How to Remove a Bathtub

Introduction: How to Remove a Bathtub

About: We love home improvement and enjoy sharing tips on YouTube and Home Repair Tutor. Everything we do is self taught. Over the last 12 years we've bought and rehabbed several rental homes in Pittsburgh. Somet...

In my tutorial on how to remove a bathroom floor I said we were keeping the bathtub. But it turns out that was a BAD idea. So today’s project shows you how to remove a bathtub. You’ll see why this was necessary and get a sneak peak at the new tub. Which btw Steve installed in one day. Tub removal isn’t all that bad. Although I did have some funny moments and palm to face incidents!!

Here are the supplies you need to remove a bathtub

  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Respirator
  • Hammer
  • Super Bar
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Channel Locks
  • AutoCut Copper Pipe Cutting Tool
  • Rags
  • Impact Driver
  • Impact Driver Bits

So what should be your first step?

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Step 1: Place Duct Tape Over the Tub Drain

First things first, place duct tape over your tub drain.

This stops debris from going down the drain and clogging your pipes.
Small but powerful tip.

Step 2: Turn Off Water and Drain House

Turn the water off to the house.

Do this at the main shutoff. Which is usually in the basement (at least here in Pittsburgh) or garage. Then drain the water. I did this in the kitchen.

Step 3: Turn Off Electric

Turn the electric off.

The tub I was removing was a whirlpool tub.

So it had electric running to it. The last thing you want to happen is to get shocked while removing a tub. That’s a bad obituary.

Step 4: Remove Shower Rod & Curtain

Remove the shower curtain and curtain kind of gets in the way!!

Step 5: Remove Shower Head

If you’re reusing the shower head here’s a tip.

Place a rag over it. Use your channel locks to loosen it from the shower arm. This prevents the channel locks from scratching the shower head finish.

Step 6: Disassemble Shower Handles

Our shower had an old school 3 handle setup.

If your shower looks the same remove the screw from the handle.

Pull the handle and escutcheon off the shower stem.

I had to, ahem, coax the handle off the stem with my channel locks.

The last picture shows the escutcheon.

Step 7: Remove Shower Stems

Remove the stems from the shower plumbing by turning them counterclockwise.

This is where channel locks come in handy, love LOVE these to death.

Step 8: Remove Tub Spout

Check the tub spout for a set screw.

If you have one, loosen it with an allen wrench. Turn the tub spout counterclockwise or simply pull it off the copper.

These are the very first steps for a tub removal.
The fun demo is next…

Step 9: Pry Off FRP

If you need a cathartic experience demoing a tub surround is the answer.

Grab a super bar and hammer. Side note: any project with a hammer is fun, right!!

Pound the super bar behind the tub surround and pry it loose. Not a bad idea to cut silicone caulk at the corners and tub.

In this example our tub had FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) on the main wall.
That’s what I’m prying off. But you’ll likely have a one piece or three-piece fiberglass tub surround.

Step 10: Cut Fiberglass Surround

Cut the corners of the tub surround with a reciprocating saw.

This makes pulling the surround off the wall pretty straight forward.

Step 11: Pound Plaster

you have plaster or drywall behind the surround remove it with a hammer.

This plaster was nasty. It’s over 100 years old!!!

Step 12: Rinse and Repeat

Repeat this process for the plumbing and back wall of the tub.

Before you can tear out the tub you need to tackle the plumbing.

This is easy.

Step 13: Cut Out Old Copper

A few weeks back I showed you how to install shut offs in a tub.

Well, that was done before I decided to demo this tub, haha.

That said if you’re keeping the copper plumbing the same, you’ll love these tips.

Cut the copper pipes using an AutoCut tool (by far my favorite copper pipe cutter).

Step 14: Add Shut Off Valves

Then slide on SharkBite shutoffs.

Yep it’s that easy.

Although I recommend checking out the full tutorial on how to install SharkBites.

Step 15: Watch My Video

My video shows you all the details of the next several steps.

You have to remove the tub overflow and drain.

I almost forgot to take out the tub drain which was kind of funny.

Watch the video to see me suck in my stomach to get the tub out of the house!!

Thanks as always for reading, watching and sharing your great ideas.

Anyone can learn how to DIY a home but it's always more fun with friends.

And if you're reading this I consider you a DIY friend.

See you in the comments,


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