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How to Install a Whirlpool Bathtub

Contractor Amy Wynn Pastor shows how to replace an old bathtub with a new whirlpool tub.

More in Bathroom

Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply

Shut off the water supply to the tub. Open the faucets and let any water still in the pipes drain away. It may be necessary to cut an access panel in the wall to reach the water shut-offs.

Step 2: Remove the Bathtub

Remove the faucet and handles and set them aside. Use a utility knife to cut away the silicone seal around the tub. Lift the tub out of the surround and remove it from the bathroom.

Tip: Bathtubs can be extremely heavy. Make sure to have enough help on hand to lift the tub safely. Once the tub is out of the way, check the subfloor, joists and other structural members for water damage. Make any necessary repairs before continuing with the installation.

Step 3: Fit the New Template

Center the template from the new whirlpool tub over the existing hole and check the fit. If the new tub is larger than the old one, call a professional to cut the granite around the tub.

Step 4: Tape the Template Into Place

Cover the area to cut with painter's tape to prevent scratches and other damage. Position the template over the existing hole and tape into place. Cut the paper template along the cutting line, then use a marker to trace the cut line onto the tape. If a professional is cutting the surround, he or she should handle this step.

Step 5: Cut the Template Surround

Remove the template and cut the surround along the line. For the granite surround, the contractor used a circular saw with a diamond-tipped blade that was shaped to follow the curve of the tub. A second worker used a shop vacuum alongside the saw to clear away the granite dust. Break through the silicone seal and remove the excess granite.

Step 6: Dry-Fit the Bathtub and Fixtures

Dry-fit the tub and fixtures. If necessary, use a hole saw to make or enlarge holes for the faucet and handles. If working with a granite surround, have the stone contractor handle this step.

Step 7: Cut an Access Panel

If necessary, cut an access panel for the electrical work.

Step 8: Reinforce the Floor Joists

Check the weight requirements for the new tub and reinforce the floor joists if necessary. If this tub sits by an exterior wall, insulate the wall under the tub surround and finish it off with drywall.

Step 9: Assemble the Drain Plumbing

Assemble the tub's drain plumbing. Apply plumber's putty around the retaining ring and screw it into place with the drain pipe. Measure and cut the overflow pipe, install the gasket and attach the overflow assembly according to the manufacturer's directions. Amy used a professional plumber for this step.

Step 10: Tie in a Dedicated Circuit for the Motor

Have an electrician tie in a dedicated circuit for the whirlpool motor. For this project, the electrician was able to re-route power from an unused baseboard heater upstairs to create a circuit for the heater. This kept him from having to run a complete circuit from the breaker box.

Step 11: Put the Bathtub in Place

Apply a layer of silicone around the edge of the hole in the tub surround and settle the tub in place. Make the final connections for the water supply, drain and whirlpool.

Step 12: Test the Whirlpool Motor

Fill the tub with water and test out the whirlpool motor. Drain the tub and check for leaks before closing off the access panel.

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