Tired of that old, dingy bathtub? Although not easy, removing a tub is something most handy homeowners can do on their own. However, it requires planning, time, and some DIY know-how in order to do it right. These basic steps explain how to remove a bathtub.
How To Remove a Tub
Removing a bathtub is a challenging task that requires patience and the right tools. If you are not confident about your remodeling skills, contact a licensed bathroom remodeling company.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Supplies
Before you begin, you should gather the following tools and supplies.
You will need both slotted and Philips-head screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench to remove most of the bath hardware. An electric drill or screwdriver is not necessary but will speed up the process.
A drain removal tool is helpful for disconnecting the drain pipes. Also, you need a sharp utility knife and a putty knife to remove the caulk around the bathtub.
To remove tile and drywall, you will need a hammer, chisel, and drywall saw. Although not necessary, a reciprocating saw makes cutting drywall easier and faster. A stud finder will also help prevent unnecessary repairs.
You will also need a pry bar and a large mallet to remove the bathtub from the bathroom. Putting a heavy-duty canvas drop cloth on the floor will help prevent scratches and damage when pulling out the tub.
Lastly, you should wear heavy-duty work gloves and eye protection during the removal process. A dust mask or ventilator is also recommended.
Also, some bathtubs may require additional steps or tools depending on their size and installation method.
Step 2: Turn Off the Water
Next, you need to shut off the water to the bathtub. Most bathrooms have an access panel to turn off the water. However, you may need to turn off the water to the entire house in some cases.
With the water off, open up the hot and cold faucets to drain the pipes. This will help limit the mess you make when you disconnect the hardware.
If you have one knob that controls the hot and cold water, turn it on cold first. Wait for it to drain completely, then turn it all the way to hot.
Step 3: Disconnect Plumbing Hardware
With the water off, you can start disconnecting the faucets and fixtures. In most cases, you only need to remove the faucet or spout, the bathtub drain, and the drain stopper.
Start by unscrewing the faucet or spout from the wall with a slotted screwdriver or an adjustable wrench. Most faucets will slide free after removing the locking screw. However, some screw onto the water pipe.
Then, use a drain removal tool to disconnect the drain pipes and remove the drain flange. You can then lift the drain assembly out of the bathtub.
Finally, unscrew the drain stopper and carefully remove the overflow drain from the overflow pipe.
In most cases, you can leave the shower head and faucet handles in place. However, you can also remove them now if you are remodeling the entire bath area.
Step 4: Remove Tub Surround
Next, you need to remove the tub surround. This is the wall of tile and drywall that goes around the bathtub.
To do this, use a sharp utility knife to cut through any caulk around the edge of the bathtub. You can also use a putty knife to help separate the caulk.
Then, use a hammer and chisel to remove the tile. If you plan to reuse the tile, work slowly so you do not crack the tile. Since bath tiles can vary in size, remove roughly 12 inches of tile so you have enough room to work.
With the tile out of the way, cut out the drywall around the bathtub. Using either a hand drywall saw or a reciprocating saw, carefully remove the drywall.
Although not necessary, using a stud finder makes the process much easier. This prevents you from cutting through the wall studs. If you do cut through the studs, you will need to make repairs before installing a new bathtub.
Step 5: Remove Tub Flange
Once you have removed the tub surround, you will be able to see the bathtub flange, which is the metal piece that attaches the tub to the wall studs and framing.
In most cases, the tub flange is secured to the wall frame with screws. However, some installations also have construction adhesive. Start by removing the screws with a screwdriver or electric drill.
If necessary, score adhesive with a utility knife then chip it away with a hammer and chisel. then use a pry bar and a large mallet to break the flange away from the wall framing.
This part can be tricky, so take your time and be careful not to damage any of the wall studs and framing.
Step 6: Pull Out the Tub
With the tub flange removed, you can now pull the bathtub out of the bathroom. Be careful not to damage any of the walls or flooring as you move it.
Although not necessary, covering the floor with a heavy canvas dropcloth will prevent scratches and damage when you remove the bathtub.
Also, most bathtubs are pretty heavy, so ask at least one friend to help lift it out of the bathroom.
Frequently Asked Questions About Removing a Tub
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about removing a tub in the bathroom.
Can I Remove a Bathtub by Myself, or Do I Need a Professional?
While you can remove a bathtub by yourself, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process. In most cases, you will need at least one assistant to carry it out of the bathroom. If you are unsure about your ability to handle the job, it is best to hire a professional bathroom remodeler or licensed plumber.
How Long Does It Take To Remove a Bathtub?
On average, bathtub removal will take one to two days. However, the exact he time it takes to remove a bathtub will vary. Factors that determine the exact time include the size of the tub, the installation method, and any unforeseen complications that may arise during the process.
Can I Reuse the Bathtub After Removing It?
You can reuse a bathtub after removing it in most cases, but it depends on its condition and age. Also, it’s important to remove it carefully to prevent damage. However, you should never reuse a bathtub that is cracked, rusted, or severely damaged.
What Should I Do With a Bathtub After Removing It?
Unless you are reusing it, you should either recycle or dispose of a bathtub after removing it. Most bathtubs are made of materials like cast iron, porcelain, or fiberglass, which can be recycled or reused. Some recycling centers or waste management companies accept old bathtubs for recycling. Otherwise, you can throw away your bathtub or even sell it for scrap. Check with your local waste management company or recycling center for instructions on how to properly dispose of your old bathtub.