While many people choose to hire professionals to handle bathroom renovations, there are several jobs that the homeowner can take on and do with relative ease. Installing a new bathtub is one example. If you have decided to tackle the job of installing a new bathtub on your own, there are several matters you must keep in mind before you begin.
One of the more important tips to successful bathtub installation begins with the selection of the tub itself. Before you buy anything, take measurements of the space that the tub will occupy. Ideally, you can find a bathtub that will slip into the space with ease and leave very little area that must be sealed. Don’t measure the old tub, as it may not make the best use of the existing space. Instead, measure the length and width of the niche where the current tub sets.
Before you begin the actual installation, it is also important to remove the old tub. In order to do that, your first task is to shut off the water supply to the bathroom. Since it is usually necessary to disconnect plumbing that is attached to the tub, you do not want to deal with sudden cascades of water when you loosen the fittings on a pipe or faucet.
Remove the caulking that seals the old tub to the wall and floor. Slide the tub out of the niche and remove it from the bathroom. Before you bring in the new unit, take the time clean the niche thoroughly and allow it to air dry. This will help to minimize the change of any residue from interfering with the overall installation project.
With the space properly prepared, the time has come to begin the actual bathtub installation process. Line the new tub up with the niche, with the long side parallel to the long side of the niche. Gently slide the new tub into the space. Make sure the drain in the tub and the floor line up properly, as well as the any plumbing for faucets that are supposed to fit through openings in one end of the tub. If necessary, you may have to purchase kits that will help create a connection between the two drain points. These are available at any local hardware store.
Before moving on to the next phase of the bathroom installation, make sure the tub is level and evenly placed in the space. The last thing you want is a tub that rocks or shifts, as it will be impossible to create a watertight seal around the bathtub. Once you are sure the tub is secure, move on to the task of testing the drain connection.
With a bathtub installation, it is important to make sure the drain is sealed properly before proceeding with the final steps. Attach the faucets and run a small amount of water into the tub. Allow several minutes to pass. If the water drains with no problem and you do not see any seepage from under the tub onto the bathroom tile, then the drain is connected and carrying the water out as it should.
For the final step in the bathtub installation, caulk the area of the tub where it meets the wall and floor. Remember to fill the tub with water before beginning the caulking. The reason for this is that you will know for sure the caulking will not crack due to the additional pressure that is generated by a full tub of water. A caulking gun will provide a more or less even bead. If you need to refine the bead slightly, there are triangular shaped tools available at the hardware store that will allow you to smooth the bead into a straight and unbroken line.
Bathtub installation is only one way to go. You can choose to hang on to your old tub and do a little bathtub repair. This can include bathtub resurfacing in order to change the color or a simple bathtub reglazing if you want to restore the surface in the original color. There is also the option of bathtub inserts that slide right over your old tub, giving the appearance of a brand new fixture in the bathroom.