How Can I Quickly and Easily Approach the Process of Replacing a Bathtub?

FiberglassTo achieve a truly pristine and comfortable bathroom space, your bathtub must live up to your expectations or it will decrease the ambiance in the room. Excessive wear and damage on your bathtub surface can make your bathroom space look tired and worn out, even in its cleanest state. Although reglazing your tub is often the fastest and least expensive option, it does not always result in the look you are trying to achieve. Instead, you may need to simply pay for a complete bathtub replacement.

When you go ahead with the process of replacing a bathtub, you must plan your approach to breeze through the project with ease. Otherwise, you could run into potentially expensive and time-consuming problems that turn a simple job into a huge ordeal. Here’s how to approach your bathtub replacement project from start to finish.

Select Your Ideal New Bathtub

You must measure your bathroom space, or plan your renovation blueprints, to determine the total amount of room you have for your bathtub. If your bathtub will sit in a fitted alcove, it must perfectly fill the space to eliminate the need for structural changes in your bathroom. Freestanding tubs, on the other hand, give you a little bit more options when it comes time to select your ideal new bathtub.

In addition to determining the right bathtub size and shape, you must also determine the best tub material for your needs. Brand new bathtubs are made from:

  • Cast iron
  • Steel
  • Porcelain
  • Fiberglass
  • Acrylic

You can weigh the cleaning and maintenance requirements for each bathtub material type to determine the best option for your home.

Gauge the Bathtub Position                    

You will need to use the exact specifications for your selected bathtub to determine its ideal position in your bathroom. If you plan to move the drain or any other components, you must measure and mark the installation locations before bringing your bathtub into the space. You should prepare the area and finalize the plumbing configuration to ensure the rest of your tub install goes to plan.

Verify that the spout and handle mechanisms will sit at a favorite position for individuals using the tub or shower. Perform a test fit of the shower doors, curtain rod or other accessories as well. You should thoroughly test each of the components you want to use for the bathtub installation project. Otherwise, you may end up scrambling for alternatives upon realizing your newly installed bathtub does not support the accessories you have chosen. After you have fully verified that the selected position will work as expected, set the bathtub structure on its side to continue onto the next step.

Construct the Overflow Drain

Upon finalizing the position of the bathtub, you must construct the overflow drain. The overflow drain attaches to the tub wall to catch and drain water that reaches past the ¾ mark on the sidewalls. This smart drain mechanism tends to sit immediately above the lower drain with the plumbing pipes connected behind the bathtub walls. You must attach the overflow drain faceplate to the tub to securely seal the pipes against the back of the tub.

To perform the overflow drain installation process, make sure the front cover still has the rubber seal around its outer edge. Hold the waste water pipes and upper drain backing plate firmly against the back of the tub. While working from the inner tub surface, press the front cover over the backing plate and hand thread the two set screws into the holes. Use a screwdriver or hex key wrench to snug down the set screws and complete the upper drain install.

Connect the Drain Assembly

The waste water pipes running down from the overflow drain hook directly to the lower outlet pipes by multi-junction fittings. The lower drain also attaches directly to the drain shoe, which captures and diverts waste water through the plumbing system. You must attach the drain assembly to these lower plumbing pipes to create a secure connection and prevent future leaks.

To accomplish this task, you must add a rubber seal to the top of the drain shoe and press it firmly against the bottom of the tub. Add a small layer of plumber’s putty to the drain flange and thread it into the drain hole from the inside surface of the bathtub. If applicable, add and tighten down the set screws to keep the drain firmly secured in place.

Thread the stopper mechanism into the drain pipe, attach it to the chain on the drain, and secure the front plate with the provided screws.  Test the movement of the stopper to make sure it will appropriately plug and drain the bathtub on demand. If the stopper does not move as expected, tighten or loosen the chain to improve its range of motion.

Permanently Secure the Bathtub

After properly installing the upper overflow mechanism and lower drain assembly, you can move ahead with the process of permanently securing the bathtub in its intended location. You must carefully flip the bathtub up onto its bottom with two 1×4 inch boards underneath to keep the plumbing pipes from hitting the floor. Gently scoot the bathtub into place and remove the boards underneath. Attach the plumbing pipes to the waste outlet using a new fitting.

Break out the level and make sure the tub sits correctly in its alcove or alternate bathroom location. If you are happy with its placement, use a drill to drive screws through the outer flange and into the wall studs. To adjust its placement even further, however, you can add washers to the screws before tightening them down in the studs. Apply a layer of vapor barrier over the exposed studs and replace the drywall around the bathtub. Seal all the seams around the walls and floor by applying a continuous bead of caulk between the adjacent surfaces.

Give yourself the best chance at breezing through the bathtub replacement process by contacting the BathPro experts for professional assistance. You can fill out the online form or call 407-869-8696 to receive a free, no obligation project estimate.