Fixing Cracks in the Bathtub

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to talk to Bill from Illinois who’s got some questions about what’s going on with a bathtub. How can we help you?

    BILL: Yeah. I have a – it’s a 28-year-old shower/tub and I’m not sure if it’s ceramic or fiberglass. And I have couple of cracks in it.

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t think there’s an easy fix for a crack in a tub that’s physically cracked. I mean we’ve repaired shower pans, for example, by using fiberglass repair – a fiberglass-repair kit – where, basically, you’re applying a rosin and then you’re impressing fiberglass sort of into the mix and then putting multiple layers of additional rosin on top of that. But it’s not a very attractive finish.

    And I’ve done this in an emergency basis where I had a cracked shower pan. I had a rental apartment, for example, and I wanted to just make it stop leaking so we weren’t bothering the lady below. And we did it and it worked but eventually had to take it out and replace it anyway. So, for a tub that’s physically cracked like that, I don’t have a good solution for you.

    BILL: Figured it would be a tough one.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BILL: I’ve heard of these overlap coverings.

    TOM: Oh, the inserts. Yeah, yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, I think one of the companies is Bath Fitter that does it. It’s not a bad idea except that what we’ve found is that, economically, the cost of a complete bathroom renovation and the cost of doing an insert are not so far apart. It is less expensive than a complete reno but you are restricted to the tub you have now, obviously, and the size of that tub which gets smaller when you put an insert into it. And if you do the renovation, you might have some opportunities to improve the place, improve that space a little bit more than you could by just doing an insert. So it definitely is an option.

    And with the tub that you have now, though, I would suspect if it did physically crack, it’s probably a fiberglass tub that was not properly supported. Because what you’re supposed to do when you put them in is to put a loose mortar mix underneath the tub and then press the tub down into that, which gives it complete and total support across the whole floor. Sometimes, if contractors skip that step, it ends up being a little flexible. And over the years, just getting in and out of the tub, it eventually wears and cracks.

    BILL: Well, actually, I took a fall.

    TOM: Oh, you did? And that’s how it happened?

    BILL: Yeah, that’s how it happened. And I’m OK but just the crack was there and it’s on the upper slope of the tub. So it’s not at the bottom. And I have not had any leakage problem.

    TOM: Well, the proof’s in the pudding. I’d say your options are to tear out and replace or to do an insert. But in terms of patching it, I couldn’t really tell you anything that’s going to be very attractive other than the fiberglass trick.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: Alright, Bill?

    BILL: Alright. I appreciate that.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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