How to Install Your New Izzi Acrylic Bath
Framing the Tub
First, frame a level tub deck using pressure treated 2x4 lumbers. The rough opening should be approximately 1-2 inches smaller on all sides than the actual tub. This will allow the whirlpool, air bath, or soaking bath to drop into the opening without obstruction and for the flange of the bath to rest on the framing.
Most decks can be built at a height of 20-24 inches or higher to allow proper room for setting and installation of the plumbing, waste overflow, and drain. You should refer to the specification sheet for your particular model for more information on the size and height of your tub deck.
If you are using an oval drop-in bathtub, you will need to build a plywood sub-deck and cut out the hole for the tub, which will be 1-2 inches smaller than the tub itself. Ask your sales representative for a template, place the template on the plywood, and trace around it. Then use a jigsaw to cut the hole for the tub. It is a good idea to check the fit of an oval drop-in bathtub before applying the waterproof decking material and the bath is usually installed on top of the finished deck.
Building codes require that there is an access door no smaller than 16”x16” in order to access the whirlpool pump and other equipment. Soaking tubs do not require this access door. It is easiest to locate the access through an adjacent wall such as a toilet room, garage, or closet. The access can also be through a cabinet. It is less desirable to create the access through the front tiled deck or tiles walls because of the cost and difficulty in making the door both attractive and functional.
The access door should allow the homeowner to easily reach in and discount the pump for the whirlpool and remove it from under the deck.
The pump should be close enough to the access panel to make removal easy and to prevent the unnecessary removal of piping and framing. When you order your Izzi bath, you are given an option for the location of the pump to facilitate the accessibility.
All Izzi whirlpool and air baths require a dedicated 115 volt, 20 amp GFCI circuit to supply power to the bath. A standard GFCI electrical outlet should be placed within 24 inches of the blower or pump location. Optional equipment such as inline heaters and dual pump systems or air/therapy combinations will require additional power and will need their own dedicated circuits. Please refer to our electrical specifications page on this website, or ask your sales representative for more information.
Waste Overflow & Drain
The waste overflow, drain, and faucets are installed after the bath is set into the deck and before setting materials are used to level and secure the bath. This is because it is easier to install the piping to the faucets and the drain when the tub can be moved and adjusted. This part of the installation is usually done by a professional plumber, but can also be performed by a handyman or knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer. It is important to use a good quality faucet due to the fact that this area will be covered up and changing it out in the future can be expensive.
Setting the Tub
After the drain and faucet are connected, the final step is to add support under the base of the bath so that the bearing weight is transferred to the floor or slab and not to the framed deck and tile. If the weight is allowed to transfer to the tile, you could have problems with the grout cracking under the weight of the water when filled.
Supporting the bottom of the bath is very easy with Izzi baths. Most plumbers recommend setting the tub in 2-4 inches of mortar. It only needs to be in the area of the floor or base of the bathtub because it is supporting the filled weight of the tub and transferring it to the floor beneath it. Check the level of your bath and shim if needed, then mortar it in, fill the bath with water, and let sit for 48-72 hours. The extra weight of the water in the bath will keep gaps from occurring. Foam is NOT a good alternative for mortar and is NOT recommended for support. Foam can expand, pushing the tub up during installation, and it can also have voids which will reduce the surface transfer of weight. Foam can also break down over time and cause problems with the weight of the tub shifting.
Due to the superior construction of the Izzi baths, you don’t have to be concerned with flexing any of the bottom surfaces of the bath. The floor or bottom of each Izzi bath is approximately one inch in thickness.
After the mortar is set, connect the equipment on the tub and run it before enclosing the tub. Check for any leaks and insure that all the equipment is operating correctly.
The final preparation of a bathtub enclosure for tile, paint, or other wall finish is the installation of water-resistant drywall, typically referred to as “green board”. It is acceptable to use pressure treated plywood sheathing to build your bath deck, but this should still be covered in a waterproof green board and not left as the subsurface for the tile. The reason for this is that the tile grout will transfer moisture to the underlying wood and it will swell when exposed to the moisture.
The deck can also be built of cultured or real marble or granite. These materials are waterproof and usually are installed in slabs that don’t require any special subsurface.
If you’re planning on a shower/bath combination, be sure to request that a tiling flange be installed on the tub at the factory. This flange keeps water from going between the tub and the drywall or frame. In a shower/bath combination, you can also bring the tile down in front of the flange.
Framing Skirted Bathtubs
Skirted bathtubs are designed for installation into a framed alcove, and functions as a bath and shower combination.
- Frame a ledger on all three walls of the alcove (1x4 or 2x4) so the bath will be suspended by a height of ½ inch to 1 inch at its lowest point when sled into the framing. The ledger board supports the tub deck flange and assures a level installation and stable surface for tiling. The height of the ledger varies according to model from 18-20 inches and you should refer to the specification sheet, however, a field measurement should be performed to assure the best height. Insure that the skirt is touching the floor, and then install the bath approximately 1 inch off the floor to provide easier connection of the drain and waste overflow assembly.
- After the bath is leveled in the alcove and resting on the ledger board, adjust the support legs to the floor to share the load of the bath with the ledger board.
- At this point, the drain can be connected and the bath equipment tested.
- If the sub-floor is not entirely stable, shims or mortar may also be used to prevent movement. Stepping into the bath is a good test of stability.
- The tiling flange is intended to prevent leaks. Green board and tile are then installed over the tiling flange.
The reason for the ledger is to add support and prevent any movement that may cause a grout line crack in the future. For example, if someone heavy were to place their foot on the tub flange. An entire ledger board is not necessary as long as the back, front, and middle have support at each stud. This can be accomplished by screwing a wood block under the flange to the stud wall. The most important locations are the right and left ends of the tub as well as the middle.
The underside of the flange is a consistent, even-trimmed edge and the simplest setting method is to suspend the tub from the pre-leveled ledger and then lower the legs to the floor.
After completion, you should test your work by applying your weight to the flange in various locations and watch for any movement or setting. If the surface of the desk is solid, you are good to go. Otherwise, add additional support.
If skirted bathtubs were installed without a ledger board, we recommend a professional be called in to add the supports onto the bath.