How to Install Bathtubs for Your Bathroom

Perhaps you want to renovate your old bathroom set up or remove the old bathtub, and you are wondering how to install bathtubs for your bathroom. While this is a complex job for the experts, some basic plumbing and construction experience can get you through successfully to completion.

If this is a DIY project that you feel comfortable tackling, this article will walk you through every step of the installation process. Better still, you will get to handle the most difficult stage of tearing out an old bathtub. Exciting, isn’t it?

Besides saving money, doing this project yourself will help you customize it to ensure the finished product is what you want. Let’s begin!

Things You Will Require

  • A bathroom floor plan (you can make this)
  • A level
  • A tape measure
  • Caulk or plumber’s putty
  • Mortar
  • Replacement tile
  • The new bathtub and plumbing

Let’s now delve into the process below.

1.     Remove the Present Bathtub

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Start removing the faucet, handles, piping, and lastly, the bathtub

Even after turning off the water, there may still be some remaining water in the plumbing system. In this case, turn on the faucet below the bathtub level to drain out all the water. 

Moreover, some installed conditions may be a little bit complex. Such a situation will require you to break down part of the wall, remove the piping, and then take out the tub.

2.     Select the Right Bathtub

Things to check before selecting a bathtub;

  • Matching dimensions
  • Same positioning of faucet and shower for plumbing
  • Different design

Fortunately, the market is overflowing with exciting and inspiring bathtubs that will redefine your bathroom.

Preferably, new clawfoot tubs are a perfect choice to consider. Just as it sounds, this is a freestanding bathtub with claw feet. However, this bathtub design is way more than an ordinary tub with feet. From first sight, it leaves you nostalgic as its style never gets old.

Moreover, clawfoot tubs come in different materials to suit your needs and preferences. The vintage clawfoot tub is made of finished porcelain and cast iron. But the new clawfoot tubs have two popular materials; fiberglass clawfoot tubs and acrylic clawfoot tubs.

Consequently, they are eye-catching and lighter. But, they don’t retain heat better than cast iron. Above all, what matters most is that you choose a design that exhibits your personality and style better.

3.     Install the Plumbing and Ledger Board

It would be best to buy a tub drain kit that contains all the necessary tools to plumb the new tub. Most importantly, follow the guidelines enclosed in the kit for straightforward plumbing of the new tub.

Take correct measurements to ensure the new bathtub aligns with the existing plumbing in your bathroom. If not, this is the best time to make any suitable adjustments.

You’ll need to install a ledger board on the wall behind the tub for better support. Therefore, identify if your new tub requires a ledger board to follow the attached direction on the proper installation height. If the old ledger board is still in great condition, adjust the height to align with the new one.

4.     Install the Bathtub

After successfully finishing the plumbing and ledger board, it’s time to install the new bathtub. Lower the new bathtub into the right spot with a lot of caution not to damage the wall, ledger, or tub.

Ideally, you need someone to help lift the bathtub with you because most of them are usually heavy and delicate. Besides, you need to align the tub in the exact position meant for it.

It would help if you leveled it properly once it’s in the perfect spot. So, instead of estimating on the correct level, use a bubble level for precise leveling. You should place the level on the top side of the tub and avoid the bottom since most tubs have a sloped bottom.

Do not settle until the tub is at the right level. So, keep adjusting the ledger board to shift the tub accordingly. After achieving the correct level, screw in the tub firmly to the wall studs. Fortunately, most modern bathtubs come with pre-drilled holes in the upper flange. Avoid over-tightening the screws.

5.     Attach the Plumbing System

After installing the bathtub firmly on the correct level, you must attach the plumbing system. Start by fixing the shoe fitting below the tub as you drain the pipe. Next, install the overflow and the drain flange in the respective order.

The good thing is that the tub plumbing kit you bought comes with detailed instructions on attaching these pieces correctly.

6.     Install the Bathtub Edging

A bathtub edging will avoid water damage on the walls and give your new tub a flawless finished look.

When installing the surround, ensure the wall is clean and dry for the adhesive to hold securely. Subsequently, take measurements of the edging while marking the matching dimensions on the wall over the tub.

Apply the adhesive keenly to the wall. Press the edging firmly against the wall, then strip it away for a maximum of 5 minutes to strengthen the adhesive. Repeat the same process of applying the surround.

For the excess adhesive on the sides of the edging, use mineral spirits to wipe it clean. Next, use masking tape to place the surrounding panels until the adhesive dries completely. Finally, use silicone to seal all the cracks and gaps between the edging panels at the top and bottom of the bathtub.

However, use the same process if you wish to install tiles above the bathtub instead of edging. But, you will have to measure and cut the tiles while fixing them one by one. Better yet, you’ll need tile spacers to ensure even spacing. Now, finish off with grout in between the spaces of the tiles.

Remember to wait until the silicon and adhesive are completely dry before turning on the water on your new bathtub.

Key Takeaway

With utmost patience, installing a bathtub will not seem like rocket science. What’s even better? Today, there are several modern tubs in the market; from acrylic tubs that are mold and stain-resistant, to deep bathtubs that offer a luxury bath treatment.

When you are through installing your new bathtub, rest and smile as you admire your newly rejuvenated bathroom for years to come.

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