Bathtubs - Fiberglass/Plastic/Metal?


#1

Friends -

I’ve got a range of Lonnie Deals - from really dumpy homes (1973 Bell) to several very nice homes with hardwood floors (2001 Oakwood).

What sort of tubs should I be installing?

Thank you,

-jl-


#2

Jefferson, tubs are an item that should be purchased from MH supply,and here is why. Standard residential tubs measure 60" in length. MH tubs measure 54" long. Using the same size replacement will save 10’s of manhours over converting and all the associated modifications. ABS is the most common MH size tub, and while they are not built for the ages, their flexible characteristics make them MUCH easier to get in bathroom than a more durable, but rigid fiberglass tub.


#3

Jefferson,

I’ve been saying for a while now that the motto of the MH parts industry must be “Inferior products, at Premium Prices!” So much of this stuff is junk, and MH tubs certainly fit into that category.

Shawn is right about the different sizes of tubs. However, I have had a few homes where standard residential steel tubs DID fit. (most recently, a 1986 Vista 14x70).

Here’s something to consider… there have been several cases where the layout of the bathroom permitted us to install a standard steel tub by simply moving a small piece of wall (the part with the shower head typically) and the associated plumbing changes for the larger tub. The cost of this was around $25 in parts and maybe $75 in labor (highly dependent on who you have doing the work). So for an extra $100, we get a nice steel tub that will outlive the home, and looks nicer too.

However, this $100 in extra cost is more than offset by the fact we are using LESS expensive materials. Last time I bought a MH plastic tub AND surround kit was over $300 if I remember correctly. Our steel tub only cost $100 or so, and another $50 for a surround. So we actually saved $50 and have a nicer finished product.

Of course, not all bathroom layouts will allow this modification but in cases where it works it’s a no-brainer to me.

Jeff


#4

Jefferson,

I last paid $123.09 for a 54" fiberglass tub “with composite technology” from Blevins Inc. It is a sturdy tub. I buy the 5 piece tub surround from Lowe’s for $54. You can buy the $35 jobs but they show EVERY defect under the surround.

Steve


#5

Steve, I wish I had a Blevins in my state, or at least close enough it made sense to buy stuff there. Sooo much cheaper. I’m stuck with the resellers that buy from Blevins at steep markups. Even though I have negotiated discounts, it’s still expensive.

PS My $300 price was referring to those crappy “garden” tubs with the step on the front, not a standard one.