Replacing your Bathtub
LESLIE: Well, if you’re remodeling your bathroom you’d be like our next caller. Carolyn in New York, how can we help you on this adventure?
CAROLYN: I’m planning to remodel my bathroom in a month or so and I’ve got a couple of questions.TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.CAROLYN: One, as far as the type of bathtub I’ll get – I’m going to take out my existing tub and I’m not sure if I should put in a new cast-iron tub or fiberglass or acrylic or I think there’s a porcelain over steel.
TOM: What’s your style?
CAROLYN: Oh, it’s just a small bathroom in about a 50-year-old house and I’m not – you know, I haven’t gotten everything – you know, all the fixtures picked out yet.
CAROLYN: But I’ve been advised a couple of different ways. I’ve got a few estimates and most people say to go with the cast-iron and then one person said, “No, not the cast-iron. Just get a fiberglass tub.”
TOM: Well, I mean the cast-iron is going to last indefinitely and that’s sort of the old, traditional way to go.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And they’re beautiful and they’re deep and you can get a claw-footed one and you can get a beautiful sort of free-standing tub. I mean, it’s truly a classic choice.
TOM: Yeah. But fiberglass is a less expensive choice but it’s going to have more maintenance associated with it. How long do you plan on living in the house, Carolyn? Is this the house for as many years as possible or is this a house that you might have just for a couple of years and you may need to sell?
CAROLYN: Well, probably at least 10 years I’ll be here.
LESLIE: Tom, when she’s choosing, say, fiberglass or cast iron, is there anything to consider like perhaps the floor joists, their direction, as far as the weight of the tub plus the weight of water?
TOM: I don’t think so because I imagine in a 50-year-old house you probably have a cast-iron tub right now.
CAROLYN: Right, I do. I have a cast-iron tub now.
TOM: Yeah. Have you thought about having the existing tub reglazed?
CAROLYN: Well, I’ve been told that that doesn’t last that long.
TOM: Well, it doesn’t but it’s a lot less expensive.
TOM: I mean, you could probably get several years out of it.
CAROLYN: Well, they’ll be taking the walls down and retiling. That’s another question that I have, too, is that – can I tile over the existing ceramic tile or should they rip the floor out and put new underlayment and new tile?
TOM: If you’re going to replace the tub, then you probably want to take all the old tile down. If you were keeping the tub and you wanted to put another layer of tile, you can, in fact, put tile on top of tile. As long as you have a good tile installer that can make the corners look nice and neat and nothing is terribly – looks out of place, it is possible. It’s done on floors all the time.
CAROLYN: OK. Alright. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.