Installing a new bathtub is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have the typical plumbing considerations – making sure the seal is watertight, connecting the pipes correctly, etc. but you’re working with a large, heavy, solid object in a tight space. It’s not impossible to do it on your own, but this is a job you want to go into with as much prior knowledge as possible.
What to Consider in Advance
Before you make your decision on whether or not to install the bathtub yourself or call a plumber, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you installing or replacing a cast-iron tub? Either way, this is a huge undertaking. If you’re removing an old cast-iron bathtub from your home, you may be able to sell it for scrap metal, but first, you have to maneuver that enormous, heavy tub through your home and out the door. You may have to use a sledgehammer to break it up first, which means extra work and mess. If you’re installing a cast-iron tub, this could involve reinforcing the bathroom floor first and again in other places if you have to carry the tub through the house.
- Is the new tub the same size and orientation as the old one? If so, the installation will be relatively straightforward. Otherwise, if the new tub has a different footprint or if the drain is on the opposite side, the job could involve modifying the pipes. Plus, you might need to retile the walls around the tub and/or refresh the waterproofing over the drywall.
- Do you have the right tools? Bathtub removal and installation require an arsenal of tools that not everyone already has on hand. Pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers are in most homeowners’ toolboxes already, but more specialized equipment such as a keyhole saw and shower stem socket wrench aren’t as common.
- Do you have plenty of willing assistants? Even if everything goes exactly according to plan, installing a bathtub is not a one-person job. The lifting and carrying alone will require at least two or three people. When you’re planning a big job like this, make sure you have plenty of friends who are willing to help out – maybe in exchange for pizza!
Be Prepared for Complications
As you know, DIY jobs rarely go exactly according to the plan. Every home has its quirks and it’s impossible to anticipate every twist and turn the job can take. With a bathtub installation, you could be in for some nasty surprises.
- Can you get the tubs through the bathroom door? Often, it’s impossible to move a tub into or out of a bathroom without removing a wall. Do you have the know-how to remove and replace a bathroom wall without causing any damage?
- Is there enough room to maneuver? Even if the doorway is wide enough to get a tub through, most bathrooms just don’t have enough room to move a tub in. It’s frequently necessary to temporarily remove the toilet and even the vanity until the tub installation is finished.
- Is the floor level? It’s not uncommon for bathroom floors to settle over time, so it can be very tricky to get the new tub perfectly level. If it’s even a little bit wobbly, it can create a safety hazard in addition to putting a strain on the plumbing that could lead to potentially disastrous leaks.
Call the Plumbing Nerds To Install Your New Tub
As we said, it’s not impossible to install a bathtub yourself, but depending on your skill set it may make a lot more sense to let the pros handle it. And it makes even more sense to choose plumbers who are so obsessed with our work that we proudly call ourselves the Plumbing Nerds. If you’re in Southwest Florida and you want your bathtub installation done to our top-notch nerdy standards, give us a call at (239) 893-9443 or schedule an appointment online.