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-   -   handmade tub (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=51446)

redred 07-05-2007 10:03 AM

handmade tub
First time on, guys and gals....

Pretty handy DIY guy (I've built most of my present home over many years) - want to hand-build a tub (no shower) - partly to better fit my body, partly just because I think it could be way cool.

I figure small tiles over a shaped base of some kind.

Am I nuts? Is this just too hard or too prone to failure?

Are there any books, plans, advice out there somewhere?

Thanks for any guidance.

Red in DC

Marge 07-05-2007 10:17 AM

Red, welcome to the forum! :)

That will be quite the project. I know a few folks around here have done just that and we'll see if we can round them up for you.

ddmoit 07-05-2007 10:42 AM

Hi Red,

Here's a pertinent link...


Do a search on this forum for "roman tub", and you'll find more links. :tup2:

redred 07-05-2007 02:27 PM

thanks, headed there now....

redred 07-05-2007 03:02 PM

OK, so that's pretty intimidating already. And, I wasn't even looking to do something as "simple" as a classic roman tub (wide, rectangular, squared corners). More of a body contoured tub - raised and narrowed at the ends a bit (more than "a bit" at the head end?), curved into the sides. With sufficient patience (and skill) can you shape a form from plywood and contour it with mud, then membrane-mud-mortar-tile? Am I just really naive here?

Is this serious tonnage if there is no shower enclosure involved?

Red, in DC

Bill Vincent 07-05-2007 03:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Something like this?

SteveVB 07-05-2007 04:02 PM

Its ambitious if you have the time....

Do some searches for hot tubs, pools and the like.

A free form of shaped XPS covered with mud, some kerdi, a bunch of time and you are there.

redred 07-06-2007 06:34 AM

Yes, Bill, that's beautiful - and encouraging. And I'm trying something even simpler (I think), softer lines, sort of trough shaped - like a long narrow tub shape narrowed at the feet, deeper at the butt, with more contour and a raise for the head.

Steve (and anyone else) at the risk of sending you running and screaming (or giggling) - what's "XPS"


Red in DC

SteveVB 07-06-2007 07:38 AM

Sorry- xps -expanded poly styrene - sheets of foam. Owens Corning makes theirs pink and DOW makes theirs Blue. Its easy to shape(messy) and strong enough to provide support. Ive never done anything like you describe but Ive seen a hot tub built with the xps shaped with a grinder and covered with concrete. It was a few years ago and I thought it was interesting. The foam provides a continuous backing and form for the mud and provides insulation during use. They basically built a box of layers of foam and cut and ground in seats and such, added some mesh to hold the concrete and troweled on the mud IIRC.

Nice Bill, very nice

Mike2 07-06-2007 07:52 AM

OK Steve, here's another one for you. What does IIRC stand for?? :scratch:

redred 07-06-2007 01:51 PM

Now that sounds pretty doable.

Construction adhesive OK for the XPS? Walls on three sides - should I build up a skirt/knee wall/whatever you guys would call it on the fourth side to further stabilize the foam, or will the three sides and overall mass stabilize things? Maybe anchor into the walls and floor with pegs of some kind?

I think I'm encouraged enough to start planning this now (some other jobs ahead of it) - I'll keep you all posted. And, Steve, if you're near DC, you'll be welcome to check it out if you're in the area sometime and have the interest.

Any adivce on tile? I'm thinking smaller is better, and hex gives me the most flexibility for multi-plane curves, or are those not so much of a consideration?

Red (you know where)

Mike2 07-06-2007 02:06 PM

Red, with past Roman Tub projects we've discussed here, one of the challenges has been coming up with a watertite drain and stopper system. Schluter has one but it's $450 and that doesn't include the Kerdi drain it's designed for. http://www.tile-experts.com/proddeta...rod=CLOSEDRAIN

You'll also need an overflow. My advice will be to spend some time working out these plumbing issues before you get too far down the line.

redred 07-06-2007 02:49 PM

Thanks for the caution, Mike. (You guys are just terrific.)

My reading, limited to this site and links therein, suggests that the Kerdi system and drain is the only practical way to go for someone like me, but that if I can stand the expense, I should be OK. (Any idea why that seemingly simple drain piece is so expensive?) I have thought about overflow, too, and figured I'd just use a second kerdi drain w/o the stopper function - not terribly attractive and little pricey - but I don't seen a ready alternative. Is there? I have carte blanch space, so I figure attaching an overflow at the outset should not be an issue (with sufficiently careful planning on placement). (Should it?)


Mike2 07-06-2007 03:21 PM

Red, my guess on your pricing question is there just isn't enough production/sales volume on those Roman tub drains to keep unit fixed costs low. The non-recurring costs to design and tool up for one have to be quite high.

I've been here nearly 4 years now and I don't ever recall anyone talking about actually buying one. Jerry the Tile Guy (JTG) is the only member I recall who has actually completed a tiled Roman Tub and he made his own drain using modified bath tub parts.

Davestone 07-06-2007 07:06 PM

I made one outta mud, regular pan material,rebar,and tumbled marble, looked neat,and i had an overflow, but as mentioned never overcame the proper drain system, was aiming for the toe touch drain type, but you just couldn't get the pipe sizes to match up,so i used a stopper.Sold the house, and never took pics, that i can remember. :bow:

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