Removing a Tub For a Shower Installation

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by Paul

This is becoming a more common plumbing service job for us these days. Many people have ageing parents or family who have trouble getting into and out of a bath tub. As our joints get older it seems to be harder to raise our legs and push ourselves up and out. So it makes a lot of sense to replace a bath tub with a walk-in shower.

Removing a Tub

Removing a Tub

The space taken up by an old tub can be used to create a great looking walk-in shower, without a large step to get in or out. As part of the plumbing installation, a tiled wall is the most common finish, with a set of grab bars installed for safety reasons.

Tub Removal
We normally start by removing the calk around the tub, and then start the plumbing work. There are some mechanical connections to disconnect first, these are where the tub is connected to the house plumbing. There are two drain connections in the tub, the overflow drain and the main drain. The overflow drain is typically covered by a stainless steel or plastic coved held in place by a stainless screw in the center. Once the cover plate is removed there may be another two screws which provide support for the overflow pipe, these can be easily accessed once the cover is removed. This is usually all that is required to remove the overflow drain from the tub.

Drain removal
The main tub drain is usually a little harder to remove. The best way is to insert a pair of long nosed pliers into the drain slots, and turn them counter clockwise to undo. It often needs a good amount of force to unscrew the drain, as it may have been there for a long time, so you might need to use a lever or bar to get enough turning force. Most drains are installed with an ABS plastic washer, but sometimes plumber’s putty has been used for a seal, and that seal needs to be broken away.

Tile Removal
Once the tub has been mechanically separated from the drain, it is often held in place by some tile work, and it is often necessary to remove a row of old tiles next to the tub. As we are installing a shower, it is fine to remove some of the drywall behind the tiles, as we will need access to the pipework inside the wall.
Actually removing the tub depends on the size of the room and the type of tub. Often cast iron or acrylic tubs are broken up with a large hammer in-situ. Otherwise the tub can be lifted out and removed from the bathroom, ready to start your shower install.

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