How to Replace a Bathtub

How to Replace a Bathtub

Is your bathtub cracked, faded, leaking, or simply outdated? If so, you might be thinking about replacing it. Is this something you can do on your own? For many do-it-yourselfers, removing a bathtub and installing a new one in its place is a feasible task. However, even if you feel confident working with plumbing, tile, and drywall, keep in mind that a tub is large, heavy, and cumbersome, so you will need to work with a helper.

Before you begin, you’ll want to measure your current bathtub alcove around the shower walls. This will help ensure that you select the right-sized replacement tub. Most standard bathtubs are 5 feet long and either 30 or 32 inches wide. Because the shower wall surfaces take up some space, your measurement will be slightly less. When selecting your replacement tub, choose the size closest to your measurement.

Next, face the alcove and determine the location of the drain pipe. If the drain opening is on the left, look for a left-drain replacement bathtub; if it’s on the right, look for a right-drain replacement bathtub.

Step One: Removing the Old Tub

When you’re ready to tackle the tub removal, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Turn off the water supply to the tub.
  • Using a tub drain wrench, remove the drain flange.
  • Using a screwdriver, remove the overflow valve cover.
  • Remove the tub spout (if it does not have a setscrew, it should twist off when you turn it counterclockwise).
  • Gain access to the drain assembly (if there is no access panel behind the wall, cut away the drywall directly behind the overflow valve and down to the floor).
  • Using channel lock pliers, disconnect the drain pipe below the “T” where the drain and overflow valve meet (you may need to use a penetrating lubricant to loosen the joints first).
  • After loosening the nut connecting the drainpipe, unscrew it by hand and remove the entire drain assembly.
  • Using a straight edge, mark a guideline approximately 6 inches above the tub, all the way around.
  • Cut out a 6-inch section of the wall above the tub on each of its three sides.
  • If you need to remove tile, use a grout removal tool to cut along a grout line, and pry away the tiles with a putty knife. Then use a drywall saw to cut the drywall and remove the section between the guideline and the tub down to the studs.
  • Clear everything away so you have access to the screws or nails attaching the tub flange to the studs.
  • Using a pry bar, remove the screws or nails around the tub.
  • Using a utility knife, cut away any caulk between the tub and the floor.
  • Lift the front edge of the tub and ask your helper to slide a few boards underneath it.
  • Slide the tub out of the alcove using the boards as skids.
  • Clean the exposed alcove, removing any leftover nails and debris.

Step Two: Installing the New Tub

Now, it’s time to install your replacement tub! Together with your helper, carefully set the tub onto the skids, then slide it into the alcove. Once the tub is in the proper position, confirm that it is level; if not, use shims to even it out. Next, you’ll need to connect the drain, attach the spout, and secure the tub in place. Finally, you’ll need to finish off the walls with drywall and tile or a tub surround.

When to Enlist the Help of a Professional

If you don’t feel 100% confident about any of the steps outlined above, your best option is to hire a professional contractor. BathWraps has a wide network of authorized dealers who have the expertise necessary to flawlessly complete your bathtub replacement project in as little as one day!

Click here to find an authorized BathWraps dealer near you.