Installing a new bathtub is a fairly complicated task, but for the do-it-yourselfer it is something that can be done in as little as a day with the right tools and equipment. The biggest challenge in installing a new bathtub is getting the tub in and out of the bathroom where it will be installed. This may require opening up a wall, which adds a fair bit of complexity to this task.
Before you install a new bathtub the first thing you will need to do is remove the old one. Your old bathtub is probably located between two walls with the plumbing work located on one of these walls. In most cases you will be able to simply disconnect the plumping and pull the tub straight out once you break the caulking seal. In a few cases you will need to remove the tub directly through the wall itself because of lack of room to maneuver the tub in the bathroom.
Before we remove anything though, let’s disconnect the plumbing. There may be an access panel on the backside of the wall on which the plumbing is run. If not, then you will need to either cut an access point into the wall or attempt to access the plumping from below (by cutting up through the floor).
We recommend you cut into the wall if necessary as this is the easiest to repair once completed. Be sure you have turned the water off before you proceed. When you are installing a new bathtub remember that you will be using a lot of plumbing and drywall skills. If you have concerns about either you may wish to have a plumber take care of this task.
Next, we are going to disconnect the tub drain using a large adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers. Loosen up the slip nut connecting the overflow pipe, if installed. You will not need to disconnect the water supply and showerheads as they are not part of the tub in most cases.
If you have an older tub that has the connections inside the tub you will need to disconnect them back to the supply source as well. Be sure to check the layouts of piping and drainage on your new bathtub to make sure they match up with the old. If not, you will need to adjust the incoming plumbing.
Out with the Old
With one row of tiling removed all the way around the tub you are now ready to pull the tub straight out. With a pry bar and a piece of scrap wood to protect the wall, gently pry the tub away from the wall.
The tub should move freely once you have broken the caulking seal all the way around the wall. If it does not, or if you find you do not have enough room to maneuver it in the bathroom you may have to remove it through the wall. In these cases it is best to consult with a contractor as the wall may be load bearing and special precautions will need to be taken before removing the tub.
In with the New
Installing of your new bathtub is the exact opposite of removal. Simply slide the new tub in and make the necessary plumbing connections. Turn the water on and check for leaks and proper water flow. Once satisfied, you can replace the tiles, re-caulk the tub and then replace any drywall you may have torn down.