How to Install a New Tub Shower


The existing tub, shower, or combo could be cracked or stained with rust, or the fixture simply could be old-fashioned. As a result, you will want to renovate by putting in a new unit.

If the tub is the only problem, you can resurface the porcelain. This works well and the results are amazing. Tub refinishers are listed in the Yellow Pages. However, check first to make sure there are no major problems with the tile or the drain. If you have to replace the tile around the tub, you’re better off replacing the tub as well.

Tub Shower

Installing a new tub/shower involves removing the old unit as well as the old tile or other wall coverings and the old fixtures. Also, you may need to go into the wall and floor to install new valves and drains. The job is complex and made more so if you attempt to change the location of the tub/shower. I suggest that, if at all possi­ble, you retain the old position.

Installing a new tub/shower is a major bathroom renovation project. It mostly requires hard work, although many people have the skill to do the job themselves. As a compromise, you may want to hire out the heavy labor part of the job and do the connections (the skill part) yourself.

Often the hardest part of the project is removing the existing tub/shower along with the old tile or other covering. I suggest that you take everything out right down to the studs and base floor. Getting into the wall and floor allows you to replace all water valves and drains, so there won’t be any chance of leakage—something you don’t want to happen after the new tub/shower is in place. Also, you can check for and correct previous water damage.

If your old tub is cast iron, it will weigh several hundred pounds. On top of that, the typical bathroom is only 5 feet wide, and the tub is also that width, so you can’t really angle it out. One solution is to use a sledgeham­mer to dent in the sides of the old tub. This will allow it to slip out more freely. Be sure to wear safety glasses and protective clothing when working with the sledge.

If it’s a tub, you’ll want to rough in the plumbing, the framing to hold the tub, the wallboard, and perhaps even the new tile. In some cases, the tub is the last to go in. In other cases, the tile or stone is laid down over the edge of the tub.

One solution to a difficult installation is to use a fiberglass tub/shower. These units are readily available at reasonable prices. They even come in several pieces, designed to be installed in exist­ing bathrooms. Be aware, however, that in terms of appearance or value added to the property, they don’t hold a candle to a porcelain tub/shower installed with tile or stone.

Tub Shower

If you’re installing a faucet and spout, keep in mind that because you’re putting in a new wall cover, they do not need to be in exactly the same position as the old. This can be extremely helpful, since the new tub will most surely be different in size from the old one and will require a slightly different location of fixtures.

When removing the old tub, be careful with the drain. Typically an old installation will be rusted, and the drain may break when you try to separate it from the old tub. If it looks like it may break, you may want to cut it a short distance below the tub. A clean cut will be easier to fix with a compression fitting than a long jagged tear, which might result if you try to flex it out.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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