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How to Replace a Bathtub

replace bathtubBathtubs experience frequent use, and can become quite worn or dated looking over time. Because they can look like the residence of the creature from the black lagoon even when properly cleaned, they are often a frustration for homeowners, prompting the assessment of DIY remodeling skills. Figuring out how to replace a bathtub is possible, however it is important to ensure you have the plumbing, carpentry, drywall, and tiling expertise necessary prior to taking on this herculean task.

How to replace a bathtub step-by-step:

  1. Turn off the water. (If this did not occur to you, it may be a good time to call a professional.)
  2. Measure your current tub to ensure a properly sized replacement tub. Also decide on replacement fixtures.
  3. When determining how to replace a bathtub, measure to ensure the old tub will fit through the door (and the new tub will fit in) with or without the removal of other bathroom fixtures such as your sink and toilet.
  4. Purchase replacement tiles or a solid-surface tub surround.
  5. Protect your bathroom floor by covering it with a tarp or drop cloth.
  6. Unscrew and remove the overflow cover plate and attached drain assembly.
  7. Using a screwdriver and strainer wrench, disconnect the drain, strainer and flange.
  8. Disconnect the waste-and-overflow unit from the drain line, which is typically found below the tub or behind an access panel.
  9. Remove the wall surface and any faucet handles within 20 cm of tub’s edge. This includes removing tile with a putty knife and drywall/plaster with a drywall saw or reciprocating saw.
  10. Remove the now exposed anchor screws securing the tub to the wall studs.
  11. Remove any existing caulk and using a crowbar, pry the tub slightly away from the back wall. Now pry up each end.
  12. Have a friend help you lift the tub upright and remove it.
  13. Prep for the new tub by replacing any damaged floor.
  14. Secure ledger boards to the existing studs at the proper height per manufacturer instructions.
  15. Double-check the new drain and waste-and-overflow unit fit properly.
  16. While the tub is on its side, permanently fit the overflow tube and shoe.
  17. Assemble the drain unit and permanently attach it to the tub.
  18. Carefully move the tub into position without damaging protruding components or the tub.
  19. Level the tub and attach it to the wall studs.
  20. Connect the drain line, pouring water into the tub to check for leaks.
  21. Close the access panel and seal the tub to the wall with a thick bead of caulk to prevent rot.
  22. Install new faucet handles.
  23. Replace missing tiles or install the new tub-surround, sealing seams with caulk.

Overwhelmed at the prospect of replacing your tub?
If you don’t think you can figure out how to replace a bathtub on your own, there’s no shame in seeking professional help. A professional plumber can:

  • Check the dimensions of your current tub to ensure the right fit.
  • Verify you will actually be able to get the replacement tub into your home and bathroom, since your new tub won’t do much good on the porch if your home’s size or layout are an issue.
  • Perform all carpentry, plumbing, drywalling, tiling, and labor, saving you time and frustration.
  • Address any flooring issues that arise from differences in dimension with older tubs.
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
  • Deal with issues arising from old or inadequate plumbing.
  • And more…

Learn how to replace a bathtub right the first time with Express Rooter Plumbing, the exclusive plumbing contractor for television’s Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspections. For a more beautiful bath, contact us today.

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