Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bathtub Repair

Not too long after we moved in our bathtub seemed to be settling.  Then it really began to settle in the back and I knew we had a problem.  I just wasn't quite sure exactly what kind of a problem or how to fix it.

For the past few months we've been very careful using the shower so as not to cause further damage until I could get it repaired.  This past weekend I decided I was brave enough to get in there and get it done.  I'd been thinking about this and contemplating how to do it for quite awhile so I had a pretty good idea of what to do.

On the side of the tub is an access panel so I removed that and laid on the floor with a flashlight to survey the extent of the damage.  It appeared to be water damage as I had suspected and I would be able to fix it the way I had hoped.  Funny thing was to find a brand new toothbrush still in the package sitting under the tub.  I needed one like that to use for scrubbing nooks and crannies.  Score! 

The tub was dry underneath so our efforts to minimize damage were not in vain and by the looks of it this was old damage started previous to us.  I needed to hoist the tub up 3/4 of an inch in the back corner and secure it so it wouldn't settle back down.  Shims appeared to be the best thing to use under the wooden supports to accomplish this due to the little bit of space available to work with.

A view underneath
A trip to Lowes for a package of shims and a tube of silicone caulk was next on the list of things to do.  I was able to use some leverage to get the tub up and the shims in place.  A final shim tapped in with a hammer got them in nice and tight.

Next I had the enjoyable task of removing all the old sealant they had used originally to make the tub enclosure watertight.  I was really glad to be getting rid of this crap.  It was the consistency of plumber's putty but super sticky and gross.  It held onto dirt and hair and even your shampoo bottle.  Cleaning the edge of the tub has been a challenge, not to mention that it also looked incredibly disgusting.

I spent the better part of an hour cleaning off this junk with a putty knife and a razor blade.  Then I used the found toothbrush to "sweep" out all the bits of old caulking before I cleaned all along the edge of the tub with rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol removed all of the residue nicely and left a perfectly clean surface for caulking.  While I did this I also looked for the spot where water had managed to run back there and cause the damage originally.  Fortunately I found the source.  It was only a gap about the size of a dime but it was enough of a space to allow water to run back there.  I knew exactly what to do about it.  I filled that puppy up with silicone.  Nothing is getting back there now. 

So much better!!
I got the entire tub caulked and then put the access panel back on.  Twenty four hours later we were back to showering.  I can't tell you how much better it looks to have all that nasty putty gunk out of there and everything clean and nicely caulked.  Not to mention the peace of mind I have knowing none of us has to worry about falling through the floor anytime soon.

A shot of the found toothbrush and some of the old caulking I scraped off.


  1. I am impressed! Nice job fixing that tub!
    - molly

    1. Thanks! Nothing like a little girl power! :)

  2. Replies
    1. I am having a similar issue and some dread. But I want to use my tub and not fall through the floor. I'm afraid my access isn't as nice as yours. Thank you for posting.

    2. My pleasure Lynne, hope it helps and I wish you all the best on that repair.


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