15 Oct 2020

Knowing how to remove a bathtub from your home seems like a niche piece of information, but you never know when you might need it. Perhaps you suddenly have to try replacing a bathtub, or maybe you are removing a bathroom from your home to make way for another small room. Perhaps you need to get it out of the way while you demolish a wall or renovate the room next door.

Whatever the case, here is a quick guide on how to remove a bathtub safely, efficiently, and with minimal hassle. Bathtubs are hardly the most straightforward installation to handle, set up difficulties aside, and removing them can be as easy or as hard as you make it for yourself. The right tools and some careful planning can have it out of your home for good and ready to throw away within a single day.

Getting Started

Before you try removing the bathtub, you need the right equipment. You do not actually need all that much: the recommended list of gear is a wrench (preferably an adjustable wrench), a hammer, a chisel, and a pry bar or similar prying tool. Other equipment such as a utility knife or reciprocating saw might help, but you need at least these four items if you want to move the tub.

Make sure that you turn off the water to the bathroom (or the whole house) before you try to remove anything. You can either shut off the entire water flow temporarily or disconnect the pipes next to the bathroom, but it is up to you which method you use. If you are going to be knocking down walls containing the pipes to get the new tub inside, stopping the water entirely before you remove any pieces is the best option.

Then, locate the pipes that lead into the bathtub itself if you have not already. You will always need to have access to these when you are removing or replacing bathtubs. If you damage the pipes, you will need to replace them afterward, so be sure to only disassemble or cut pieces that are not necessary to keep. If you have to open up the wall to access the pipes, then be extremely careful. Otherwise, you might slice straight into them.

Always be sure that you understand what you are doing, too. If you are not familiar with part of a bathtub or do not really know how to remove things like an access panel, shower head, or old-school copper pipes, do your research and do not try to rush in without checking the situation out. Even if you are okay with destroying the bathroom, you might cause damage to items that you were intending to keep, including expensive pieces like drain system pipes, overflow drain cover pieces, or your own bathroom floor.

Removing a Bathtub

With the water supply turned off, disconnect the tub drain using your wrench and move any loose parts of the tub drain off to the side. Loosen the slip nut that connects the bathtub to the overflow pipe and drain it completely. With that done, there should be no water supply left in the bathtub. If a pipe gets stuck ana will not disconnect, you might need a utility knife or other cutting tool to split it open.

Once that is done, it is time to remove the old bathtub from the floor. You can do this using the hammer and chisel. Break way at the bottom row of tiles until you manage to completely clear any bonding between it, but be careful not to damage the flooring too much if you want to avoid completely re-tiling it later on. Then, you do the same thing to the tiles on the wall using a pry bar, slowly widening the gap between the wall and the tub.

All of this loosens up the bathtub from the back wall and floor, allowing you to remove the ledger by simply lifting the whole tub up. Not all bathtubs have a ledger slip, and it might be in place with a wooden beam clip or some other similar clip system. If this happens, just hammer it off or disconnect it. A reciprocating saw can be useful for breaking down beams if you just want to scrap the tub.

With the old bathtub now free, pull it out of place, but keep in mind how much a tub can weigh – you might need somebody else to help with this. If you do not care about the tub being in one piece, you can also use a reciprocating saw to cut it into more manageable parts that are then easier to remove, but there will not be a way to fix it later on.

The exact methods you need to use when you remove each tub will change depending on the design and how it is all hooked up to the water supply. For example, a different tub flange or bathtub drain design can change the way the removal process works, and even a difference in the tub spout might mean that you end up having to destroy the spout just to get the tub off the wall. If you need to, you can buy a new tub spout afterward anyway.

Replace Bathtub

If you are planning to remove and replace bath with a new tub, then you just need to take it one step at a time and follow whatever installation instructions have been provided. Every tub is different, and the tub you need to remove will often be different from the tub you install. Drainpipe connections, wall bonding, and a wide range of other differences can all alter how the process goes, so check everything and make sure that you do not miss a single connection. If you need help, get a professional to install the tub instead.

There is not much more to say here since it all depends on the tub that you are replacing, bathtub fittings that already exist, and the way that the new tub stands out from the others. You might have to replace some of the bath fittings and connections if you had a very old tub with outdated components, too.

Dispose of the Tub

Now that the old tub is out of the way, you still have to find a suitable way to get rid of it. Disposing of the tub, along with any drain pieces or wall debris that you have left behind, often requires a dumpster.

Tub removal with a dumpster is simple: you take the tub, broken wall pieces, drain parts, and any other debris, then throw them straight in the dumpster. It does not matter how many drain system pipes you are putting in, or how large the tub might be: one dumpster can easily hold multiple bathtubs if needed, and you can remove them all in one fell swoop.

To remove a tub like this, arrange for a dumpster delivery. Once it comes, just throw the tub straight in, along with any other drain pieces or wall debris that you want to remove. After the agreed rental period is up, the rental company will come to remove the dumpster – but they will also remove the contents and dispose of it all.

This essentially allows you to remove everything at the same time without needing to leave your own home, meaning that it will not be a drain on your free time. The price of renting a smaller dumpster is also quite reasonable, and larger ones can be amazing for dealing with large-scale renovations or construction that might involve breaking down several wall sections or completely changing the exterior or interior of a building.

Other ways of removing your bathtub include selling it (if it is still usable), donating it to charity (again, if it can still be used properly), turning it into a DIY project (such as a water container for gardens or other outdoor areas), taking it to a disposal ground yourself, or somehow finding another alternate use for it. There is rarely any reason to keep an old tub around, and you can always strip the useful extras like faucets and pipes out of the body before you throw it away.

With the tub removed and disposed of, you have now completely removed a tub and cleared plenty of space that it would have taken up, as well as possibly replaced it with a new, better alternative. If this is not the end of your project, then go ahead and get started on the next steps, but do not be afraid to call for another dumpster if you feel like there is more that needs to be thrown away.