Renovating or replacing a bathtub can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and careful planning, you can easily remove your old bathtub. Whether you want to upgrade or change your bathroom look, this guide will show you how to safely and efficiently remove and dispose of a bathtub.
From prepping the area properly and disconnecting all necessary plumbing connections to even reinstalling a new one, we’ll cover everything you need to know to complete this job quickly and correctly.
Tools and Materials You’ll Need
Before any work can get done, be sure to have the following tools and materials ready.
Equipment and Materials
- Strainer Wrench
- Pry Bar
- Reciprocating Saw
- Utility Knife
- 4×4 Wooden Boards
Equipment and Materials
- Measuring Tape
- Putty Knife
- Strainer Wrench
- Waste Unit
- Drain Shoe and Gasket
- Overflow Flange and Trim
- Shoe Tube
- 2 x 4 wooden boards
- Plumber’s Putty
- Cement Backerboard
- Ledger Boards
Instructions: How to Remove a Bathtub
Whether you’re replacing the tub entirely or need it removed so you can begin other renovations, follow the steps below for a smooth process.
1. Gather Tools and Supplies
Be sure to have all the necessary tools and supplies before you begin. You may have some or many of these items in your toolbox or workbench, or you may need to take a trip to your local hardware store to ensure everything is on hand.
2. Shut Off the Water Supply
Before you begin, turn off the water supply to the bathtub. This is a crucial step to prevent any accidents or leaks during removal. Does your home have a separate bathroom shutoff valve? Turn it off to stop water flow to or from your bathroom appliances, including your bathtub. If you don’t have a bathroom-specific shutoff valve, you’ll need to turn off the water for the whole house while you remove the tub.
Once you turn the valve off, test that the water is off. Turn on the bathtub faucet. After that, you can open a valve in your home at a lower level to relieve the pressure that may remain in the lines still.
Working through this step will ensure you and your bathroom stay dry if a valve accidentally were to get turned on by accident.
3. Remove the Drain Flange
Depending on your bathtub, you may have slightly different components, so the specifics here may vary. You’ll next want to remove the drain flange, overflow and waste cover, and tub spout from the bathtub.
Start with the drain flange. Is there a drain stopper visible at the base of your tub? If so, you may need to unscrew it to access the drain flange. If not, the drain flange should be readily accessible. Use the strainer wrench to remove it.
4. Remove the Overflow Cover
Next, use a screwdriver to disconnect the tub waste and overflow valve cover, then remove it.
5. Remove the Tub Spout
Finally, remove the tub spout if it’s also part of the renovation. Check for a set screw holding the spout in place. If none is visible, twist the spout off counterclockwise.
6. Disconnect the Drain Assembly
Once you’ve disconnected the drain flange, overflow cover, and tub spout, disconnect the bathtub drain assembly from the plumbing below it. To do this, you’ll need access to underneath the tub. Check behind the wall the tub is up against; there may be an access panel. If not, cut away the drywall immediately behind the overflow valve and then down to the floor. Or, you may have access to it from a lower floor of the home.
Using pliers, unscrew the drain pipe where the overflow valve and drain meet. If there’s resistance because the fittings are made from galvanized steel, a penetrating lubricant may be helpful here to loosen up the joints before disconnecting.
After loosening the nut connected to the bath drainpipe, unscrew it entirely using your hands and lift out the rest of the drain assembly.
7. Pry the Tub Away
You’ll need to do some prying to remove any screws or nails holding the tub in place to surrounding studs so you can pull it away from the wall.
Start with a knife around the caulk edge along the floor where it meets the tub. Then, do the same where the wall meets the tub at the top.
If you’re having trouble prying the tub away from the top, you may need to remove portions of the drywall and patch them back later. We recommend cutting out the 8 inches of drywall above the tub for this. Before you cut any drywall, always wear safety goggles and gloves.
Once you have a bit of leverage, use a pry bar to move the tub about an inch away from the back wall. Find where the screws are holding the tub in and pry each screw or nail loose until you feel the tub free from the wall.
8. Remove the Tub
Now that the tub is loose from the wall, it’s time to remove it! From here, you’ll need two people to lift the bathtub away and place it onto 4×4 wooden boards. Then, slide it out using the boards as a barrier between the tub and the floor.
Ensure you don’t drop or damage the tub during this process since you may need to use part of it for a new installation. Afterward, you can move your boards and the tub to an outdoor space or wherever it may be more convenient.
Are there any stringer supports still lingering along the edges of the wall? Remove them.
9. Clean the Area
With the tub gone, it’s time to clean the space before you continue with your renovation project. Vacuum and sweep away any debris, nails, or screws left behind from removing the tub.
Look at the remaining walls and floor for any noticeable damage or areas that need repair. Make sure to patch up any holes in the drywall and replace any broken tiles.
10. Dispose of the Tub
If you don’t need to hold onto the tub to reinstall it later, you can dispose of it. If your bathtub is made of steel, composite, or fiberglass, you can cut it into smaller sections using a reciprocating saw. If it’s a porcelain-enameled tub, you must dispose of it whole.
Not sure how to dispose of your remaining tub remnants properly? Nixxit Junk Removal can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Remove a Bathtub for Replacement?
Removing a bathtub for replacement is a long but straightforward process. First, gather the necessary supplies. Then turn off the water supply to the bathroom and disconnect the drain flange, overflow cover, and tub spout. After that, pry the tub away from the wall and slide it out. Finally, clean up the area and dispose of the tub properly.
How Hard Is It to Remove and Replace a Bathtub?
Removing and replacing a bathtub is an involved process, but it’s manageable for most homeowners. The tools needed to complete the project are widely available. It requires time and patience to properly remove the old tub and install a new one in its place, so create a plan of action before starting the project.
Need Help Disposing of Junk? We Can Help!
At Nixxit Junk Removal, we specialize in junk removal and disposal services. We’ll haul away your old bathtub and debris from your remodeling project quickly and efficiently. Call us today or book online to get started!
We look forward to helping you dispose of your items properly and conveniently.
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