How to Install a Bathtub: Tools and Supplies

Supplies to Have on Hand Before you Begin:

Once you have selected your new unit and your faucet, you are well on your way. Don't leave the home improvement store yet though. There are a few other things that you need to make sure you have on hand before you begin. It is often true that unexpected things can come up during any home improvement project, but by making sure that you have everything on the following list before you begin, you may save yourself some extra running around in the midst of trying to complete your project.

Overflow and Drain Kit. This is what controls the drain in your tub. There are two predominant styles. One functions with a lever on the face of the tub. The lever operates a stopper inside the drain. When activated, the tub will hold water. The other style has a hand (or foot) operated stopper right on the floor of the tub. Some twist close and some have a spring mechanism inside.

Regardless of what style you choose, make sure that the finish matches the finish of the faucet and handle set that you bought (i.e., chrome with chrome, brass with brass). You will also want to make sure that the diameters of the pipes that come with the kit are the same size as the drain pipe in your floor. Some older homes may have an odd sized drain set up, or it may be cast iron. If you find this to be the case, it is not a disaster, but it will require an adapter. Most salespeople at a plumbing supply store should be familiar with this problem and which adapters are necessary to take care of it.

Teflon® Tape. This is used on the male threads when you attach your new showerhead or tub spout onto the existing piping. You will just need to purchase one small roll.

A Heavy Wrench. A pipe wrench would be ideal. If you already have a heavy pair of channel lock pliers at home, those will suffice. These will be used to install the valve of your new faucet or filler system.

Caulk. This will be used to seal around the edges of the tub. Look for a tube that is labeled "Tub and Tile Sealant."

Shim Material. If you want your tub to drain properly and not puddle at the end opposite the drain, you need to make sure that the tub is not out of level. You will need shims to slide under the edges of the tub to lower and raise it as you start the leveling process.

Level. Of course, you'll need a level to make sure that the tub is.

Allen Wrenches. These are necessary to remove the handles of the faucet, and then to put the new ones back on.

Pry Bar. This will be used to break the old tub free from the floor and to help you lift the new tub when you are inserting the shims to make it level.

Plumbers Putty. Plumbers putty goes around the drain opening when you set the drain piece into the tub.

Wax Ring. You almost always have to remove the toilet to get the old tub out. Go ahead and buy a new wax ring so that you have it when you go to put the toilet back.
Brian Simkins is a freelance writer living in Chicago. He enjoys using his 14 years of home improvement experience to educate and equip new home owners.