Replacing drop in soaker tub


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Old 05-04-20, 10:54 AM
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Replacing drop in soaker tub

My lovely bride has indicated that she would like either a portable hot tub on the back patio or a jutted tube in the master bath for mothers day. Knowing several people who have portable outdoor spas I know they are a maintenance nightmare and are rarely used after the first 90 days of purchase so I am leaning toward a jetted tub in the master bath.

Our master bath currently has a standard 60 inch corner drop in soaker tub. I am thinking about removing it and dropping in a jetted version but my concern is the existing surround....I do not want to remodel the entire bathroom to replace the tub. Removing the existing tub without demoing the surround would be relatively simple but I am not certain about the rough opening that would be required for a jetted tub. I know that it has to have access which I can provide from the inside of the garage. My concern is the jetted piping and pump location and it fitting inside the existing rough opening. It seems to me that the tub is set in new construction and then plywood and backerboard is cut around the tub and finished.....I am talking about doing it in the opposite fashion.....setting a new tub in a finished surround.

I could open up the opening some, set the tub, add framing, plywood and backer board and a complimentary tile to finish it but I would prefer not having to do that....the tile surround is very nice and less than 3 years old so the design is current with the age of the house. Any suggestions? Am I missing anything that is painfully obvious? I don't want to redo the surround framing or finish because doing so would require a complete remodel of the tile on the walls, floor, tub surround and probably vanity...$3000 difference at least if it is possible to save the existing surround as framed and finished.
 
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Old 05-04-20, 11:25 AM
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So, all of that and you didn't tell us what tub you plan to install. Everything about your project will depend on the jetted tub you pick. I would spend a lot of time searching for the tub that best fits your space as the tub you choose is going to make a big difference. Look at all the boring details like pump and controls location, mounting depth, support points, drain location, faucet plumbing, power requirements and hook-up location...

I will caution against a jetted tub. In addition to their popularity peaking in the 1980's they seem to get less use than a stand alone spa/Jacuzzi. Keep in mind that whenever the tub is used, even without jets, dirt and soap scum gets into the piping and is a bugger to keep clean. My guess is that more people these days are removing them than installing them.

In use the water in a jetted tub can cool very quickly if running the jets. Some jetted tubs have a heater. It's not used to heat the water up to temperature but is designed to maintain the water temp and is a useful feature if the tub will see reasonable use. Without a heater hot water will have to be added during the bath to warm it back up.
 
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Old 05-05-20, 07:14 AM
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I haven't bought a tub yet but you are correct it couldn't be done were someone trying to fit a round peg in a square hole without some major modifications. Fortunately the house is only 3 years old and the tub that is in it is still being sold so I am hoping the same manufacture offers the same tub in a jetted version. I haven't gotten that far into research yet but if they don't I can get the cut sheet for the tub we have and find one that is close....I was just curious if anyone had ever done it before and if they'd do it again or just remodel the entire surround etc.

It will defintely have an inline heater in it. She has had them both ways and she prefers the heated tub to a non-heated tub. The heater is only another $200 or so and dedicated 20 amp GFCI circuit...when you are already making a bad financial decision like changing out a tub another $300 ain't no mountain for a climber LOL.

I agree with your take on the jetted tubs...they always seemed to be a source of mold and such.....a real hot tub has water that is treated...constantly treated and requiring attention. I imagine, although I do not know it for a fact, that this is the reason they aren't as popular today as they were in the 80's and 90's...that and builders of subdivisions have discovered that they didn't return the bang for the buck that they initially thought they would....building tract housing is a competitive market....there ain't a lot of money in it and what money there is is derived from making every penny count....an extra $300-$500 per unit that doesn't add much if anything to the sales price ain't going to stay on the menu long, especially when buyers are no longer obsessed with having to have it.

I disagree with you take on a real hot tub. I have known many people who have them and we have had 2 ourselves. Constant source of time consumption, time not spent using the tub but keeping it usable, and after a few months they sit unused and act as nothing more than dust and cobweb collectors. The jetted tub will be exactly the same thing but there is almost no maintenance required....if the pump goes out it can still be used as soaker tub.....and it does not require a chemistry set to keep it functional for the 3 - 4 times a year it will be used. Plus when we move, and we will, both of our careers require we move every 3 - 5 years, we won't have to get rid of a $7000 collection of dust, cobwebs and maintenance nightmare.....or, worse, make the thing function like it is supposed to in order to satisfy a home inspector with a piece of paper from a 6 week trade school course attesting to the fact that they are an expert in everything in a home advising a buyer to break a deal or offer less money.

A jetted tub and a hot tub both are BAD decisions......but I own a boat so I am already on record as not being the most financially wise individual.....I was just curious if anyone had ever swapped out a soaker tub for a jetted version without a complete remodel.
 
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Old 05-05-20, 09:25 AM
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I'm unusual in that I've had a hot tub for 20++ years and continue to use it weekly. I think many people make the mistake of putting them outside and set the temperature too high. After the novelty of a new spa wears off you are left sitting outside, in uncomfortably hot water and not much to do. Then in winter running bare foot and naked through the snow might be tolerable when you are 20 years old but that's not my idea of fun anymore.

Mine have always been inside with a TV on the wall and a beverage fridge close at hand. Between the cover, built in ozone system and silver ion cartridges maintenance is very minimal. The temperature is set to 100f in winter and 98f in summer so you can soak indefinitely without overheating. We've got floating trays and it's a decades old tradition to have pizza and a movie in the hot tub once a week.
 
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