The bathtub is an accessory with which you can enjoy the relaxing effects of water for hours. As long as you have the necessary space, it may be a good idea to install one. The downside is that, due to its size and connections, this job is not simple. Unless you have some experience in construction and plumbing, it’s best to let a professional take care of it. But if you have confidence in your skills, then you may want to learn how to install a bathtub.
If you don’t know how to start this project, then this guide will be perfect for you to learn the basics you need to know.
Preparing the floor
The first aspect to consider when installing a bathtub is the space where it will be located. The niche, or alcove, must have adequate measures so as not to do faulty work, in addition to that, the floor must be properly leveled, or the bathtub could become unbalanced.
The alcove tub should be slightly larger than five feet long and 32 inches wide so that most bathtubs can be placed without a problem.
The unevenness can be solved in multiple ways. If the niche has ceramic, you may need to remove it to reapply glue and level it. Another alternative is to acquire a leveling compound and apply a surface layer.
Finally, the last aspect that you should consider about the space where you will install the bathtub is the pipes’ location. It may seem unnecessary because of the bathtubs symmetrical designs, but these are made to have the drain openings on the left or right. If you have already purchased the bathtub and it does not fit with the pipes, then you will have to modify the plumbing.
Do not remove the tub from its packaging until you are ready to install it. Both metal and porcelain bathtubs are shocks prone. To avoid dents or fractures, it is best to leave it packed.
During the bathtub installation, you should also be careful not to damage it. For this, you can cover the alcove walls and floor with cardboard, which will cushion the blows. You can even use the cardboard in which the bathtub came packed.
Additionally, a canvas fabric can be useful to protect the bathtub on the floor, in addition to allowing you to move it without scratching the floor.
Stop the water supply
Another step that you must complete before starting the bathtub replacement is to close the water passages.
A stopcock in an adjacent room should allow water to flow into the bathroom. Close it and check that the water does not reach the bathroom. If water is still running when you open the faucet, then close the water from your home’s main stopcock and try to replace the damaged stopcocks.
Put the bathtub in its place
The best way to check that the bathtub fits in your niche is to locate it in it. The wooden frames on the walls are what cause the most problems. In case these present strange angles that make the bathtub misplaced, you will have to hit the beams with a rubber mallet until they are even.
As previously mentioned, the floor is an important factor that must be perfect. How to install a bathtub will easily depend largely on this aspect. The bumps will hinder the process, and could seriously damage the bathtub.
The nailing flanges on plastic tubs are not made to bear weight, so you should try as much as possible to make its feet its main support. Like a table, if you see that one of the bathtub’s leg does not touch the floor, it is best to place a wedge that balances it. Any hard material will work for this purpose, except softwood, which could be damaged by moisture and the weight.
In the leveling process, remember to ensure that the drain is aligned with that of the bathtub. Nor can you forget to have the appropriate accessories and pipes for the installation.
Build a ledger board for additional security
During your new bathtub installation, you can create additional support with a ledger board on the sidewalls. To do this, you will need to mark the top edge of the bathtub longest side on the longest length wall with a pencil or marker. You can do with a measuring tape or by placing the bathtub in its alcove.
Below this mark, you will install a 2×4 inch wooden board. Repeat this process on the back wall. You will now have support on which to place the bathtub. If the wooden boards are correctly placed, then you can put the bathtub on them and it will keep touching the floor.
Have the drain ready
The tub will drain to the bottom connection. This has to be connected to the home’s sewer system through a short pipe called a shoe. Additionally, to prevent bad odors from leaving the drain, you must ensure that the pipe has a siphon or P- trap.
The previous work in the alcove tub will be to align the drain with that of the bathtub. This simple process only requires that you measure the distance between the side of the bathtub and the center of the drain. For proper work, the measurement should be from the exact half of the side. With this, you can prepare the tubes without having the bathtub in its alcove.
The foam will prevent noise
Something you need to know about how to install a bathtub is that, even if it does not rest completely on the floor, it is best to put a foam layer that seals the bottom space.
Foam is a perfect material for many situations. Thanks to its texture, it will mold to any shape, which will create a perfect filling to prevent the bathtub from moving. Not only will it soften the impact it makes on the floor, but it will also reduce the noise it makes when using it.
The only downside to the foam is that it dries quickly (approximately 20 minutes), so you can only put it on when you are ready to install the bathtub.
It is time to install the bathtub
With all the preparations completed, it is time to install the bathtub in its place. It is recommended to locate it directly as it should be, but if you need space to finish some previous process, such as applying the foam, you can have it next to the alcove.
Rest the tub’s edges on the previously installed ledger boards, always making sure that the tub drain and your home drain are aligned.
To make sure the bathtub is even, place a level on all four sides. As everything is ready at this point, if there are unevennesses, the best way to solve them is by using wedges.
How to install a bathtub: plumbing
With the bathtub in place inside your bath unit, it is now time to connect it to the plumbing in your home. Using the measurements you noted earlier, you would be able to align the tub drain and overflow holes with your home drain.
To prevent leaks, the tub drain will wrap around the small tube that leads to the house drain. With a bit of plumber’s putty, pre-coat this tube and then insert the drain applying pressure on the tub.
From the outside of the bathtub, you must locate the strainer and place a gasket on it. Now you have to screw the strainer to the drain chute located near the overflow drain. Once this is done, proceed to remove the excess putty from the drain.
Finally, seal each tube joint with silicone. You can now install your faucet and close the drain on the bathtub with a shell. To prove everything is in order, simply pour water into the bath 24 hours after the installation and look for possible leaks.
In case you’re going to secure your bathtub to studs, it’s best to do the plumbing work first. In this way, you can move the bathtub as many times as necessary during the process, since it will be very difficult to bend the pipes if they do not fit.
With this, you already know how to install a bathtub, but you can still do some additional steps to create a professional look.
You can secure the flanges to the stud using one-inch galvanized nails. For fiberglass tubs, you may have to drill holes to use bolts. In metal bathtubs that do not have holes, it is best to use the nails as a support on the flanges.
If desired, you can decorate the sidewalls with plaster and paint to make it look like the bathtub was installed from the beginning in your home.
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