How to Install a Bathtub: Planning and Tub Options

A woman called me a few years ago and said that she was thinking about remodeling her bathroom and that she would like me to come take a look at it. She was hoping that I could give her some ideas and that I could help her break down how much she should plan on spending. In an effort to qualify her needs, I asked her why she wanted to remodel it. Was it not functional? Was it just old? Had something broken? Her answer made me laugh as she simply said, "Come and see for yourself."

At various points in the past few decades, interior decorators and trend setters decided that bathroom fixtures and appliances needed to be colored. I'm not sure why they keep going back to it, because we always end up hating it, but at some point in our lives most of us have endured a rosebud pink bathtub, a harvest gold toilet, or maybe an avocado green vanity sink. I've seen baby blue, lime green, gray, and metallic silver bathroom fixtures. Bad taste, apparently, knows no boundaries.

Fortunately, bathrooms like these can be the ticket to getting into a piece of property while saving you some money. No realtor can justify asking for top dollar on a house that comes equipped with a bathroom that is decorated like the one I found that day I went to "see for myself."

Whether you are just getting ready to move into a new piece of property, or you have been deliberating over an upgrade for years, when you do decide to redo the bathroom, it is advisable to start with the tub. They are big, bulky and often heavy, and you don't want to be moving the old tub out and the new one in after you have already installed your brand new toilet, vanity, mirrors and floor. Take care of the tub first. You will be glad you did.

This project is a step by step guide that will walk through replacing that tub. We will take a look at some of the options available to you as you select a new one, as well as some of the faucet options that are available. We'll cover how to get the old one out without destroying the plumbing, and we'll obviously hook the new one up as well. Finally, we will make sure that the new unit is finished properly and blends seamlessly into the bath space you are trying to create.

Bathtub Options

One of the first steps that you need to take is to decide what kind of bath unit you want to install. Let's look at a few of the options that are available.

Standard Tub: It may seem like a waste of time to even mention this option. A bathtub, after all, is just a bathtub. If this is the option that you are going to choose, however, there are a few minor things that you might want to think about. Bathtubs are made of different kinds of materials - some are made of cast iron and, while very heavy, are extremely durable. These will last longer than your house will.

A less expensive tub option that has recently become more popular is made of acrylic and is very lightweight. While acrylic tubs will not withstand the abuse that a cast iron tub will, they are still very durable and tend to be a little less expensive. The real downside of these tubs is that they scratch easily and if it should crack, the repaired spot will show.

Whirlpool: If you are remodeling your bathroom, chances are pretty good that you are seeking to upgrade, and not just replace. One of the most obvious amenities to add to your bathroom is a whirlpool style tub. There are multiple benefits to be gained by making this move. First, and probably most importantly, you will have a great place to relax. There are many options available that include a soft bubbling type of tub, a powerful jet driven tub and every possible combination in between.

The second benefit that is gained by adding a whirlpool style tub is found in the addition of resale value to your home. Open up the real estate section of the Sunday paper and look to see which amenities are featured prominently. A whirlpool will always be near the top of the list.

Tub and Shower Combo: These fiberglass stalls are used when a shower is to be incorporated into the bath space. Probably the most common style, a large fiberglass mold is set in place around a tub to create a unit that is versatile and family friendly. From kids' baths to long steamy showers, this style is very practical.

Choosing the Faucet and Filler

Every tub needs a faucet, and selecting one that compliments your new bathroom's style and color scheme will serve to increase the depth and richness of your bath space. Take the time to shop around. There are many options available. If possible, try to find a series that also includes the faucet for your lavatory sink. That way the room will have continuity and the hardware will flow seamlessly throughout the room. Another option for aesthetics is to simply buy new face plates, a new spout and new handles.