How to Remove, Repair, or Replace a Bathtub

Renovating your bathtub doesn't have to break the bank. These DIY tips will give your bathroom a new look for less.

Bathtubs and showers sustain heavy use and are frequently scoured, so it's not surprising they eventually need to be replaced. Replacing a tub or installing a shower is a project involving not only plumbing, but also carpentry, wall repair, and perhaps tiling. Before you begin, consider the cost and prepare for all aspects of the job, including allowing yourself plenty of time. 

As you plan out your project, consider having an expert take a look. Having a professional sign off on your project will help you avoid potential oversights. Plus, depending on the scope of your project, you may need a permit. Typically, as long as no new drain or supply pipes are to be installed, you won't need a permit, but check with your building department to make sure. 

This section shows how to remove an old tub and install a new one, as well as how to install a tub or shower enclosure. We'll also offer tips for avoiding leaks below your new bath.  

How to Avoid Leaks Below a Bathroom

If water drips from the ceiling below a bathroom, incompletely sealed walls and floors or cracked tiles are usually the cause—not necessarily the plumbing. Even a small gap in caulk or grout can provide a path for water. By the time you notice a leak, there may be serious damage to walls, ceilings, and framing, so inspect the grout and caulk every few months. Encourage family members to dry off in the tub or to use an absorbent rug so water does not puddle on the floor.

    How to Remove a Bathtub

    If you've ruled out refinishing your tub, the next step is to remove and replace it. This is a tricky do-it-yourself job, but it can be done. The key is to properly measure the tub and your doorways to ensure that you'll be able to maneuver the tub out of the bathroom. We'll walk you through the entire removal process and offer key tips along the way. 

    How to Remove a Bathtub

    How to Replace a Bathtub

    Once you've removed the tub, the next step is to prepare for the new one. This step requires checking the drain, preparing the hardware, and more. Before you replace your tub, consider comfort in addition to cost. A cheap replacement is likely to be narrow and uncomfortable. 

    Get More Tips On Replacing a Bathtub

    How to Install a Prefab Bathtub Surround

    If a new tub isn't enough of a change, consider installing a prefabricated surround. This type of unit typically has built-in shelves, towel bars, and other functional features. Installation typically takes several hours, but we've broken the process down into five easy-to-follow steps. 

    Learn How to Install a Prefab Surround

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