Stop me if this is an insane idea

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    • #276661
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        I recently saw a tiled bathtub in a commercial. We are considering replacing our bathtub, and I would love to do this. My question is, is it feasible, and will it hold water? I’m thinking, liner pan (custom CPE up to about 15 inches high) 2 4 framing, water proof backer board on frame, mortar the whole darn mess then tile and grout. Am I crazy? Is there a place to find plans for such a thing? I would guess it’s rather like a tile shower, only taller and longer…any suggestions would be appreciated.

      • #294555
        Avatar photoHarold Kestenholz

          . The bath, which is coated with white marble, is 12 feet 10 inches in diameter, and about 3 feet deep, and has two marble steps to facilitate the descent into it, and a seat surrounding it at the depth of 10 inches from the bottom, for the purpose of enabling the bathers to sit down and wash themselves.*/Balneae.html

          Finishing Design Standards, Example #10 . . . Finishing, 4. Stone and ceramics applied on the interior shall have not less than 1/4″ cementitious backerboard for vertical surfaces and not less than 1/2″ cementitious backerboard for all other surfaces, in either case applied over a moisture impermeable layer or membrane.

          Policy: Wood is an unsuitable substrate for masonry. It’s not stable enough with variations in temperature, moisture, and forces – particularly compression forces.

        • #294556
          Avatar photonicktheplumber

            The short answer is: yes, you can fabricate a tiled bath tub (or even a samm swimming pool or koi pond) in your bathroom if you so desire and you frame it out and waterproof it properly. The details of the construction are critical. You need to have a good structural support (a tub full of water is heavy), and the tub needs to have proper waterproofing and cement/tile work.

            I have built one such tub for a (very wealthy and somewhat eccentric) customer who wanted a “Roman” bath built to his specifications. It worked and cost a fortune. So it can be done. I did that many years ago when I was starting out. I don’t think I would agree to do it again, however. It’s a lot of work. I don’t recommend doing it yourself unless you are especially good at the techniques required. You could try talking to some of your local plumbing contractors. Someone may be willing to take on the job.


          • #294557
            Avatar photorobertgf

              what kind of strainer do you use for such a project? it would have to have a stopper and an overflow of some kind, just curious

            • #294558
              Avatar photonicktheplumber

                You can use any standard waste and overflow (W&O) trap assembly…you just have to fit it into your construction. or, if you don’t want to use a manufactured W&O, you can plumb your own, so long as your plumbing is up to code. BTW, code does require you have an overflow drain…

                This topic is very interesting to me as a plumber, but I’ve got to say it seems to be straying into strange territory. I’m not sure it’s very useful to most of the questioners here. It’s no secret here that I’m a Yank liberal plumber and support the DIY activism of homeowners to learn about plumbing and perform responsible work on their systems. One of the things that allows DIYers to do so is the availability of relatively easy to use standardized fixtures, fittings, and pipes. The other thing, at least in the USA, is that most jurisdictions allow owners to do their own work if they apply for a building permit and can present approvable plans and pass final inspection.

                The problem with the “custom” type of installation we are discussing here is that it requires a very high level of plumbing expertise, not to mention other specialized skills like carpentry framing, plastering, and tile-setting.

                It COULD be done by a really competent DIYer. The fact is that many otherwise competent licensed plumbers would have a rough time building such a tub, and even fewer building inspectors would be able to pass proper judgement on their work. That’s all I’ve got to say about it for now.


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