Fiberglass tubs are known for being inexpensive and short-lived. Most of them will last between ten and fifteen years, on average, as opposed to twenty-plus years for a porcelain tub. That said, the first thing that usually happens with a fiberglass tub is that the bottom cracks or splits. While this does not seem like a big deal, it can actually cause a lot more damage than what you see. Here are some of the dangers of a cracked fiberglass tub and how to fix it.
Mold and Mildew
Just underneath the fiberglass bottom is a cushion of material that helps support the tub and keep water from seeping to wood below. The problem is, most of the time this layer also eventually cracks from the weight of the humans standing over and above the cracked tub bottom. Water, skin cells, etc., seep into this underlayer and gradually rot. It creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which you cannot clean out because you cannot get to it or see it.
Rotting Floor Boards
Worse still, if the shower/tub water gets way down past the support layer for the tub, it goes directly on top of the floor boards used to create the base floor in your bathroom. Now you have water damage and possibly more mold and rot accumulating right under the tub. As it continues to spread outward, the floor boards could weaken and bust out from underneath the tub, leaving no support. When this happens, every step on that crack leads to a possible cave-in or a collapse of the central part of the tub.
How to Fix It
There are three ways you can fix this problem. Two are temporary solutions and the final option is permanent. Weigh each one carefully based on the length of time you have had this crack in your fiberglass tub.
Good old duct tape—it is waterproof and it will seal the crack, but you will have to avoid stepping on this area or skidding your feet across it. Baths are not recommended as it could loosen the tape.
Fiberglass crack filler—There are tub caulks that can temporarily fix this issue. Look for one that is specifically made for filling fiberglass cracks and is non-toxic to humans. It will seal the crack, but you should still not take a bath—showers only.
Replacement tub—Yes, this is the most expensive option, but it does restore full use of your tub/shower to you, and you do not have to worry about frequent bathtub repairs when the duct tape or crack fillers fail.
For more information, contact local professionals like Mountain Valley Septic Services.