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Claw Foot Tub Installation: Surround Demolition

DIY expert Fuad Reveiz replaces an old garden tub with a new look: a claw foot tub.

More in Bathroom

claw foot bathtub is focal point of bathroom Watch Video
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Remove the Face of the Tub

Tip: Get a head start on installing a new bathtub by getting your demolition out of the way early.

Use a hammer and cold chisel to begin removing tile from the face of the tub surround. Take care not to remove any tiles that come in contact with the rim of the tub. Remove tile in this manner until none remains.

Remove base trim, then remove the cement board. Use a hammer to pry and pull away the cement board, then use hands where possible for faster removal.

remove base trim and then cement board

Step 2: Remove the Frame

Once the entire face of the tub has been removed, it's time to move on to the frame. First, remove one of the 2 x 4 braces to give better access to the drain fitting. Loosen the drain connection to the tub, the use an allen wrench to loosen the screw holding the faucet in place. Remove the faucet.

In this example, the garden tub has a whirlpool and has a motor and electricity that need to be unplugged.

Step 3: Raise the Tub Up and Remove Fixtures

Use a crow bar to raise the tub, then slip a 2 x 4 underneath to raise the tub up and away from the floor (Image 1). This will allow room for you to slide your fingers (with the help of a strong friend) under the tub and lift it right out of the frame (Image 2).

Remove the remaining tile from the frame, then remove the cement board.

Remove the remaining 2 x 4 frame.

Remove the tub handles (Image 3) by loosening them with an Allen wrench.

Unscrew the escutcheon plates.

Step 4: Remove the Remaining Tile

Use a hammer and chisel to remove the tile on the top of the tub frame and carefully work along the back wall. Take care not to disturb any wall tiles.

remove tile on top of tub frame along back wall

Step 5: Remove the Pipes, Etc.

With all of the tile removed, use a reciprocating saw to cut through the frame (Image 1). Remove cement board and the screws holding the plywood base together. Cut a large section around the plumbing to free the pipes (Image 2).

Remove the remaining 2 x 4 bracing along the wall, remove the electrical box (after turning off the power) and removing the remaining 2 x 4 framing secured to the floor.