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The Anatomy of a Bathtub and How to Install a Replacement (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to all about bathtubs including how to remove and replace one.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Modern Bathtub

Bathtub dimensions can vary. Before you buy, check the dimensions of a new tub so that it will fit in the same spot as the old one. Another consideration with very large tubs is whether you will be able to maneuver it through your home to the bathroom. Room to work is also important — especially in smaller bathrooms. It will sometimes be necessary to remove the other bathroom fixtures in order to remove an old bathtub and install a new one.

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Anatomy of a Bathtub

Connecting the water supply to a bath is much the same as for a basin. The main difference when installing a bath is that it may be large and heavy, and access to the plumbing can be difficult.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cast-Iron Bathtubs

Decorative cast-iron tubs may be candidates for reclamation. If not, these heavy items can be broken up using a sledgehammer and all of the material recycled. When you do this, drape a drop cloth over the old tub to stop flying debris and be sure to wear protective goggles, ear protectors and gloves.

When installing a cast-iron tub, ensure that its weight is evenly distributed across several floor joists. Planks of wood underneath the tub feet can help spread the weight. In some cases, you may need to reinforce the joists below.

Removing a Bathtub

Before you begin, make sure you have enough room to fit the bathtub through the doorway. Turn off the water supply. After the water has been turned off, open a faucet below the tub level to drain the water supply lines. Remove the faucet, the drain, and the spout. If your bathtub is sandwiched between two walls, with the faucet and shower head located on one wall, you may be able to disconnect the piping and then pull the tub out. If this doesn’t work, you may have to remove a section of the wall around the bathtub, cut the piping, and remove the bathtub through the wall. If your bathtub is freestanding, removal is somewhat easier. After disconnecting the piping, you should simply be able to lift the tub out.

Installing a Bathtub

Before installing a new bathtub, make sure that your selection is an exact fit into the old bathtub space. Make sure it is apron-styled or drop-in, and that the drain is on the same side, because bathtubs can have right-hand or left-hand drains. If the bathtub is not an exact fit, the piping will have to be modified for the new bathtub. If it is an exact fit, you’ll follow the same steps for removing the old bathtub, just in reverse. You may need to repair the wall surface so it rests on the flange of the new tub. Always use cement backerboard under tiles in the bathtub or shower areas for moisture protection and to prevent a possible mold problem. Regular drywall is not rated to handle extreme moisture.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009