When to Replace a Bathtub

A modern, marble tile bathroom with an open walk-in shower and bathtub

A hot bath to soak is among the most relaxing things to let your mind rest from the stresses of life. But when cracks in the tub and leaks in the faucet or drain start to distract from your peace, the stress has a way of coming back. Annoying as they are, the cracks and leaks are small issues that don’t merit buying a whole new tub. Cracks can be fixed and leaks can be stopped without huge renovations to the washroom.

Why Is My Bathtub Cracking?

In general, bathtubs are designed to be sturdy and last for a decade or more, and while using it roughly can shorten that lifespan, lack of support is sure to expedite the damage. If there are gaps between the bottom of your tub and the substrate beneath, even general use can put stress on the material.

There are a few reasons bathtubs crack.

  • Heavy objects fall, dent, and eventually weaken the material until it gives out and cracks. This could be from large bottles of shampoo regularly dropping, or washing and dropping hard, heavy objects on the tub floor.
  • Unless it’s made of porcelain, older bathtubs can become brittle and more susceptible to cracking. Aging fiberglass tubs are especially susceptible to damage.
  • When we use chemicals to get rid of scum, staining, or drain clogs, those harsh chemicals can eat away at the tub itself. This weakens the tub material and makes it more prone to dents and cracks.

Cracks don’t have to ruin the tub. Small cracks are easily repaired so the tub can continue serving your family’s bathtime needs for years to come.

Related Topic: Bathroom Upgrades that Don’t Require Complete Renovations

How to Fix a Cracked Bathtub

In addition to being unsightly, cracks can become larger and even start to leak. A simple bathtub repair kit can help you fix your fiberglass or acrylic tub. Most kits will come with a two-part epoxy filling, stir stick, spatula, sandpaper, and sometimes a dish to mix the epoxy.

  • Choose an epoxy or kit made for your tub material. Make sure your kit comes with all the supplies you will need. If not, you can pick them up separately.
  • Sand the crack. Epoxy needs a rough surface to hold on to, so sanding allows the adhesive to hold. If the crack is small, you may need to sand a divot for the epoxy mixture to fill and grasp onto.
  • Thoroughly clean and dry the affected area.
  • Mix the putty with the epoxy. Once you do this, you will have to move quickly, because once the epoxy is exposed to air, it will start to harden within minutes.
  • Use the spatula to stuff as much of the mixture into the crack as you can.
  • Level it off with the spatula. Any excess will have to be sanded off.
  • Allow the epoxy to dry for 24 hours or follow the manufacturer’s requirements.
  • Sand the patch smooth. Sandpaper with 600 grit is strong enough to wear away the filling but soft enough to not scratch your tub surface.
  • If you chose a clear epoxy, you can add a layer of paint to match your tub color.
  • Some kits come with a gloss you can rub on after to match the shine of your fiberglass or acrylic tub.

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Other Bathtub Repairs to Avoid Replacing a Tub

Although cracks may be easily patched, what about leaks? The sources of many leaks around the bathtub are often hidden from view, but—if left unfixed—a leak will eventually lead to water damage. Not only are these leaks hard to access, but they may also require special tools or other expertise to fix.

  • Replace a leaky drain assembly. If your tub is leaking from underneath, it’s possible a seal is failing in the drain assembly.
  • Repair leaking supply lines. Heating and cooling of water through the lines supplying your shower water can eventually cause a nut to loosen, which can cause a leak.
  • Repair leaking bathtub faucet. A leaky faucet can quickly become annoying with its continual drip, drip, drip. The culprit is often a cracked or worn washer in the stem.
  • Repair leaking trip assembly. The trip assembly allows you to control the plugging and draining of your bath water with a simple lever. When the assembly doesn’t work properly, your bath may be slow to drain, and similarly unable to hold water even when closed.

To avoid unintended damage to your washroom, consider requesting help from professionals like your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing to stop leaks fast.

Find Bath Repair Providers Near You

Your bathtub is often a place of comfort where you can relax, unwind and enjoy the moment. But when troublesome leaks and unsightly cracks develop, the outside world and stresses of life may creep back in. Your local plumbing pros at Mr. Rooter can stop those leaks for you. For expert plumbing services, give us a call or request a job estimate online.