Jetted to Soaker Tub Conversion

One of the big struggles I used to have with my house was the non-working jetted tub in my bathroom that I inherited when I purchased my new house. In the first photo, the “before” photo was the picture I took the day I looked at the house. You’ll notice I replaced all the hardware to brushed nickel in the after photos, but I promise it’s the same tub.

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For many reasons, I wanted to work with the tub as it is if at all possible. I love the large tub but I didn’t like the jets and the uncleanliness of them. I had stopped using the tub when I noticed unpleasant odors a few hours after each use. Originally, I thought it was the drain but upon researching I learned how water goes into those jets and stays stagnant. Each time I used the tub, old water was coming back in there. Ewwww, I just shudder at the thoughts! Not to mention I’d occasionally find a small piece of black trash in the tub which I’d chalked down to that it must have come from the old water pipes.

Figuring out which way to go with this was not an easy decision, and in my typical over-analyzing fashion, I researched every option. The option that was ideal (jet covers) just is not available. After countless hours and numerous days of researching, I found this question by a patron of the houzz.com website. Going through the 78 comments, I found a couple of solutions but the easier one seemed to be the door shield project.

I purchased 5 Door Knob and Wall Shields (3 1/4 inches) from Home Depot. Then I purchased 1 Marine Goop Sealant tube from Walmart and I was ready to do this.

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It seemed crazy to put the door shields inside a tub but when I purchased them and took them out of the package, the hard plastic was convincing. “What do I have to lose??”

My tub has 4 jets and then the intake.  I removed all foam backing tape from all 5 shields so that they were  flat and clean surfaces. I made sure the tub and all jets were super clean and super dry. I took the Goop and applied it liberally to four of the shields.  (Please be sure to ventilate as much as possible and/or wear a mask as the Goop is quite strong.) Then I adhered each shield to a jet. I used masking tape in an “X” formation over each jet to be sure it didn’t slide or move around while drying.

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(Please note, the “before” picture was one I took the day I purchased my house. The cabinetry and the faucet and hardware were converted from the old brass/gold to brushed nickel so it may appear slightly different in some of the older vs. newer photos.)

For the intake, this was a bit tricky. The size was too large so I used a Dremel to cut the excess off and then sand the edges. It does not have to be perfectly cut, just as long as it fits under the intake cap and is large enough to cover the opening.

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Then I cut the notches out for the screw holes on the intake, using the Dremel. I took a little off at a time until it fit in the opening snugly.

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Then, it fit perfectly over the opening. (Please note, this is clean, but that’s some sort of adhesive on it. It was bleached multiple times.)

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Next, I purchased some Kwik Seal Ultra Premium Siliconized Sealant for Kitchen Bath and Plumbing applications at Walmart.

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Since the recommendation was to allow the Marine Goop to dry for 72 hours, I went on to the next project, the intake cover.

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Since the cover is full of holes, I decided to cover the holes with silicone sealant. First, I took the cover and squeezed sealant into each hole. Then I used my finger to make sure each one was full of the silicone and smooth. I made sure not to get any sealant in the holes where the screws go. I let this dry 24 hours and then I turned it over and did the outside the same way.

After 72 hours had passed, I caulked around each door shield, as well as around the notches I cut for the screw holes of the intake cap. I waited 24 hours for that to completely dry and then I screwed on the intake cap and caulked around that.

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I’ve been using this tub for over a month with not one single issue noted. Not one whiff of an odor or one spec of any trash anywhere in the tub. SUCCESS!!!

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Door shields were $1.69 each, Goop was $9.52 and the silicone was $6.32. Total cost for converting my non-working jetted whirlpool tub to a soaker tub  was $24.29 (not including tax).

Sometimes you have to be bold and make a decision to try something you are unsure of trying. This one worked, so I had to share it in more detail. I’m so grateful to jasond7123 on the Houzz website for pointing me in the right direction. Hopefully,this blog post does you proud!

Helpful Hint: Don’t Skimp on Good Caulk

This might sound like a silly post, but it made such a huge difference to me. One thing that’s bothered me for a while is the caulk around our tub in our main bathroom.

When we bought this house about 5 years ago, we did a whole lot of renovations. For the bathroom/tub area, all old caulk was removed and new caulk was put down. In our bathroom, one of our buddies caulked the tub with some sort of caulk we had. Let me first stress this…never skimp on caulk. Spend the extra few cents or dollar for the good stuff. It is so very worth it because now the tub caulk which was the cheap stuff looked horrible! I wish I’d thought to take a before photo for you but imagine it wrinkled up and in general looking ugly. Plus I think he may have laid it on super thick and wide, too. But alas, after several years, Charles and I scraped all the old caulk off yesterday and then I re-caulked it. It looks soooooo good!

That was actually one of my goals for this month, so I’m thrilled to mark it off  my list. 🙂

Check this out:

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There’s another caulking project that we completed, too, where we skimped on a good quality caulk. It was around our front door.  Two projects down and like a zillion more to go… 🙂