Tiny House RV Tub Skirt being installed

Plumbing Leak + New Tub Install

A few days ago as I pulled up to the tiny house and my headlights shone on the front I noticed noticed some water coming down the trailer frame.  As I approached I noticed it was only a trickle but since it hadn’t rained recently my fears quickly escalated.

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I knew that behind the wall above that area was some connections for the house plumbing. I also knew that it was behind my bathtub which would mean demo work to get to it.

After turning off the water coming into the house to chat with the wife we decided what to do.  We have been wanting to put in a new bathtub as the horse trough bathtub wasn’t ideal for several reasons mentioned in this post and this post. If I was going to be tearing out the existing bathtub to get to a leak now was the perfect time to tackle this project.

We set up to have my wife and our son stay the weekend at her parents house and I got to work.

The general things I had to tackle were:

  1. Ordering a new bathtub – I went with a Lippert 24″ x 40″ white ABS Acrylic RV Bathtub via Amazon’s 2 day shipping which ran me about $130.

  2. Demo’ing the existing bathtub.  This took me a couple of hours.  I used basic tools, hammer, screw driver, and some mini pry bars.  After getting everything (tub, tub frame, wall paneling around the tub, insulation, etc) out I found some water damage and mold. I also found that the vinyl plank flooring had some water/mold issues underneath where we stepped out of the bathtub….meaning that had to come up as well. Next up….

  3. Mold remediation – I started by getting all the demoed and mold spore covered materials into bags and out of the house. I then sprayed and scrubbed all of the wood that had mold on it, threw in a de-humidifier and a fan in the area and closed it off.  By the next morning it was mostly dry.  I sprayed it down again with a Mold Control, scrubbed again, then once again set it all to dry with a fan and dehumidifier for another 8 or so hours.

  4. After it dried I repaired the leaky fixture.  It was a corner connection.  If I could redo the entire house’s connections I’d redo them with the crimp tool (video describing that below) vs the clamp tool/connectors I used originally.

  5. Then I installed my new bathtub fixture – Since the hot water heater we got was very inexpensive and our water pressure is lower than a normal house’s water pressure a single cartridge bathtub fixture doesn’t provide enough pressure for the hot water/cold water mixture to run a good shower/bath.  Instead we went with a cheapo $50 dual cartridge (separate hot and cold knobs).  Installing it meant cutting connections and more crimp tool.  It also meant water got on the floor again.

  6. Dried and dehumidified the area again.

  7. Next up was painting the entire area (that will be hidden) with Killz paint.  It keeps mold at bay if this happens again.

  8. Next I put new insulation in and finished the area off with a vapor barrier.

  9. Since the new tub had the drain on the appropriate side (under the faucet) and I couldn’t drill a new hole into the trailer because of a metal trailer support beam being in the way under the trailer I had to raise up the tub a bit using a platform.  The platform had to be structurally sound enough to hold the tub so I went with 3/4″ plywood supported by 2×4 supports.

  10. With the tub dry fitted on the platform in the new location I worked on the 1/4″ panel repair for sections I had to remove.  I also had to build a small 1″ extension behind the tub since my wall was just a bit short.  I cut a hole in the wall by the shower/tub connections to test it after the tub was in for leaks (good thing I did to cause I found a very small one I was able to fix).

  11. Next up was drainage plumbing.  Initially I had schedule 20 (thin) PVC coming up through the floor.  Schedule 20 PVC is meant to be used right at the last bit of the drain and uses compression fittings rather than PVC glue.  So I needed to go under the trailer, cut before the schedule 20 conversion PVC pipe and then run Schedule 40 (thicker) 1..5″ PVC up through the floor, angled slightly to the drain up through the platform and to the tub’s drain.  Once dry fitted I glued it all together and got it in place and attached.

  12. Next I worked on the face frame of the tub where the lip of the RV bathtub would hang over.  Since its Acrylic/Plastic it isn’t very sturdy on its own so needs the support of a frame.  I created it out of 2×2’s and a 1/4″ panel and its all screwed in so that I can remove it if needed to do work under the tub.

  13. I then applied the FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) wrap around to the front skirt area along with the parts behind the tub.  I’ll need to clean it up a bit later but for now it’ll work just fine.  It was applied with construction glue and then everything was caulked to keep water out.  I had a bit of an issue with the round inside corners of the bathtub and the square nature of the FRP but I’d selected this option rather than a $200 wrap around addition to the tub so I just caulked a bit more and did some creative cuts to make it work.

  14. After that was done I got the new rolled vinyl installed.  Pretty simple stuff, clean the floor, make sure its level, cut out the general shape you need, lay it down, then get your cuts around things more accurate.  Then put down your goop (glue) and spread it around using a cheapo tool, then if its a small area (this was) use a rolling pin to get bubbles out and get it fit properly.

  15. After that it was time to put the toilet back in with a new wax seal.

  16. I then caulked around the vinyl floor and walls and tub so that no more water can get there.

  17. Next up I put in trim work around the floor and once again caulked to keep out moisture (seeing a pattern of learned lessons here?)

  18. And that’s a wrap!

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