Replacing your bathtub is a big project. Whether it’s for aesthetic reasons or functionality, bathtub replacement should be a carefully planned project. Luckily, Benjamin Franklin – your punctual plumber – is here to help you test the bathtub installation waters before you jump in.
We’ll help you determine if it’s time to replace your old bathtub and walk you through all the considerations you should make before your new tub is installed. You can also refer to our guide for choosing a new bathtub to help you select the right tub. Soak in these two posts and then get ready to soak in your new bathtub!
When to Replace a Bathtub
If you have an old bathtub that’s stained, rusted or cracked, you’ve probably been thinking about how nice a new bathtub would look. Many types of old tubs can be resurfaced, other tubs are more difficult to repurpose. Eyesore aside, there are other reasons it may be time to ditch that old tub for something better:
- Leaks. If your tub is leaking, it’s definitely time to get rid of it. Water damage is a serious issue and, left unchecked, could cause rot in your floor or walls and turn into dangerous mold. Check for mildew and damage under the drain and along the edges where your tub meets the wall.
- Value. If you’re planning to sell or remodel your home, a new bathtub can improve the look and feel of your bathroom.
- Function. Your needs have changed. Maybe you want a tub with more support that’s easy to get in and out of. If you have health issues, you might want a tub with therapeutic jacuzzi jets. If you’re taller, a longer tub will make life more comfortable.
- Space. Replace that big tub with a space-saving shower stall. Trading down for a more efficient shower can save you money on your water bill and free up usable space in your bathroom.
Regardless of the reason, a new bathtub or shower can improve your bathroom and your quality of life.
What are Bathtubs Made Of?
There are a variety of bathtub materials for every budget and look. Here are the most common options, along with the pros and cons to consider with each:
- Fiberglass. The most popular and affordable option. Fiberglass is inexpensive, light and easy to install. It also works well for tub/shower combos. The downside is that it isn’t very stable or durable and is prone to fade, scratch and crack.
- Acrylic. Like fiberglass, acrylic is light, inexpensive and easy to install. It’s more durable than fiberglass and comes in a variety of shapes and colors. You’ll want to make sure that all the stress points are supported with installation.
- Enameled steel. A durable and inexpensive option that comes in most standard sizes but limited colors and styles. Enameled steel tubs are easy to clean but if they develop chips or scratches, they could rust. They also lose heat more quickly than other materials.
- Ceramic. These tubs are made by using ceramic tiles. They are the most versatile option as far as size, look and shape. The cons are the surface texture and maintenance involved with ceramic tubs. You will need to clean and maintain the grout in between the tiles.
- Marble. Tubs are made from crushed limestone and resin and topped with a gel coat. They offer many styles and colors but may be pricier.
- Cast iron. Heavy but durable. Cast iron tubs are timeless and can be resurfaced when the enamel scratches. If you are considering a cast iron tub, make sure your bathroom floor is equipped to handle the extra weight.
With so many options available these days, you’re likely to match your needs and budget without having to settle for a tub you don’t like.
What is the Standard Size of a Bathtub?
Take your measurements seriously. Bathrooms are small and knowing your measurements down to the inch can save you a lot of frustration.
The average bathtub takes up 13 square feet of floor space and measures 32 X 60 inches. Add in a toilet, sink and vanity and you’ve got a Tetris-like puzzle on your hands. Don’t set your sights on that deluxe whirlpool tub if you only have 9 square feet to work with.
A plumbing professional can help you assess the size of your space and recommend the best tub or shower option. He or she can also make sure that all relevant building and plumbing codes are followed.
priority is style, look at alternative color options. Decide what your biggest priorities are before shopping or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the possibilities.
How to Replace a Bathtub
Step one is removing your old tub. If you’re replacing a cast iron tub, we hope you have some strong friends in good standing. If you have an alcove tub, you’ll need to remove the layer of tiles around the flange and remove the wall down to the studs to pry the old tub free. You will also need to disconnect the drain, the overflow valve and the water supply.
If need be, you may be able to break your old tub up into manageable pieces for removal. Use a sledgehammer to bust up a cast iron tub or a saw to slice up an acrylic or fiberglass tub. Porcelain and enameled steel tubs should be removed in one piece.
Some bathtubs require a bed of mortar to sit on top of for stability. Others have a built-in bottom support and only require a sturdy subfloor underneath them. Make sure your tub is level before you begin to attach it to the wall studs if installing an alcove tub.
Once your tub is properly positioned, you can attach the plumbing fixtures: drain, faucet and overflow. Make sure your drain is sealed tightly with putty or silicone to prevent leaking. If you are installing an alcove tub, you can replace the section of wall you removed and retile.
Like we said at the top, putting in a new tub is a big job and comes with a high margin for error. Hiring a licensed plumber to do the work will give you peace of mind that the work was done right and will last for many years to come.
Your Dallas Bathtub Replacement Experts
Call or contact Benjamin Franklin today. One of our friendly techs can look at your old bathtub and help you decide on the best way to replace it. The most important thing you should know before replacing your bathtub is that Benjamin Franklin will always do it right!