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  • Interesting advice on Kohler cast iron tub

    I'm putting in a Kohler cast iron tub and had to call the dealer because there were three little black specks in the finish. The guy that came out used to work for Kohler and had some interesting comments that I want to pass on. I'm not a Kohler fan, but the Boss likes the style and look of their porcelain, so I do have some of their stuff. This is what I was told.

    First, the porcelain for white and almond (biscuit) colored tubs and sinks are all done by an automated process, because they make so many. The colored tubs are pretty much all done by hand. The ones made by robot tend to get carbon flecks in the coating. Kohler actually has a spec for an acceptable level (!) of these carbon specks. You see fewer or no black specks in the colored tubs because the material is applied by a person that is actually looking at the tub. I personally returned a white cast iron sink that looked like someone had sprinkled pepper in the porcelain... so this does happen. The replacement sink was fine, though - no visible black specks.

    Second, especially if you're undermounting your iron tub as I am, I was strongly advised to connect up the drain and run water in the tub (hot and cold) and let it sit overnight or longer before you install the tub deck and surround. It's not uncommon that some Kohler tubs develop hairline cracks that go all the way through the porcelain - which don't show up until after you put water in the tub. The cracks are caused by some condition, possibly occurring in manufacturing, possibly in transport handling, that stresses the tub. It could be the weight of the water or the temperature that encourages the cracks to show up. Apparently Kohler gets a number of complaints from customers that see these cracks show up right after putting the tub into service. They will eventually show rust stains. Kohler will replace the tub.... but not the tub deck or surround! In my case, I'm doing a slab granite deck and shower surround. Replacing the tub would mean replacing the granite, which would cost many thousands.

    Just wanted to pass that info on, for whatever it's worth. Hard to believe that Kohler thinks that any black flecks in a white tub would be acceptable. As for the cracking thing -- and I've heard of this hairline crack problem before -- that seems crazy. And Kohler, who isn't shy about charging big money, won't cover the cost of the surround?? Fortunately I think in some states they are by law liable for incidental damages caused by product defects.... I need to look into that a bit more.

    For myself, no more Kohler for future projects.
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