How To Frame A Jacuzzi Tub
Framing in a Jacuzzi tub is a little intimidating, but can be done. Of course, Jacuzzi is a name brand, but the same general instructions apply to any jetted tub.
Step One – Measure and Assess
Before you install a Jacuzzi tub, measure the area you have a available for the purpose. If you are removing an existing tub, you will likely need a larger area for a Jacuzzi. When you are measuring, be sure to leave extra space for the support enclosure.
Step Two – Plumbing
Many of the plumbing parts come with a tub, but you will need to bring the supply line to the tub. If you are competent at plumbing tasks, then you can attempt this part of the project yourself. Follow the directions for your particular tub.
However, the plumbing will need to meet code requirements, so call in a professional if you are unsure.
Step Three – Electrical
Similar to the plumbing, the electrical work to install a switch for the jet motors is a job that needs to be done according to code. You need to use a GFCI switch and wire the tub properly. If you are able to do the work correctly, follow instructions that come with the tub.
Step Four - Frame the Support Enclosure
This step requires the most planning and know how of any part of the process. Measure carefully to ensure that you are providing an enclosure of adequate size. Decide on the finish, such as tile or paint, which you will use on the exterior of the enclosure. Any horizontal surface around the rim of the tub will need to be finished with tile, vinyl, or other water-resistant material.
Since each bathroom is different, each design for a Jacuzzi support will be different.
Make the support about 1/8 inch lower than the tub will stand on the bedding material. The term “Jacuzzi support” is somewhat misleading, since the support actually provides merely structure and stability. The bedding material supports the tub. There is no wood frame that can support the weight of the tub, the water to fill it and a person. Therefore, the support needs to be framed slightly shorter than the tub. Use a quality silicone caulk to fill the 1/8 inch gap.
Finish the frame with cement board. You will cover the cement board (such as Durock) with tile, gloss paint, or other water resistant material. Tape and sand.
Step Five – Create the Bed
If you are replacing a former tub, there is likely already a concrete or masonry bed. Make sure it is of the right height for your Jacuzzi. If there is no bed, pour a 2 inch concrete or mortar support bed for your tub. There may also be support pads that come with the tub, and you should also use these pads.
Put a layer of thinset with a vapor barrier on top of the bed before installing the tub. This will limit squeaks.
When the bed is finished, set the tub in place.
Step Six – Decorative Finish
Finish the drywall surround with tile or with a primer and two coats of latex paint. You may choose some other type of decorative and waterproof finish. Remember that any horizontal surface next to the tub will need to be covered in tile, vinyl, or other water-resistant material.