“Take out a shower, put in a tub.” That was the plan. It’s one of those things that sounds so much simpler than it turns out to be. Between me and you, The Girl complicated things. Did we get a regular ol’ free-standing tub? Nope. Did we get one that required a tub frame? Yep. Did the tub’s instructions explicitly state “NOT DESIGNED FOR OVERHEAD SHOWER USE?” 100% chance. And then we installed an overead shower. Believe it sister.
As per usual, The Girl and I had no previous tub installation experience. We consulted The Dog, but her only response was to try to gnaw on our hands and beg for a treat. Neither of which were particularly helpful.
So I did my regular move, which The Girl will confirm consists mainly of staring at the instructions, drawing a lot of diagrams on scratch paper, reviewing the instructions, mumbling to myself, staring at the tub, measuring the 2x4s, and standing in the now demolished bathroom visualizing where the tub frame should go. It’s not what I would call “exciting.” But, after several hours of the regular move, I went ahead and cut the 2x4s.
The frame actually turned out pretty well, and after dry fitting the tub (Bertha) seventeen times, we adhered the frame to the floor with liquid nails. Then, more dry fitting of Bertha to make sure the plumbing was going to match up with the new drain. Of course, all this dry fitting resulted in displeased looks from The Girl, but she stayed supportive.
Let me just take a minute out to explain something. The Girl and I are perfectionists. This is NOT to say that we do everything perfectly (see the floor tile in the kitchen), but it DOES mean that we both stress out about doing things correctly. When you have no idea what you’re doing, and the result has to be pretty close to perfect to avoid a catastrophic plumbing problem, there is a high degree of stress. I can’t count the number of times that The Girl asked me “Is it supposed to look like that” or “Is that how you’re supposed to do it?” And every time I responded with “Baby, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” I have found that it is better to just say “I’m dumb” up front, so there’s no surprise when whatever I’ve done is completely bassackwards.
Now, having adhered the tub frame, and convinced that the plumbing was lining up properly, we went ahead and mixed the concrete (two or three bags of quickrete I think) and poured it inside the frame, making sure that it encased the hot and cold water pipes. Next, we put the pvc glue on the plumbing coming off of Bertha, and finally put Bertha into the frame, on top of the concrete bed, and connected the plumbing.
Where we made a mistake was in not filling Bertha with water to give her the necessary weight to settle into the concrete. We did apply as much pressure as possible with our hands, but in hindsight we should have filled her with water.
Did we do everything right? Probably not. What I DO know is that we haven’t had any plumbing leaks (yet). And Bertha turned out flippin sweet after we put concrete backer board on the frame and tiled all around it. Seriously, flippin sweet.
The Girl and I have both bathed in Bertha, even showered (not designed for an overhead shower? I beg to differ. Stupid instructions.). The Dog, however, is still limited to the green tub in the other bathroom – at least until she stops gnawing our hands or begging for treats and picks up a danged hammer once in a while.