How to Replace a Bathtub

Whether it's upgrading a home or enhancing the bathing experience, installing a bathtub is often an unavoidable task for many homeowners. While this process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, it is typically worthwhile because an attractive and reliable bathtub can enhance the quality of life for homeowners. As experts in the kitchen and bath field, Giving Tree Home is committed to addressing various challenges based on our clients' needs. Therefore, we have prepared this step-by-step bathtub installation guide to assist you whether you are planning to replace a new bathtub or install one for the first time. Let's get started!

Step 1: Tools and Equipment

To ensure smooth removal and installation of the tub, it is recommended to have at least two people and prepare the following tools and equipment in advance:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Construction gloves
  • Leveler

Step 2: Choosing a Bathtub

The bathtub market offers a wide variety of types, roughly categorized by installation method as freestanding, wall-mounted, built-in, and more. In terms of installation difficulty, Giving Tree Home recommends purchasing a freestanding bathtub because it doesn't require close integration with walls or floors, making the installation process simpler.

freestanding VS wall-mounted VS built-in

In addition to installation difficulty, when choosing the right bathtub, factors such as bathroom space, budget, style, and functionality need to be considered. It's best to purchase a bathtub that you like and is suitable for you, as it may accompany you for up to several years.

Step 3: Removing the Old Bathtub

Safely removing the bathtub is paramount, and this concerns not only personal safety but also the protection of pipes and walls. You certainly don't want to end up drenched or spend a fortune repairing your bathroom, right?

First, you need to locate all the water outlets on the bathtub and shut off all the relevant pipelines.

shut off all the relevant pipelines

Then, you can begin removing all the components or accessories from the bathtub, such as faucets, showerheads, and drain covers. Throughout the process, use a screwdriver and wrench, and avoid using brute force! If these components or accessories can be reused, be sure to store them properly.

removing all the components or accessories from the bathtub

For wall-mounted and built-in bathtubs, you'll need to remove the wall tiles around the bathtub and carefully pry open the wall to expose the bolts securing the bathtub to the wall. Throughout the process, exercise caution and avoid damaging the internal wiring or pipes in the wall, as this will cause major trouble!

remove the wall tiles around the bathtub

Typically, the area around and beneath the bathtub is filled with sealing material, so before completely removing it, you'll need to use a utility knife to clean out the sealing material. If your bathtub is made of pure resin or acrylic, destroying it directly may be a more convenient solution.

Remove bathtub


Step 4: Check Pipes Status

As the first step in preparing to install the bathtub, carefully inspect the condition of all supply pipes, drain pipes, and shut-off valves. The following signs indicate potential issues with the pipes that should be addressed before proceeding with the installation:

  • Low water pressure: If faucets or shower heads have a low flow rate, it could indicate blockages in the supply pipes.
  • Slow drainage: If sinks or drain pipes in the bathroom are draining slowly, it suggests a blockage in the drainage system.
  • Mold or mildew: Presence of growth around pipe fixtures or walls indicates high moisture levels or leakage in the pipe fixtures.
  • Rust or corrosion: Rust and corrosion on metallic parts of fixtures indicate a high level of moisture or water leakage.
  • Leaks: Water dripping from pipes suggests a leak that needs to be patched or the pipes replaced, especially if the leak is severe.

    Fortunately, fixing these problems is more manageable than it may seem. Many of these issues can be addressed by replacing faulty pipes with new ones or patching minor leaks. This solution can also address mold growth, corrosion, and low water pressure. Additionally, slow drainage issues can be resolved by unclogging the drainage pipes.

    Step 5: Leveling Bathroom Subfloor

    Leveling the floor is crucial before installing the new tub to ensure proper drainage, tub stability, and comfortable usage while minimizing the risk of damage or leakage.

    How to level the bathroom subfloor:

    1. Prepare the subfloor: Remove any materials covering the floor to expose the subfloor. Thoroughly clean the subfloor to remove debris, dirt, or adhesive residue.
    2. Identify uneven areas: Use a leveler to identify high or low spots on the floor, paying particular attention to the spot where the bathtub will be installed.
    3. Fill low spots: Fill any depressions on the subfloor using a floor leveling compound or self-leveling concrete.
    4. Smooth high spots: Use a sander or grinder to smooth out any high spots on the floor.
    5. Check for levelness: After each step, check the level of the floor using the leveler. Ensure not to over-grind high spots or over-fill low spots. Once all parts of the floor are leveled, apply an additional layer of self-leveling concrete or leveling compound and allow it to dry thoroughly.

    Step 6: Installing the New Bathtub

    Beforehand, measure the dimensions of the bathroom door and the area where the bathtub will be placed to ensure that the new bathtub can be smoothly installed. Use a marker to indicate the location where you intend to install the bathtub, ensuring that the drainage pipe and faucet align with those of the old bathtub and are roughly in the same position.

    Mark bathtub location

    Typically, the area around the bathtub is enclosed by panels to protect the bathroom walls from moisture and mold. Begin by marking the positions of the bathtub fixtures, such as the faucet, drain, and handles, then use a vertical saw to cut out the surrounding space.

    Cutting the area around the tub

    Before actually installing the bathtub, the drain pipe needs to be secured to the bathtub. Clean the area around the bathtub to ensure there is no dirt or debris, and align and position the drain pipe correctly. Next, gather all the drainage components, including the flange, rubber washers, drain keys, and shoes, and assemble them, ready to be installed on the bathtub. Apply putty or silicone sealant to the bottom of the flange to create a waterproof seal. Finally, connect the bathroom drain pipe to the threaded end of the drain shoe, and seal it using waterproof materials such as PTFE tape.

    Fix the drain pipe to the bathtub

      Step 7: Securing the Bathtub

      Now that your bathtub is essentially installed, the final step is to secure it in place and caulk the edges. Lift the bathtub and align it with the plumbing fixtures such as the faucet and drain pipe, ensuring that the bathtub snugly fits against the wall. Use corrosion-resistant screws to firmly secure the bathtub to the wall, and provide support from underneath if needed, preferably using rigid wooden boards. Finally, seal the edges of the bathtub with silicone caulking to ensure a waterproof seal.

      Step 7 Secure the installed bathtub