How to Remove a Bathtub


It may at first seem an odd concept, but bathtubs can make something of a fashion statement. If it’s time for an update, our How to Remove a Bathtub guide should keep problems to a minimum.


If you’re an experienced Do-It-Yourselfer, this should be a straightforward project requiring only a few non-specialist tools. However, a couple of things must be kept in mind when considering how to remove a bathtub.

  • You are likely to need a moderately high level of construction/plumbing experience, because this project isn’t typically a matter of simply releasing connections. There’s typically some demolition of the surrounding area involved.
  • Bathtubs are heavy. Even modern units made of fibreglass weigh a lot, and older cast iron models are more so. If the tub is located on an upper floor, or if you’re not in tip-top physical condition, the project may well be quite a challenge.


Of course, all homes are different. That being said, contractors follow a very similar deconstruction and installation process, as most tubs can be removed in the same way. The following steps are intended to give broad-based instructions, so remember your installation may vary in detail.

  1. Turn off the water supply. If the tub has dedicated stop-cocks, it’s possible to simply isolate the tub and leave the rest of the property unaffected. If not, though, it will be necessary to turn off the water to the entire house, so check the timing with everybody else. It may be necessary to turn off the gas or electrical supply to appliances like water heaters, also (check owner’s manuals for instructions).
  2. Eliminate any casing. Alcove-sited tubs typically have a skirt across the front to disguise the working parts, while free-standing units are often completely surrounded. Whatever the situation, the job will be made easier by maximizing access, which means exposing as much of the tub’s underside as possible. If the surround is to be reused, care should be taken to avoid doing any damage.
  3. Remove attachments and components. The overflow cover, the drain flange and the taps (if they’re fitted to the tub, as opposed to being wall-mounted) all have to go. Once the parts are removed that can be seen internally, within the tub, the external fittings – pipes that run behind and below the unit – should also be discarded if access allows; this will make eventual removal of the tub less challenging.
  4. Free the tub. In most installations, tiling and other decorative splash-guards are attached directly to the surrounding walls, and are put in place after the tub is fitted. That means they have to be removed first in the removal process. It’s likely they will be destroyed in the process of being chiseled away from the wall. Once they’re gone, release any mechanical attachments – such as fasteners driven through brackets into the walls or floor – and the tub should rock free from any remaining caulk.
  5. Final removal. It may be necessary to use a couple of old 2-by-4s as skids, if the tub is located in an alcove.

While removing a bathtub may be an easy job for some, the physical size and weight of the tub, the tools needed and the time involved may make this a job for the pros in other households. If that’s the case, call A Marco Plumbing Ltd at (416) 972-6222 in Toronto, or at (905) 619-9700 in Durham. We specialize in all types of plumbing installations, maintenance and repairs, and carry out plumbing inspections. We also offer drain cleaning and emergency services, all to residential homes and commercial premises, and at flat rate pricing, too!