Easy tub installation on remodel job

Installing a tub on a remodel job can be difficult because the Sheetrock on the opposing back wall (adjacent room) is not removed. Installing the ledger board becomes a trial-and-error operation — mark the top edge of the tub, subtract the tub ledge thickness and set the ledger accordingly. If there is a gap as a result, the tub is not fully supported.

I found a method that permits a quick and sure installation. Using 1/2-in. plywood, I cut two J-shaped holders for the 2 x 4. I then cradle the 2 x 4 in the J holders and attach them to the studs at a slightly lower point than the tub ledge. After setting the tub, I draw the J holders up until the 2 x 4 contacts the tub underside, at which point I reattach the holders. I then remove the tub, permanently set the ledger and remove the holders, and then finally reset the tub.

Marty McDowell

McDowell Plumbing

Rising Sun, Md.



Pitching back one-pipe steam radiators

For one-pipe steam radiators to work properly, they must have pitch back to the supply side to allow the condensate to run back to the boiler. No pitch means no heat. Sometimes both sides need shims. In the past we have used all kinds of shim material, but nothing as good as this. Take an old oak or hickory shovel or rake handle and cut individual “biscuits” for shims — 1 in., 3/4 in., 1/2 in., etc. — and insert under the radiator. Works great, and looks great, too.

Brian Fosbre

Fosbre Town Plumbing & Heating

Dunellen, N.J.



One-man installation of basket and tub strainers

Cut a piece of 1-in. galvanized pipe 12 in. long (galvanized for cleanliness and strength compared to black iron pipe or copper pipe). Cut a notch on one side to fit strainers. On the other side, cut a notch to fit nuts on various faucets. A 10-in. wrench to hold back or tighten works well. I have used this for years and it allows for one-man installation.

Felix E. Courteau

Retired union plumber

Spencer, Mass.


Send Us Your Tool Tips

  If you have an idea that has saved you time and money, Plumbing & Mechanical would like to share your tip with our readers.The first-place winner each month will receive a Kinetic Water Ram from General Pipe Cleaners with a retail value of $325. Read here for more details.