the tub, and two pieces dropped and broke. Our place is 18 years old, so I will likely not be able to replace the tile. Rather than re-tile, I'd prefer to use a one-piece tub surround (no grout, no mildew, easier cleaning), but SINCE I HAVE TO MOVE THE TUB ANYHOW (RIGHT?--Question #2)), I thought I'd like to install a generic "Jacuzzi". However--at Home Depot the hardware shown for the drain for whirlpool baths, was all metal. Our plumbing is white PVC. Is it possible to connect the two, or will I not be able to add a whirlpool because PVC and metal would not be compatible? (Question #3).

While you're answering questions, how can I tell if a tub surround is good quality, not junk?

I'm planning to let a professional plumber handle these changes, but I really need more technical information before I deal with him. Plumbers are SO expensive!

P.S. Is there any particular brand of whirlpool bath that I should look at? Name brands might run $2,000.00 but I've seen some versions for not much over $500.00. I want to purchase a unit that will have a long life span. I really appreciate your input on this. Thanks very much in advance! MM
Old 11-10-00, 06:28 PM
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First, it MIGHT be that there is some dry rot or water damage under your existing tub, or it could be that there isn't. And IF there is some, it is possible that it may be repairable without having to remove the tub. Without actually crawling under your house, nobody can say for sure. That can be done once the floor in front of the tub is removed. Putting a tile floor on Durarock, Wonderboard (same stuff, different brand), or some other brand of cement backer board is an excellent idea.

If you decide to go to the "Jacuzzi" or some whirlpool tub, joining the metal (I assume brass) drain to your existing PVC is not a problem. It's done all the time. It's a simple slip-joint connection, and possibly needs a thread adapter.

'Price' is about the best guide as to the quality of a fiberglass or plastic tub surround. NOT the price the plumber charges you, but the price HE pays for it. Might be to your advantage to do some price shopping on your own (Home Depot, plumbing supply wholesalers and retailers, etc.) and find what you like. Remember, whatever the plumber puts in, YOU have to live with it, HE doesn't!!

As far as how much you pay for the whirlpool tub -- it's a big investment, and installation will be another big investment. Personally, I would stay away from the cheap units. Compare them by features AND warranties, especially on the finish of the tub, the pump(s), and the jets. These are the 3 items that will be taking the most abuse.

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