Quick Tip: Bathtub Installation

Bathtubs are a functional and aesthetic feature of a bathroom. Before you buy a new tub, consider these important factors.

By Bob Vila | Updated Mar 5, 2021 2:52 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Bathtub Installation

Photo: istockphoto.com

The bathtub has become a dominant consideration when it comes to designing a bathroom. Before shopping for a bathtub, it’s critical to assess the individual bathing habits of your family. Don’t invest in a top-of-the-line whirlpool if showers are more the norm. A standard bathtub, augmented with shower accessories like a seat, multiple showerheads, or pulsating body sprays, becomes the better choice.

Installation Considerations
If the bathtub is a part of a renovation, installation issues must be addressed before the tub is purchased and delivered. Standard tubs measuring five feet long by thirty inches wide and holding about fifty gallons of water aren’t too difficult to get up a flight of stairs to a second floor bath. Other accommodations may be necessary when installing a luxury soaking tub or whirlpool. In some cases, windows are removed and the tub is hoisted up through the opening. Stairs will also pose a problem if your tub comes with a built-in enclosure. Look for multi-piece units if you want the tub surround feature.

Bathtubs without enclosures come with either left-end aprons or right-end aprons. The decision is based on faucet placement and which side of the tub, as a result, needs to abut the wall. Purchase a tub with a reversible apron if you are unsure. Faucets and drains are always purchased separately.

Just as important as tub selection are factors like plumbing, hot water heaters, and floor supports. Standard half-inch water supply pipes make filling an extra-deep tub a time-consuming task; consider installing three-quarter inch supply lines. A small hot water tank combined with a large tub will result in tepid bath water. Tubs with capacities of upwards of eighty gallons will require a fifty- to seventy-five-gallon hot water heater. Or, consider purchasing a bathtub that has an in-line heater. In-line heaters recirculate bathwater continually, guaranteeing a consistent temperature for the duration of a soak. Bathroom floors are built to bear the weight of a standard bathtub and today’s custom homes will accommodate most luxury tubs, but floor joists may require reinforcement in older homes if the tub is oversized