How to Get a New Bathtub into a Small Bathroom (Step-by-Step)

It’s always a great feeling to get a new bathtub in your bathroom. However, the entire process can be a challenging experience.

This is especially true if your bathroom is relatively small. You will have to ensure the tub can fit, and you must plan the installation process.

While it is in your best interest to hire a professional installer, you can do it yourself as well.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get a new tub into a small bathroom.

Steps on How to Get a New Bathtub into a Small Bathroom

Installing a new tub in a small bathroom requires time and patience.

So, you will have to set out a full day or more to complete the process.

In addition to that, you may not be able to use the bathroom during the renovation.

So, make sure you have an alternative arranged if this is your only bathroom. Follow these steps to complete the project.

Step 1. Gather All the Necessary Materials

Before you can begin the process, make sure you have all the materials you need.

This way, you can limit interruptions in the installation process. Here are the necessary materials.

Step 2. Measure the Old Bathtub and the Bathtub Space

Placing a bathtub in a small bathroom will require very accurate measurements. This is because you don’t have much margin for error.

That is why you must spend enough time measuring everything well. Measure the bottom and the top of your old bathtub.

Write down all measurements, which you will need to add to your floor plan.

It’s also best that you measure everything before purchasing your new bathtub.

You don’t want to buy a tub that won’t fit or will require extensive renovation.

Step 3. Prepare a Floor Plan of the Entire Bathroom

Making a proper plan is vital if you want the installation to be as smooth as possible.

An integral part of that is to make a comprehensive and fairly accurate floor plan for the entire bathroom.

Gather the Materials for the Floor Plan

The materials you’ll need to create a floor plan include a piece of paper (preferably grid paper), a pencil, and a measuring ruler.

Grid paper is ideal for a floor plan because it will allow you to scale the plan more accurately.

Start Drawing the Floor Plan

Begin with first drawing the boundaries of the bathroom. Make sure you draw everything to scale, so you can determine how much space you have to fit in the tub.

It’s also important to measure the doorway. This way, you’ll know if your bathtub can fit through the door.

In your floor plan, make sure to include all plumbing, such as drains and faucets. At the same time, you should mark the length and width of your tub.

All of the parts of the bathroom should be in the correct place.

This also includes whether the drain is on the center, right, or left of the tub area. You can then use that to determine which position your tub should fit in.

It’s easier to make these adjustments on paper than lifting things in person. Once everything is planned, you simply have to execute it.

This way, you’ll save time and effort and reduce the chances of error.

Step 4. Turn Off the Water Supply

It’s best to turn off the water supply before removing the bathtub.

You can perform this process without turning off the water supply because there are water lines connected to the tub.

However, it will prevent any messes from happening if you accidentally hit a valve in the bathroom.

A wet bathroom will also make it hard to apply the mortar.

In addition to that, you should definitely turn off the water supply if you’re removing the toilet and sink. More on this in the next step.

Also read: 14 Simple Tips to Conserve Water in the Bathroom

Step 5. Remove the Old Tub

Place your old bathtub on its side and then lift it vertically to remove it.

It’s best to call over two strong family members or friends to help you with this process.

Bathtubs are considerably heavy, regardless of what material they are. So, you’ll need help to remove your old one and place the new one carefully.

The last thing you’d want is to let the new one slip onto the floor.

Consider Removing the Toilet and Sink

Depending on the layout of your bathroom, you may have to remove the toilet and sink to remove the old tub and install the new one.

It will give your more room to work ably and with care.

That said, if the sink and toilet are not in the way, you can leave them as is. Disconnecting the toilet and sink will increase your work.

If you don’t remove these two elements in the bathroom, be sure not to damage them when moving the tub around.

However, a small bathroom may get cramped with three people inside it. So, it’s worth the extra work.

Step 6. Level the Floor Underneath the Bathtub

Some old homes with old bathtubs may have compromised sub-flooring after you remove the old tub. In that case, you will have to restore it with mortar, tile, and a level.

You must make sure that the sub-flooring can handle the weight of the new tub.

Follow the mortar manufacturer’s instructions on how to fix the integrity of the sub-floor.

Make sure the floor is dry and ready before installing your new bathtub.

That said, if your home is relatively new and the sub-floor is in good condition, you can skip the step.

Step 7. Place the New Tub in the Bathroom

Bring the new tub into the bathroom. Be careful to move it slowly so that it doesn’t hit any part of the bathroom.

Make sure to carry it vertically so that you have more room to walk along with it.

Dry-Fit the Drain and Drain Shoe First

Don’t place the bathtub in its correct position right away. Instead, you should keep it to the side and first dry-fit most of the plumbing, such as the drain and drain shoe.

It will be challenging to try and fit the plumbing after placing the new tub.

After you first put the drain, you should place some plumber’s putty or caulk generously all around the drain.

This will prevent water leakages. After that, you should screw on the drain shoe and remove excess putty.

Step 8. Slide the Bathtub into the Alcove

Carefully lift the bathtub, set it onto the skids, and place it into the alcove. Most bathtubs today have sound-deadening pads at the bottom.

Make sure that these pads sit well on the sub-floor.

When placing the tub, make sure that the overflowing plumbing coming out of the tub and the drain are in line with the rough-in drain outlet.

After the bathtub is in the correct position, take a close look at it to determine if it’s level. You could also use a level to check this.

Add shims to make the tub level.

Step 9. Attach the Drain Pipes

All that’s left of this process now is to attach the drain pipes. Connect the two drain wires and tighten them. Make sure not to tighten them too hard.

Excessive force can damage the threading on the pipes. As a result, you may cause the pipes to leak water.

So, you’ll have to purchase new pipes.

Step 10. Test the Tub for Leaks

After the installation, you should let your tub sit for 24 hours. This will give the caulk enough time to dry and set.

After that, you should test the tub for any leaks.

If you have disconnected the toilet and the sink, fill water in a bucket from another source and then fill it into the bathtub.

If you turn on the water supply without reconnecting the sink and toilet, the bathroom will get wet.

Next, check if there’s any water below the bathtub. Drain the water in the tub and check again. If you find a leak, add more caulk to the drain.

If there are no leaks, you can reinstall the sink and the toilet.

Step 11. Finish the Drywall and Tiles in the Tub Area

You can finish up the process by fixing the drywall and tiles in the tub area. You can then reattach the spout.

If there was any tile damage when removing the toilet and sink, repair that as well.

Last Few Words

Installing a new tub in a small bathroom requires a lot of precision and dedication.

If you prefer not to put in the effort yourself, you can always consider hiring a professional team to handle the process.

A new bathtub can completely change the appearance and feel of your bathroom.

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