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Replacing a fiberglass tub and surround

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Mitch Kronowit Donor

SFR Investor from Orange County, California

Oct 25 '12, 05:49 PM


The one-piece fiberglass tub and surround in one of our rentals need to be replaced. The bottom of the tub is cracked and several repairs have failed to maintain it. I understand these one-piece units were installed before the walls of the house were even up and they sell multi-piece units for after-market replacement, but our contractor is telling us it still will not fit inside the bathroom without removing part of the wall.

Has anybody come across this before? I thought the whole idea behind the multi-piece replacements was to fit them inside the doorway after the house was built, but the tub section must still be fairly large and I can see how it would be hard to maneuver and place inside the closet-sized bathroom they love building out here in California.



Mark H.

SFR Investor from Phoenix, Arizona

Oct 25 '12, 05:54 PM


When I pull out a one-piece unit, I replace the tub with a new steel unit ( more durable ) , then have a (white) cultured marble surround put in. The cultured marble (installed) costs about $550, new steel tubs are $125~ish in my area. The cultured marble is extremely durable & leak-proof.



Mitch Kronowit Donor

SFR Investor from Orange County, California

Oct 25 '12, 06:22 PM


Thanks Mark. Any problem getting that tub through the door?



Mark H.

SFR Investor from Phoenix, Arizona

Oct 25 '12, 06:43 PM


Originally posted by Mitch Kronowit:
Thanks Mark. Any problem getting that tub through the door?

The steel tub fit through the door fine - putting them in place usually requires hacking up the drywall a bit for maneuvering room. I cut up the fiberglass tubs with a Sawzall to get them out... (hire that done if you can, it smells horrible when you're cutting them up & you'll itch for a week after because of the fiberglass).

There's an "order" for rehabbing a bathroom, if you've never done it -
trash the vanity & toilet, plug the toilet drain,
I hire a tile-removal guy next,
then hack out the tub-
bring in my plumber to stub out for the vanity, install a new tub valve & move the drain ( I've never had one line up right).
Set the tub in place,
Drywall guy to fix where the walls are butchered by the plumber.
Painter next..
Then new floor tile
Then cultured marble,
Then the plumber comes back & does finish work, my plumber also sets the new toilet & vanity,
Then moldings, mirrors lights & towel bars..
Sounds like a lot, but I've done two baths in five days with a tenant in place earlier this year...
It helps a lot if the subs like you...
Pay in cash & hand them each a cold six-pack on the way out the door...;-)



Ed O.

Real Estate Investor from

Oct 25 '12, 07:37 PM


Tubs generally are a standard 60". So, the wall, in almost all situations, shouldn't have to come out to get a new tub in. As Mark said, it's likely that the drywall may get a few dings from the maneuvering (of getting it in), but it's nothing compared to busting out a portion of the wall. The closest I have come to this was when my handyman had to notch out a tiny portion of the studs to get a new tub in place, but it was nothing like tearing out a wall.

@Mark H.
Where do you get the surrounds so cheap? That sounds like a great price. For the durability and looks, cultured marble is the way to go.




Mark H.

SFR Investor from Phoenix, Arizona

Oct 25 '12, 08:00 PM


Originally posted by Ed O.:
Tubs generally are a standard 60". So, the wall, in almost all situations, shouldn't have to come out to get a new tub in. As Mark said, it's likely that the drywall may get a few dings from the maneuvering (of getting it in), but it's nothing compared to busting out a portion of the wall. The closest I have come to this was when my handyman had to notch out a tiny portion of the studs to get a new tub in place, but it was nothing like tearing out a wall.

Mark H.
Where do you get the surrounds so cheap? That sounds like a great price. For the durability and looks, cultured marble is the way to go.

The surrounds are custom made & installed by a local shop - they come out & measure the walls before making them & you can specify different "base" colors & "swirl" colors..big or small soap dishes, etc.. The installer was telling me about a recent install where the customer requested *extra* dark-blue swirls... (yech!).. I guess they have a new process where they can make it look like sheets of granite as well.. I think they call it "graniteen"?..

I imagine there's got to be shops that make the stuff in most major cities.. I had a friend back in Michigan who owned a window business that made their own window sills out of it.



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