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Question DetailsAsked on 1/22/2017

Need Fiberglas tub surround squeake repair. When you stand in the tube and move there is a squeake from bottom tub.

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2 Answers

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VERY common complaint, because most such acrylic/fiberglass tubs do not have proper supporting ribs or bearing pads under them so they deflect a lot when you stand in them - commonly eventually cracking due to the constant movement if you don't stop it.


How you remedy an in-place tub depends on largely on accessibility - which is usually through a 1-2 foot square hole in the underlying ceiling (when not on concrete slab) or through the lower portion of adjacent walls when you can't reasonably access from underneath.


Ways to stop/prevent this:


1) put in dry-pack sanded concrete "mud pack" (no coarse aggregate), or dry-pack/blown in sand though that has to be tightly placed AND fully fill the area so it does not settle and leave a gap again. Sand is usually only used during new installs, when the tub/shower base can be squirmed firmly down into it to compact it - drypack concrete can be shoved and rodded into position to support the base in after-the-fact installations.


2) lay down rigid foam sheet (or after the fact smush in foam sheeting or stiff type foam rubber or rubber sheet padding) at the bearing points to limit deflection. Rigid foam has the problem that under load it also squeeks, so if using that it has to be glued down to the subfloor so it can't move around, and a pad put between it and the tub/shower base - like a layer of fabric or thin foam rubber.


3) support by immersing the base in pourable grout like self-levelling floor grout - though if not well controlled can leak into underlying ceilings or walls, and has to be kept away from piping so it does not prevent future pipe/drain maintenance.


4) use foam-in place foam-in-a-can, the window sealing low-expansion pressure type, or very carefully bit by bit using the expanding type while the tub/shower base is weighted to prevent the foam from bulging it up. This can be iffy, because most expanding foams (either type) chemically eat away at fiberglass and/or acrylic, so only "safe" to do this if a chemical-resistant hypalon or similar liner is placed under the tub/shower, then the foam is put in UNDER that liner so the foam is not in direct contact with the fiberglass/acrylic. Some repair people just drill a few holes through the the subfloor and inject low-expansion-pressure foam sight-unseen, partly filling the space under the tub/shower base - but I don't like the idea of doing it sight-unseen, and doing that leaves the lining exposed to the chemicals while the foam is curing, so even if it does not visibly damage the tub/shower, it may be chemically "melted" enough to cause future cracking.


5) slip and tap in (and glue down with caulk or construction adhesive) pieces of wood to support the base


6) there are a couple of "grout bag" products out there - are snaked in through a small hole through the subfloor then expanded with pumped in grout, which is contained by the tyvek (or similar) bag. Again, sight unseen repair but can work well if the bag fills the appropriate places to support the base - which is not a certainly, but does minimize the disturbance of underlying/adjacent ceilings/walls.


7) do what a lot of people do - tolerate it, and hope it does not lead to future cracking. If just squeeking without noticeable flexing or bounce in the tub it may be fine, certainly if you feel noticeble flexing when you move around I would get it supported to avoid likely thousands in future tub replacement costs if it does crack.


Contractor to do this - some Plumbing contractors, some Ceramic Tile contractors generally Remodeling - Kitchen and Bath contractors would be most versatile in their ability to fix it and repair access holes. Handymen too of course, but if you don't have one that you already know is competent and conscientious, who knows what quality work you will get. Also Bathtub Refinishing and Liners contractors - some will do this sort of work (usually the ones who to a lot of types of bath remodel work), others only do the liners and refinishing.


Cost really variable depending on access - certainly $250-400 minimum I would expect including repair of drywall and repainting the access areas, can run $500 plus with difficult access.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD

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Answered 1 year ago by Member Services




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