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How to Remove a Bathtub

If you are remodeling your bathroom, chances are you will be installing a new bathtub. That means you have to remove the old one. Don’t attempt to do this job alone. Get two strong helpers to assist with the pulling, lifting, and carrying.

If the tub surround has tiles, use a cold chisel to chip away the lowest course of tile around the tub’s perimeter. Remember to wear safety glasses. If the tub has a fiberglass enclosure, cut the enclosure 6 inches above the tub.

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To remove a built-in tub, follow these steps:

  1. Use a screwdriver or pry bar to remove the screws or nails that attach the tub flange to the wall studs.

  2. When the tub is free from the walls, use a pry bar to loosen the front of the tub from the floor.

    Place the end of the bar between the floor and the tub and pry up to raise the tub off the floor. If your floors are tile, you may need to break out a course or two of floor tiles as you did for the walls tiles.

  3. Insert several scraps of plywood or cardboard skid under the front edge of the tub.

    The wood protects the floor and makes it easier to pull the tub out of its enclosure.

  4. Slide the tub onto the plywood and pull the tub away from the wall.

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The challenge is to lift and move the tub safely down a steep staircase. Be careful — making turns can get dicey.

If the tub won’t budge, you may have to cut it in pieces. A reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade cuts through a steel or fiberglass tub. Use a sledgehammer to break up a cast-iron tub, but cover it with an old dropcloth first. To protect yourself, wear long sleeves, long pants, and heavy leather workgloves. And don’t forget safety glasses to protect your eyes.

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