How to remove a bath tub

Removing a bathtub can be done cheaply and effortlessly.  Photo / unsplash.com.

What you need to know:

  • When one loses their mobility either through illness or age, getting in and out of a bathtub becomes cumbersome.

The thought of a soak at the end of a long day is a pulling factor for one to want a bathtub in their bathroom.  However, at times, that may be weighed down by other issues hence the need to get rid of the existing bathtub.

Henry Mugabi, a plumber says there are several reasons to remove a bathtub and these include:

Inaccessibility

 When one loses their mobility either through illness or age, getting in and out of a bathtub becomes cumbersome.

“That will call for being very cautious. For some that still need a bathtub, the option becomes getting a walk-in bathtub. However, the easier and less expensive option would be getting a shower,”  Mugabi says.

Safety

 While it is very relaxing to soak in that bathtub, climbing in and out of that tub makes one prone to accidents.

“That is because of the slippery ceramic surface. However, be it a young person or elderly person, a shower is safer. In case of adding safety, then grab bars could be added,” Mugabi says.

Saves water

 If one is to enjoy their bath in a tub, they will need a lot of water. That is contrary to when one uses an efficient shower.  “Using less water is good for the environment as well as the pocket,” he says.

Luxury in a small space

 Unknown to some, showers can offer one comfort as much as bathtubs do and more. Mugabi says that some high-end showers offer massage options which offers comfort.

Removing the bath tub

Whatever your reason for removing that existing bathtub, Fred Batwale, a plumber shares the easiest way to get rid of a bathtub.

First, cut off all the water supplies to the bath tub, then close the valves at the storage tank and the valves supplying the water heater in order to stop both supplies; hot and cold to the tub. Thereafter, drain the water pipes before opening them.  The next step is to remove the tub drain which starts by removing the drain stopper.

“With a nosal plier, turn the drain assembly anti-clockwise to enable you totally open up the drain,” he shares.

Then remove the fixtures and one of these is the faucet or the mixer, depending on what you have on your bathtub.

“Unscrew the faucet by hand turning it to the anticlockwise direction. You also need to unscrew the faucet handles by loosening the centre screw. However, some handles may have plates covering the screw and these can be removed using a screwdriver,” Batwale shares.

Important to note is that the faucet and controls are usually  attached to the wall and will require some effort to free them.  However, to ensure that they do not get damaged as the tub is getting dislodged, Batwale advises homeowners to remove them at this point.

Thereafter, remove the silicon which works as a caulking to prevent water from sipping into the floor from the surrounding. “That can be done using a screwdriver,” he says.

Any bathtub installed this way has a waterproof wall going around its three sides and it is usually made of tile. In order to remove the tub, this wall must be removed and the work is complex as there is need to bang the wall or use a grinding machine to free up space to enable tub dislodging. “Getting rid of two or three vertical lines of tile is sufficient to totally dislodge the tub,” Batwale shares.

Depending on your tub’s weight, you could either tilt it using a crowbar to remove it or break it up. That is also dependant on if you want to totally get rid of it. “If you are getting rid of it, using a sledgehammer, break the ceramic tub. In the case of a metallic one, cut it into two using an angle grinder,” he shares.

If you desire to keep the tub, fit the fork end of a crowbar under the tub while leaning the tub towards the long wall.

 “Once it has lifted a few inches high, use your hand to continually pull the tub until it is standing vertically. It helps to work with someone, more so at this stage so that the tub does not get stuck at the existing plumbing at the head of the tub. They will also help you prevent accidents should the tub tumble backwards,” Batwale says.

With the tub out of its original position, either as a whole or in pieces, it is time to get it out of the bathroom.

“If  it is intact  and light, you may carry it out. However, the option would be to wheel it out to protect the floor from getting damaged,”  Batwale advises.  At this point, you may choose to either put another tub or install a shower.

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