How Do I Replace a Basic 58" Bathtub?

Replacing your old basic 58-inch tub with an updated model of the same size involves several hours of removal and installation steps. You must cut away at the wall to expose the top edge of the bathtub, which may involve different processes depending on the type of material you have on the walls surrounding the tub.

Remove the spout and faucet handles to lift up the old bathtub.

Physically removing the bathtub requires another person’s help, due to the weight of the old tub and its awkward size and shape.

  1. Turn off the water to the old tub’s faucet by closing the house’s main water valve. If the tub is not located on the lowest level of the house, turn on a faucet on a lower level to release any leftover pressure in the water supply pipes before continuing.

  2. Remove the screw that holds the faucet’s handles in place and then slide off the handles. Wrap a towel around the tub’s spout and use a pipe wrench to turn it counterclockwise to remove the spout, or back out the screw on the underside of the spout and pull the spout off the water pipe.

  3. Remove the screws holding the tub’s overflow drain cover in place. Pull on the cover to remove the attached stopper linkage. Pull out the stopper from the tub’s main drain before inserting and expanding a drain key in the interior of the drain body. Turn the drain key counterclockwise by clamping a pipe wrench to the top of the key. Break the seal holding the drain body in place and unthreading it from the drainpipe below.

  4. Cut an access door, if one does not exist, near the bottom of the wall behind the tub’s faucet, giving you access to the bathtub’s drainpipes. Turn the compression nuts that hold the pipe sections together counterclockwise with your hands or a pipe wrench to remove the pipe sections.

  5. Cut through the caulk around the edges of the old bathtub. Cut through the wall about 1 inch above the bathtub and pull the wall away using a pry bar, exposing the top edge of the tub. Remove the screws or nails anchoring the top edge of the tub to the wall studs. Slide the pry bar under one end of the tub and then the other end, allowing enough space for your hands to lift up the tub and remove it from the bathroom.

  6. Assemble the new bathtub’s drainpipes and attach them to the pipe in the floor. Test-fit the tub and place a level on its edges. Remove the tub and tack shims onto the tub’s feet on any low-lying corners of the tub so it sits level.

  7. Drive nails through the holes in the top edge of the tub where it touches the wall studs and holds it in place. Drive screws through the overflow drain cover and into the overflow tube. Spread silicone caulk onto the underside of the drain body and screw it into the drainpipe below the tub. Tighten the drain body in the drainpipe with the drain key.

  8. Replace the faucet’s handles and anchor screws. Reattach the spout either by sliding it onto the pipe and driving the screw back into place or by threading the spout clockwise onto the water pipe and using a towel and pipe wrench to tighten it. Apply an even layer of caulk around the edge of the bathtub and smooth it with your finger.