Arcylic whirlpool tub caulking dilemma
Here’s the situation:
About 7 years ago, had an American Standard cadet whirlpool tub installed. It’s made of Acrylic. It also functions as a “shower” as well. I had Swanstone tub surround panels put in at time of installation.
Due to the person who installed everything, there was a rather large gap between the tub (NO integral flange) and the surround walls. Used a GE Silicone II caulking (can’t remember exactly what type they used, but I remember it was GE Silicone II caulking).
After many years, the tub apparently is flexing maybe 2-3mm if you fill it up with water all the way. By flexing, I mean it pulls “down” and the caulking does not stick to the Acrylic (apparently silicone has a tough time adhering to a gelcoated Acrylic, as I have another tub in a diff. bathroom that does the same thing).
So needless to say we had some water damage.
Here’s my choices at this point:
Shim the tub (the tub is sitting on a mortar bed mix, but I’m not sure if the LIP of the tub is sitting perfectly on those little cleats or whatever) so that it doesn’t flex anymore, add another 1/2″ of drywall to get the proper overlap and put the swan walls back on. My concern is that the silicone will still not adhere to the acrylic and I’ll be stuck with water damage again in a few years.
Rip tub out and replace with an integral flange unit. Big bucks (same sized unit with flange is about $1400 as opposed to $400 without flange).
Any other choices?
Is the real cause JUST the flexing and the caulking? (ie, at least with an integral flange it wouldn’t go anywhere).
Do I scuff the edge of the tub to get the silicone to adhere?
Sorry for the dumb questions, but I’d rather not get a “single piece” unit as they are usually pretty cheesy, and the swan walls are okay (tile would be nice, but then you gotta make little shelves and stuff and deal with the water issues with that).
so do you have the walls around the tub tore out? if not i would go in and clean the caulk off really well,fill tub to the top,get naked and climb in tub [it adds more weight] and recaulk it. now you can stay in the tub until it dries if you want,but at least leave the water in for 24 hours to cure the silicone.
if you have the walls tore out i would replace the sheetrock with at least a 2' band of cement board at the bottom,leave about 3/16 gap along the tub and caulk it the put the walls back up and fill tub and caulk.
this is a maintence item and you will be redoing every 3-5 years,it's really not a big deal if you get on it when the caulk first pulls away. i had a corian shower and you had to do this about every 3 months! larry
ps i just remebered american standard does make a rubber edge that sticks on the tub andgoes up the wall a little,goes on under the finish wall. hd might even have this in stock as they sell american standard
hand me the chainsaw, i need to trim the casing just a hair.
That was pretty funny, although I'm not sure if I could sit in tub for 24 hours.The walls are torn out (around the tub that is), but I do like your idea about the cement board.I just got back from HD and Lowes for pricing and they both carry a tub with integral flange (about $700 from each store).So I'm thinking I may go that route and just really shore up the unit (put it in right this time).
You may want to set your tub into a bed of mortar. This is what i have my plumber do on all the larger fiberglass tubes that we install on our remodels.
This allows for very little movement of the tub floor (if any) and the flanges always seem to be a bit stiffer.
It is also alot easier than trying to use shims in an inaccessible area.
Tape 1/4" to each side of the seam, then caulk with GE 5200 Marine adhesive/caulk. Remove tape to make a clean edge. Wait 24 hours (no cheating).
You will never say that silicone won't stick to acrylic again. 5200 keeps millions of bilges dry for years in gelcoated boats the world over.
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
-- Thomas Sowell
I think that you mean 3M.http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=2002&familyName=3M+5200+Marine+Adhesive+SealantIt is a polyurathane..
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
Hmmm, now that's an idea. Waterproof and flexible.
Yup. I shut up.Troy Sprout
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."-- Thomas Sowell
if the tub is still in good shape i would hate to chuck it just to get a flange. how about a pc of flashing material goes up the wall 2" then turns on the tub a 1/2 inch. use the silicone marine caulk that someone suggested and glue it to the tub,then cover with hardi,caulk again then finish with your wall finish. worse thing about setting a new tub is that thing called " one thing leads to another" faucts,drains,might as well do another floor while i'm here,oh now the walls look kinda dingy........... been there done that. larry
hand me the chainsaw, i need to trim the casing just a hair.
Now that you mention it, the floor is looking like it should be tiled and the faucets do need replacing.Know what you mean, though.
yea,if i was you i would budget about 5 grand to replace the silicone around your tub,thats if when your done the wife doesn't want a faucet in the kitchen to match the new one in the bathroom,then i figure 22.5 k for this little project. i started with a clean up/ remodel 3 yrs ago.i stopped counting at 125k for this money pit . lol larryhand me the chainsaw, i need to trim the casing just a hair.
Firstly, the only dump question is the one that isn't asked. (Hmmmmm, I like that. I might have to put that one in my profile)
Secondly, I would have to agree with "alwaysoverbudget". That's good advice. The only thing I would change is I would a good cement board right up the wall and put in tile. I prefer tile myself. It's got that personal touch and way more gratifying than glueing a plastic panel to the wall.
Youv'e got a pretty common problem, a couple of good methods so far. Some problems I have come across, deflection in the floor joists, the tub lip not resting on the tub ledger, and setting a tub in concrete or mortor mix. Well I dont know if its on floor joists or a slab. If the tub lip isn't sitting on the ledger we will apply silicon on top of the ledger and reset the tub embeding the lip of the tub. Also when setting a tub in concrete it should be mixed really dry, if its real wet then with evaporation and last second movement of the tub, the tub actually ends up resting above the concrete not in it. Anyways if there's any access to sides and back, try silicon around concrete and tub and above ledger, also if the front of tub goes to the floor caulk there. To flash a tub with no flange.. apply a 3-4" piece of rigid metal flashing to framing, over solid blocking betwen studs and bend the metal slightly (1/4") to lip over the tub edge and embed in silicon to form seal. Install 1/2 inch x 6" mortor board strip, 3/8 above tub and fill gap with silicon. Above apply 1/2 green board, and reinstall tub wall panels. Some of these might work for you.
Edited 2/26/2007 12:14 am ET by FDC
Edited 2/26/2007 12:17 am ET by FDC
Edited 2/26/2007 6:58 am ET by FDC
That marine sealant is tough stuff. Tried to cut out a Jet pump on a boat once.... after 2 days of slicing finally gave up and built a press to remove the bushings....
Only comes in white tho, maybe use it as a heavy first layer. Then, after fully cured, finish with the colormatched silicone.
3M 5200 comes in white, black, tan, or mahogany.
Didn't know that, but the chance of matching his swanstone (expensive) panels is very low..... get the exact color from swanstone to make seams disappear...