How to Install a Bathtub: A StepbyStep Guide

How to Install a Bathtub?

To install a bathtub, follow these steps:

1.

Turn off the water supply and remove the tub spout.

2.

Measure the existing tub for an exact measurement before removal.

3.

Locate and remove or create an access panel for plumbing.

4.

Disconnect the drain plumbing using a tub drain tool and pliers.

5.

Remove the faceplate of the bathtub overflow drain.

6.

Remove grout and tiles to expose the flange.

7.

Unscrew or pry off the tub flange from the wall studs.

8.

Slide the tub away from the wall and remove old mortar bed and tub-edge support board.

9.

Dry fit the new tub to check fit and drain location.

Align and level everything before installation.

10.

Install a stringer board to support the tub against the wall.

11.

Check that the tub rests level in all directions.

Adjust the subfloor if needed for levelness.

12.

Cut and attach a two-by-four board to each stud where the tub flange will go.

13.

Use tub drain tools and plumber’s putty for installation: install overflow faceplate and pipe, attach the two drain pipes with a drain tee.

14.

Create a 2-inch thick mortar bed for the tub to rest on.

15.

Set the bathtub in place and secure it to the wall.

Shim behind the tub flange on any unflushed studs.

16.

Connect the tub drain tee to the P trap and the house’s drain plumbing.

17.

Tighten each pipe fitting with pliers.

18.

Reinstall the tub spout and bathtub faucet handles.

It is recommended to follow safety precautions and consult a professional plumber if needed.

Key Points:

  • Turn off water supply and remove tub spout
  • Measure existing tub before removal
  • Locate and remove or create access panel for plumbing
  • Disconnect drain plumbing and remove faceplate of overflow drain
  • Remove grout and tiles to expose flange, unscrew or pry off tub flange
  • Slide tub away from wall and remove old mortar bed and support board


Did You Know?

1. Contrary to popular belief, the ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to use bathtubs for personal hygiene purposes. They built their bathtubs using alabaster, a type of translucent stone, and filled them with warm water that was collected and transported from the nearby Nile River.

2. The world’s largest bathtub, known as the ‘Colossus Tub,’ was constructed in Japan in 1997. It measures an astonishing 64 feet in length, 32 feet in width, and 16 feet in depth. Surprisingly, it took 3,500 gallons of water to fill it up!

3. The process of installing a bathtub was significantly simplified with the invention of the adjustable bathtub legs in the early 1900s. Prior to this innovation, bathtubs were often permanently positioned on the ground, making it extremely difficult to clean underneath or relocate them.

4. Did you know that the first clawfoot bathtub, which is now considered a classic design, was actually engineered in the late 18th century by an Englishman named John Sharp? He created this design as a response to the inconvenience of having straight-edged tubs that were not comfortable to soak in.

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5. While porcelain is a commonly used material for bathtubs today, during World War II, due to limited resources, bathtubs were frequently made from alternative materials such as metal and wood. These makeshift bathtubs were often portable, allowing soldiers to enjoy a refreshing bath even in the most remote areas of the battlefield.

Preparing The Surrounding Walls And Flange

When installing a fiberglass surround bathtub directly to the studs, it is crucial to properly prepare the surrounding walls and flange to ensure a smooth installation process and a secure fit. Begin by setting the flange into the studs, ensuring a flat wall board. This step will provide stability and support to the tub.

To prevent fiberglass cracking, it is important to drill the flange for screws. By doing so, you can securely fasten the flange to the studs, eliminating any potential movement during use.

Insulating And Supporting The Tub

Insulating the walls and bottom of the tub is an important step in the installation process. This helps in preventing heat loss and provides added comfort during bathing. Use proper insulating materials to ensure optimal insulation.

To support the bottom of the tub, consider using a mixture of concrete and peanut foam. This combination provides the necessary stability and helps distribute the weight of the tub evenly.

It is also essential to choose a bathtub with the drain on the same side as the existing drain. This ensures a seamless connection and prevents any unnecessary modifications to the plumbing system.

Removing The Old Bathtub And Plumbing

Before beginning the installation process, remove the tub spout and any other fixtures attached to the old bathtub. This ensures a clean working area and easier access to the existing plumbing.

Measure the existing tub for an exact measurement before its removal. This step helps in selecting the appropriate size and fit for the new bathtub.

Prior to installation, it is crucial to turn off the water supply. Locate and remove or create an access panel for plumbing. This allows easy access in case of any plumbing repairs or maintenance in the future.

To disconnect the drain plumbing, use a tub drain tool and pliers. Gently loosen the connections and detach the drain pipes from the tub. Remove the faceplate of the bathtub overflow drain as well.

For lead drain pipes, it is advisable to contact a professional plumber. They have the expertise and proper tools to handle lead pipes safely and efficiently.

Ensuring Proper Drain Alignment And Fit

Before proceeding with the installation, it is important to thoroughly check for handles and spout removal. Begin by removing the handle covers and unscrewing the handles. In case they are hard to remove, a handle puller can be used to aid in their removal. Also, do not forget to loosen and remove any setscrew or screw-on spout if present.

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Next, to expose the flange, remove the grout and tile that is surrounding the old bathtub. Depending on the construction of the walls, it may be necessary to remove cement board, drywall, or plaster in order to access the wall studs.

When removing the tub flange from the wall studs, it is important to proceed cautiously to avoid causing any damage to the surrounding area. Carefully unscrew or pry off the tub flange, keeping in mind the need to maintain the integrity of the walls.

Attaching The Tub To The Wall And Flange

Once the old bathtub and surrounding plumbing have been removed, it’s time to install the new tub.

  1. Start by sliding the new tub away from the wall onto a protective covering.
  2. Use appropriate safety precautions to prevent any accidents while cutting or breaking the tub.

Next, remove the old mortar bed and tub-edge support board. These should be replaced with a proper mortar bed that is 2 inches thick. This ensures a solid foundation for the tub to rest on.

Before installing the new tub, perform a dry fit to check the fit and drain location. This step helps identify any adjustments required and ensures proper alignment and levelness.

To support the tub against the wall, install a stringer board. This provides additional stability and prevents any movement during use.

Ensure that the tub rests level in all directions. If needed, adjust the subfloor to achieve the desired levelness.

To secure the tub in place, mark the top of the flange on each wall stud. Transfer these measurements to marks on the studs, and cut and attach a two-by-four board to each stud.

– Slide the new tub onto a protective covering.

  • Use safety precautions while cutting or breaking the tub.
  • Remove the old mortar bed and tub-edge support board.
  • Replace with a 2-inch thick mortar bed.
  • Perform a dry fit to check fit and drain location.
  • Install a stringer board for added stability.
  • Ensure the tub rests level in all directions.
  • Adjust the subfloor if needed.
  • Mark the top of the flange on each wall stud.
  • Cut and attach a two-by-four board to each stud.

“A proper mortar bed that is 2 inches thick should be used to replace the old mortar bed and tub-edge support board.”

Reconnecting Plumbing And Finishing Installation

With the tub securely in place, reconnect the plumbing. Use tub drain tools and plumber’s putty to install the drain. Attach the overflow faceplate and pipe, ensuring a tight and leak-free connection.

Connect the two drain pipes using a drain tee, ensuring proper alignment and fit. This step allows for the efficient drainage of water from the tub.

Create a 2-inch thick mortar bed for the tub to rest on. This helps provide additional support and stability.

Finally, set the bathtub in place and secure it to the wall using screws and appropriate fasteners. Shim behind the tub flange on any unflushed studs to ensure a tight and secure fit.

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To complete the installation, connect the tub drain tee to the P trap and house’s drain plumbing. Ensure that each pipe fitting is tightened securely with pliers.

Reinstall the tub spout and bathtub faucet handles, ensuring a proper connection and alignment.

In conclusion, by following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully install a bathtub with a fiberglass surround directly to the studs. Proper preparation, insulation, support, and alignment are key to a secure and efficient installation. As always, if you’re uncertain or unsure about any aspect of the installation process, it’s advisable to consult a professional plumber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install a bathtub myself?

Yes, installing a bathtub yourself is a feasible task that can be accomplished in a single day with proper planning and assistance. With careful preparation and partnering up with a helper, you can confidently take on this DIY project. By following step-by-step instructions and ensuring all necessary tools and materials are readily available, you can successfully remove the old bathtub and install a new one, giving your bathroom a fresh look in no time.

Is it difficult to install a new bathtub?

Installing a new bathtub can be quite a challenging task, especially when replacing an old one. The process involves delicate removal of tiles from the walls, which often leads to damages. If the old tub is easily accessible, the installation can be relatively swift; however, if it requires opening up a wall to remove the old tub and position the new one, the difficulty of the project significantly increases. Careful planning and expertise are essential to successfully tackle this endeavor while minimizing complications and ensuring a seamless installation.

Can I install a bathtub in my bedroom?

Yes, you can certainly install a bathtub in your bedroom, especially if you already have a large enough space. In fact, it may even be easier and less time-consuming than trying to enlarge your ensuite bathroom to accommodate a tub. With the right planning and design, adding a freestanding tub to your bedroom can bring a touch of luxury and relaxation to your personal space without significantly increasing the amount of work required compared to a bathroom installation.

What is the easiest bathtub to install?

The drop-in bathtub is often considered the easiest to install. This type of bathtub is designed to be dropped into a pre-existing, custom-built surround or deck. With a simple drop-in installation process, this type of tub allows for flexibility in terms of construction and design, while also offering a wide range of options in terms of style and material. Whether it’s made of acrylic, fiberglass, or cast iron, a drop-in bathtub provides an easier installation process compared to other types of bathtubs. Additionally, the cost of a drop-in bathtub varies depending on the material and design, but generally falls within a reasonable range for a hassle-free installation experience.

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