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How to Install a Bathtub in an Upstairs Bathroom

Elizabeth Sobiski

While it may seem intimidating to update the upstairs bathroom with a new tub, it can be done by a handy homeowner and helper. Perhaps the greatest difficulty with upstairs bathtub replacement is getting the fixtures up and down the stairs. However, there are ways to make the job simpler and will take only a little longer than if replacing a tub on the main level of a home. Helpers are handy because tubs can be awkward and heavy.

Update your bathroom with a new tub.
  1. Turn off the water and remove the existing bathtub. Use a flat head screwdriver to take off the faucet, overflow shroud and spout. Use a utility knife to cut away the old silicone. Remove the old drain with a drain wrench. Remove the walls around the tub to expose the flange on the tub. Whether you need to remove all of the wall or only part of it depends on how much remodeling you are doing.

  2. Use a reciprocating saw to cut the tub in half. Be careful to cut through the tub only and not make any unnecessary cuts into the floor or walls. The old tub can now be easily removed and taken downstairs.

  3. Inspect the ledger boards. The rim of the tub rests on these boards, which also give the tub support when it is full of water.

  4. Inspect the p-trap that attaches to the tub drain. If the trap looks good, then you can reuse it. If it looks like it has degraded, then it needs to be replaced with another p-trap. The p-trap keeps harmful sewer gases from entering the bathroom and the rest of the house.

  5. Move the new tub upstairs with the help of an assistant. You may have to move it on end in order to get it up the stairs and around doorways. Put the tub into place, resting the flanges on the ledger boards and matching up the tub drain with the p-trap.

  6. Check for level, both left to right and back to front. Add plastic shims, as needed, to achieve level. Attach the tub to the wall studs with #8 1-1/2 inch stainless steel screws.

  7. Install the drain and overflow assembly, according to the manufacturer's directions. Use the drain wrench to tighten down the drain without over-tightening it.

  8. Install the new walls, faucet and water spout.