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Unread 11-16-2007, 12:35 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 7
Expert advice: Undermount acrylic tub

I am installing an Americh Kyoto acrylic tub, a 68" square tub with a 5" horizontal lip on all sides.

Pictures gallery:


Tub itself:

The design calls for ceramic tile to cover 4" of the the 5" lip on each side as well as the front side of the bathtub - and all the walls, steps and floor of the bath.

Question 1:
Contractor and tile installer say they have never installed tile on an acrylic tub like this and don't know what bonding agent to use. What should they use, epoxy?

Queston 2:
Contractor is afraid that tile will either come off or crack. I guess the issues are movement of the tub when people enter, heat expansion of the tub with up to 165 gals of hot water., effect of people sitting on the lip.

However, Americh lists the tub as suitable for undermount installation, and I found this photo of an undermount installation on the web with a marble surround:

So is this an unwise idea, a doable idea, or a doable idea if I change the framing?

Question 3:
Generalized valve layout (Dornbracht) (there will be 3 showerheads and a Kneipp hose --don't ask.)

Valve will go under front lip of tub. One mixing valve and 4 flow valves will penetrate the front lip.
I asked the contractor if we should put a removable panel on the front of the tub in case we need access to the valves in the future. He did not think this was necessary.
Do you agree that panel is not needed. (Pump and blower for tub are on the left and accessed differently.)

I'd be most grateful for expert guidance on this matter.


Last edited by Mike2; 11-16-2007 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Tried to fix links to Franks pictures. For some reason, pbase links seldom display right.
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Unread 11-16-2007, 05:07 PM   #2
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Location: LaConner, Washington
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Frank, I tried to fix some of your picture links, but to no avail. Seems like links to pbase seldom work right.

Now back to tiling the tub. I think one enabling factor will be not to bond the tile directly onto the acrylic rim of that tub. Instead, frame it such that the actual tiling substrate overlaps the tub's rim. This will allow the tub to move independently from the tiled surface and substrate immediately above it.
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Unread 11-16-2007, 06:31 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Near DC
Posts: 630
What Mike said. That isnt really framed as an undermount, the framing and tile substrate should overlap the tub acrylic.
And the tile would then come down onto the tub. I agree with the contractor that the acrylic and wood framing and tile are all going to move at different rates and cause problems. The framing detail isnt correct- talk to the designer/arch about that.

With such a narrow ledge why undermount it anyway- I think it would look cleaner with a small reveal at the sides and thats it. Tiles stuck to the acrylic adn overlapping it 4 inches may look a little odd. If you had a 8-10 inch ledge around the whole thing then maybe, but the way its drawn and the pics make me think that I would pull the framing in and leave a narrow strip at the tub/deck, not cover the lip with tile. But thats a design thing... probably more opinion than you want.

The use of pressure treated lumber is worrisome, I would get that sheathed as soon as possible unless its been dried (KDAT)

Check with the inspector in your jurisdiction on whether they require an access panel for the supplies. You have a shut off someplace? Any sli[p joint drain assembly will likely need access. And access is always a good idea, but if a plumber comes to work on it and doesnt know where it is he will make his own anyway.... do some searching on this site for ideas.

Looks like a nice project- row house basement?

Have Fun
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