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How to Install a Walk-in Bathtub

June 3, 2017

Have you ever wondered how to install a walk-in bathtub?  They are simpler than you may think and although it is recommended to use a licensed professional, if you are handy you may be able to install a walk-in bathtub yourself.  Manufacturers usually include detailed installation instructions  therefore this guide is an overview and you should refer to those directions as they may vary by manufacturer.


1. You will need to remove the old bathtub and you should see the exposed studs.  This may mean removing additional drywall as the studs need to be visible past the top of the walk-in bathtub.  You should also measure the area as you possibly will have to remove fixtures such as your toilet temporarily to access the site.  In some cases, the door will have to be removed from the room where the tub is too large to pass through the frame.  You should always take measurements of the door prior to purchasing a walk-in tub as it may not fit!


2.  The tub is supported by ledger board and for the do it your self-er, this is a quick installation using a 2x4.   The previous tubs shoe fitting is likely reusable and should be installed on the new tub.


3.  Installing the actual tub requires liberally placing mortar on the floor approximately 2 inches thick.  You and a friend should install the tub together for safety reasons and place it on top of the ledger board ensuring the shoe fitting is lined up with the drain.


4.  The tub will need to be leveled and secured to the wall.  First place shims under the tub ensuring it is completely level and then secure the tub to the wall through the tub flange into the studs using galvanized nails.  Then secure the drain, install the faucets, and turn on the water.


Before you close anything up, you should run a leak test by closing the drain and filling the tub with water and letting it sit for 24 hours.  Fast leaks are easy to spot but low leaks are insidious and by leaving the tub filled with water for a 24 hour period will expose those leaks.  Once you are certain no leaks exist you can close up any holes and finish off the tub by installing tub panels if applicable to your unit.


Some walk in tubs are shorter than your previous tub and can be finished off by building a small shelf for shampoo, flowers or candles!  Some tubs also come with an optional insert to fill in the space.




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