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How to Install a Replacement Bathtub

by Leona Zoey on Nov 15, 2014

Although bathtub installation is typically left to the professionals and isn’t an easy DIY plumbing project because it involves working with a large, heavy object in a small space, it is possible to install a replacement bathtub without having to rely on the pros. While changing out your old tub with a new shower or bathtub isn’t a super difficult job, it’s guaranteed to be time consuming. Here’s some tips for installing a replacement bathtub.


Before you can start removing your old bathtub, you’ll have to spend some time preparing the area and giving yourself some space to work. If your walls are tiled, experts recommend removing and replacing these as well. The first step in installing a new tub is to set a ledger board in place. This board supports the edges of the tub that make contact with the walls of the tub enclosure. First, push the tub into the enclosure ad mark the top of the flange on the wall studs with a pencil. Measure and mark the location for the top of the ledger, which is usually about one inch below the first mark. Use drywall screws to fasten the ledger board horizontally and level across the back wall of the enclosure. Then, fasten shorter ledger boards to the end of the enclosure, level with the board you installed on the back wall.

Hook up Plumbing

Since it’s easier to install the pipes before the tub is permanently installed in the enclosure, you should turn the tub over so it can rest on its side and follow these steps:

  • Install the show fitting by following the manufacturer’s directions,
  • Assemble the overflow fitting with the overflow pipe,
  • Place a bead of plumber’s putty around the drain flange and wrap Teflon pipe tape around the threads on its body,
  • Place a rubber washer on the shoe and position the shoe under the tub,
  • Screw the drain flange into the shoe,
  • Tighten the drain flange, and
  • Place a rubber washer on the overflow drain and install the overflow cover with the provided screws.

Secure the Tub

Once the plumbing is hooked up, it’s time to permanently secure the tub. Mix a batch of mortar according to the package directions and, with a notched trowel, spread a 2-inch layer of mortar on the subfloor where the tub will sit. Life the tub in place and position it so it’s tight against the walls. Once in place, secure the tub with the studs and nails provided by the manufacturer.



Leona Zoey

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