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How to Replace a Bathtub

If your bathtub is old, damaged, or simply outdated and you’re in the market for a new one, replacing it can be done on your own with a little patience, some neighborly help, and the right tools. Here, our bath installation experts share how to do it:

Removing the old bathtub:

  1. Turn off the water supply and lay dropcloths down on your bathroom floor.
  2. Next, remove the bathtub stopper.
  3. After that, use a screwdriver to remove the drain and the overflow drain cover.
  4. Remove your tub spout if you plan on replacing it. (Some have a setscrew that holds them in place and others simply twist off.)
  5. You may also want to remove your ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ knob(s).
  6. After that, use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the main drain pipe and the overflow drain pipe.
  7. If your bathtub is surrounded by three walls, choose a standard measurement (say, five inches) and mark the measurement above each of the three sides of the tub and connect the marks with straight lines.
  8. Next, use your drywall saw to cut along the lines and remove the drywall above your bathtub (down to the studs).
  9. Using a screwdriver, remove all of the screws around the tub. Also remove any moulding around the sides.
  10. After that, use your utility knife to cut away the caulk between the tub and the floor.
  11. Employ a friend or family member to help you lift and move away the bathtub.

Installing the new bathtub:

  1. Place your new tub in the alcove and make sure that the pad on the underside is fully resting on the subfloor.
  2. Make sure the tub is level. If not, use shims to even it out.
  3. Making a note of your measurements, remove the bathtub and prepare it:
    1. Measure and mark the tub’s ledger, then attach the ledger board.
    2. After that, dry fit the drain and water supply pipes.
    3. Locate the bathtub’s overflow tube and install the rubber gasket on it. Then, secure the tube to the tub.
    4. Attach the stopper retaining bracket.
    5. Next, apply a ring of plumber’s putty around the drain flange and secure the drain to the bathtub using screws and your screw driver.
    6. Then, secure the stopper in place (make sure the stopper chain is connected to the stopper).
  4. Put the bathtub back in its place (including any shims you may have used) and fit the water pipe assembly into the drain.
  5. Check to make sure the tub is level.
  6. Then, nail the tub flange to the wall studs.
  7. Turn the water supply back on and make sure everything works properly.

Tools & Materials

  • Dropcloths
  • Screwdriver, screws
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Measuring tape
  • Drywall saw
  • Utility knife
  • Shims
  • Plumber's putty
  • Hammer, nails

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