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Old 09-17-2006, 10:17 PM   #1
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I want a tile bathtub

I feel really stupid for posting this, but how can I make a bathtub of tile? I want a 66" X 42" soaking tub made of tile. We have a slab foundation and we want to replace the 5' metal tub that is currently there. It will be in a 66" alcove. What do I make the form out of? What kind of tile and grout shoud I use? Can the finished grout be totally waterproofed, and if not, what do I do to the form so it doesn't matter? Should I stop dreaming and just buy a fiberglass bowl in which to soak? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:36 PM   #2
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Thinkin off the top of my head....and keeping the DIYer in mind....possibly have a builder of boats etc.....make you a shell to the dimensions you want,out of fiberglass. They build hot tub shells from fiberglass,that when fully filled with water,weigh in excess of 5000 lbs. That's for a typical 4-500 gallon hot-tub. Or,go to a hot-tub manufacturer,and have them make you a shell. The typical tubs/roman tubs I've seen/done have been done with small tiles I.E. penny rounds. If I was to tile over a fiberglass shell...I would bond em with epoxy.

I offered that idea verses framing/mudding/waterproofing....as it's beyond the scope for the average DIYer.

Let us know what you ultimately decide upon/do.
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:34 AM   #3
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but would a fiberglass shell be stiff enough? unless it was a double wall like those hot tubs I'd be worried about flex. and cracks.

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Old 09-18-2006, 02:11 AM   #4
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i think your're thinking of a roman tub. not sure how to make them though, but they are cool.
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Old 09-18-2006, 07:49 AM   #5
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Hello Rene,
What you are considering is indeed called a "Roman tub", though that terms been appropriated by most fixture manufacturers to mean any deep soaking tub regardless of materials it's mad of. Roman Tubs are a complicated sort of project that requires skill at mud work and precise layout. It's definately a "hired out" project, but if you want to tackle it we can help you to find all of the knowledge you'll need.
Alternately, I've heard that Laticrete's "9235" water-proofing system can be used to seal up a Roman Tub, including whirlpool jets? Tile can then be fixed directly to the membrane.
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:56 AM   #6
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My buddy Jim Carlin up in New Maine completed a tiled tub done with the Schluter Kerdi method recently. He took some pictures that I have. It would be best to contact him directly, though. You can email him through our server:


Kerdi is the way to go, as far as I'm concerned. An extremely strong and stiff stud and plywood structure will be needed. See if you can get hold of Jim.

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Old 09-18-2006, 10:40 AM   #7
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JB is right. You should be able to do it with a Kerdi system. Especially now that they have a drain that you can open and close. Look in the TYW store Schluter products. There is a picture of one.
Water is heavy so you need to build it strong. Could either be formed with mud like a swimming pool or a mortar base and wood construction walls, covered with (I would use CBU) and then Kerdi membrane the whole thing.
Good Luck

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Old 09-18-2006, 06:56 PM   #8
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Thanks and keep the ideas coming please

Thank you. I'm running to get my husband to read all of these so we can brainstorm more. I'm sure I'll be asking a lot more of you. My first name is Rene, by the way. John.
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Old 09-18-2006, 07:29 PM   #9
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Rene, you can search for Roman tubs here and read what others have done. I'd suggest performing a search this way to get the best results:

After clicking the Search button above, a pop-up window will appear. Select Advanced Search. In the next screen that appears, enter Roman as the key word then select Search Titles Only . Click Search Now and 15 threads should be returned. I think you will find some of those very informative.

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Old 09-18-2006, 07:35 PM   #10
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Hi Rene,

Laticrete "9235" is what most of the guys around here use for waterproofing and all formed out of mud for Roman tubs as well. The jets are typically siliconed just like the acrylic tubs are here.

They make pop up shower drains to handle the liner and the mud pan. The overflow is typically the plumbing issue with them.

What the other gents said about the weight and support. Water is around 8.3 lbs./gallon plus all the mud.

I agree with Pirate, it's an ambitious project. Not impossible, but I'd sure be comfortable playing with mud before going for it.

I've never seen a CBU/Kerdi one, so I can't comment on that method, but I'll assume with CBU you'd be limited to lineal sides, rather than the curvy whirlpool style like many of the acrylic ones. (I most certainly could be wrong here)

hope this helps,
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Old 09-18-2006, 07:49 PM   #11
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I may be totally off the wall here but the same ? came up at a Kerdi shower install I did 6-8 months ago , Again maybe off the wall!!! if you can kerdi over there polystyrene pans why couldn`t you obtain a large enough solid block or a laminated block of same or similar material as Schluter pans + carve it to your prefered form ??? The customer I was talking with said he`s seen a heated wire?? for carving such materials to specific shapes??
I was in Maui + they had totaly tiles roman tubs that had been mudded + shaped them 1x1 tiled + another setter said ,how bout gunnite????
Just my thoughts !!!! Good luck! Keep us posted !

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Old 08-11-2007, 01:08 PM   #12
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Roman Bathtub

I'm curious - did this project ever get done?

Most of the information is for showers. Am I crazy to try and make a ceramic tile bath tub? Any pointers? I was intending to follow the basic recipe for a pool: concrete, a water-resistant barrier, then tile. In short, we really want a deeper tub. We have roughly 70" x 40", or 70" x 70" if we come out as far as the existing circular tub, but it's only about 13" deep, and we'd really like about 20". The deep tubs at Home Expot are $2,500 to $7,000, which just seems rather crazy to me.

Any advice? (any websites or pictures?)
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:23 PM   #13
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Hi Daniel,
I've just recently been reconsidering the product-line from Wedi Corp. and there's a lot to say for it's usefulness in such a project. You'll have to use a CPE liner for the bottom instead of their pre-formed drain pans because I don't believe that they have a pop-up drain assembly yet, but I could be mistaken. Take a look through their website and contact their technical dude/sales guy Brian Wright for more complete information about such construction and product availability in your area.
Schluter System's KERDI is also an excellent product for a soaking tub also. You can find links to their website here on the forum.
Best of luck,
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:56 PM   #14
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Roman Tub Depth

The problem is the depth - most everything supports a water level of only 14 to 17 inches, not 23 to 33. Functionally, a Japanese Soaking Tub may be a better description. It all sounds rather daunting (and expensive). I considered a spray apoxy instead of tile, but the tile doesn't sound like the expensive part, compared to the plumbing.

We have an existing circular fiberglass tub, about 27" radius, so the basic plumbing is in place for something more like a Roman tub. I was hoping to get away with using it. We also have a slab foundation, so I didn't see any support issues there. I'll check with custom fiberglass manufacturers and see what that turns up.

I'm not opposed to a drop-in tub. That would be one heck of a lot easier. I just can't find one under $7,000 that supports a water level more than 17" deep .

Last edited by Daniel Dower; 08-11-2007 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:41 PM   #15
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Kohler 4' Greek Tub

Daniel, This Kohler drop in/3-wall alcove is very deep:


and sells at HD for less than $1000. I ordered it, had it in my bedroom while I was gutting and tried to get in and out of it and had trouble, lol! I ended up returning it.

I have thought about the ceramic tubs and kerdi. There is an article in
a current magazine featuring a 30x48" roman tub made of shower (womens day kitchen and baths, vol xvii, #4), but I could
not find any clues on how it was created. I can look for the article and the author and maybe you could write the magazine/architect and ask. good luck.
by the way, in the article, these people keep the tub filled and have a heater and re-circulator. they treat it like a hot-tub.

look at last view (bottom right) on bathroom page:


Last edited by dcousins; 08-12-2007 at 05:49 PM. Reason: added link to jarvis architecture for view of tile tub
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