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Question DetailsAsked on 12/20/2014

Fiberglass Tub/Shower Enclosure creaks when standing on it

creaking noise in tub

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1 Answer


You have discovered one of the primary reasons people generally are not happy with fiberglass showers/tubs in their homes.

Squeeking/rubbing noise is commonly the base moving against the overlapping surround - not too serious a thing, but indicates a loose fit so if any significant amount of water impacts or backs up at the base of the surround walls you could get leakage. Sometimes you also gets squeeks against the floor as the tub flexes, and very commonly agaisnt the original tub if this is an insert - can eventually wear through after many years if a significant noise.

Cracking/popping/breaking sounds indicate the bottom (usually) is inadequately supported, so the bottom is sagging under your weight. Manufacturers and installers say "oh, that is justnormal noise" but actually it is gaenerally progressive breaking down of the fiberglass, and eventually will generally result in visible cracks in the fiberglass, or actual cracking open and leakage.

This is VERY common with fiberglass and resin composite tubs and showers and especially replacement liners, because the manufacturers really skimp on the supporting ribs and framing under them - many are basically just hung from their lips. Solution is commonly to pack in a dry portland cement mix (like for making a shower pan base) under the bottom, use foam-in-place non-expanding foam (though that can dissolve some products), or even blow in masons sand (does not work as well unless well up the sides too as it settles over time) to provide a support for the tub. Some types with adequate cross ribbing underneath you can put in supporting strips of wood. All of these solutions require access under the tub - from the underlying ceiling or crawlspace/basement or whatever. And all risk trapping water in the event of leak, and inhibit future repair access.

Or cross your fingers and hope yours will be one of the ones that is noisy but does not crack - though personally I would not put odds on that one, and of course you are risking at some point having a leak- which can be messy if from a shower, can be a personal disaster if from a filled tub when it breaks, because sometimes a crack opening up is sudden and enough to drain a tub far faster than you can drain or empty it out.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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