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Ryanrpm 01-23-2010 09:03 AM

Surprise bathtub replacement! DIY of course...
Here is a shot of our existing bathtub. You can see that the tub and shower walls are one unit.

My wife goes on a business trip next week, for 4 days. I plan to go to Reno, pick up the tub, and shower walls, rip out this one, and install the new one. All the while, I'll be taking care of the kiddos, and going to work. I will have 1 day off, and the weekend to work on this.

The new tub is a fancy one with jets. She takes a lot of baths, so I think this will be a good birthday present for her.

Any tips you guys might have for me in order to complete this in my allotted time frame? Any tutorials you recommend me to read? She leaves town next Wednesday...

AndrewF 01-23-2010 09:38 AM

The TV Show renovation realities comes to mind here . :)

Have you figured out how you are going to get a dediated GFI protected circuit to the new tub?

Is your existing plumbing copper or pex? Do you have the tools for which one?

Bob Mariani 01-23-2010 10:13 AM

research how you will do every step first. Plan everything out in detail. Have all tools and materials ready to go. Make a todo list and be sure you understand every step. And it is unlikely you will do it in this time frame unless you have done it before. You cannot get a similar unit (one or two pieces) into standard door openings. We move these into a building before we build the walls.

Ryanrpm 01-23-2010 04:40 PM

My brother, who has some electrical experience, will help me with the wiring. I hope I won't have to tear out any drywall, just to get the new tub in...

I have two doorways to go through. The new unit is the hourglass shaped tub with the air jets. I'm prepared to move copper lines and such to accommodate the new tub drain and overflow.

RST 01-24-2010 03:56 PM

My experience
I briefly rented between owning homes. My landlord had to replace my tub/shower combo during that time because the tub was cracked. He spent $2000 and had some pros do it while I was out of town. They took 2 or 3 days. Some observations:

- Plan to patch some drywall, it will get damaged in the process. Thus, dust will get everywhere.
- Make sure you support the tub properly (that is what caused ours to crack). You may also have to dig out whatever is supporting yours. I believe some sort of liquid is poured under the tub that hardens into something resembling concrete. (That was the problem with my old tub, nothing was ever put in place to support it.)
- I believe it took 72 hours for the new liquid support to cure. We had to wait a few days after returning before we could use the new tub.
- Might have to patch some flooring, the landlord had to put in some new tile.

Good luck!


firehawkmph 01-24-2010 04:32 PM

What are you doing for the area above the tub itself? Does the new tub include walls? Is this a one piece unit? If it is, like Bob said, you won't get it through your doorways. If it is a multi-piece unit, you will be ok. I would plan on some plumbing updates while everything is tore out, shower valve, drain assy, etc. Are you going to have access to the motor for wiring once it is installed? Just a few things to think about.
Mike Hawkins:)


Originally Posted by Ryanrpm (Post 387702)
My brother, who has some electrical experience, will help me with the wiring. I hope I won't have to tear out any drywall, just to get the new tub in...

I have two doorways to go through. The new unit is the hourglass shaped tub with the air jets. I'm prepared to move copper lines and such to accommodate the new tub drain and overflow.

Ryanrpm 01-24-2010 07:31 PM

RST, thanks for the heads up on tub support.

firehawk, The new tub will have separate shower walls. So fitting all that into the room should be no prob. I believe the motor will be behind an access panel on the front apron of the tub.

The area above the tub, IE: the shower walls; will be torn out as well. I want to retain the shower function, but also give my wife a more comfortable tub at the same time.

vsheetz 01-24-2010 07:50 PM

Pretty ambitious schedule methinks -
In my experience, Murphy's laws apply directly to any renovation work... :eek:

I was thinking the TV Show Renovation Realities when I read as well. :no:

Do let us know how it works out - and folks on this forum will be here for any advice needed while in progress.

Ryanrpm 01-28-2010 07:51 AM

Thought you all might enjoy some progress pictures.

We have the old tub out.

This is my brother the electrician. I'm glad he came by to help with this part of the plan.

This is me, pulling on a section...

We had to make a few cuts with a Rotozip, to get off around the inlet and such...

We finished a few hrs later. We did more than just rip it out. Crawled around under the house, scoping things out, ate some pizza, looked around for some water shut-off valves....etc.

Here it is, everything removed.

The old tub was 32" wide. The new Jacuzzi tub is a drop-in unit, 36" wide. I will need to move the drain and inlet a little to the left so that they will be centered. I'll also need to build a front cover, since drop-in units do not have aprons. The linoleum will have to be trimmed back some...and we'll need to run an electrical circuit.

I welcome feedback and advice guys...that's why we're all here. ;)

tpolk 01-28-2010 08:03 AM

looks like you will be out to your cornerbead, why not set on vinyl

Ryanrpm 01-28-2010 08:16 AM

Yes, it will be out to the edge of that corner. I think I have a plan for that though.

And you mean, why don't I just let it sit on the linoleum? I suppose I could. There's a chance I won't have to trim it.

Guys, do these drop-in units need a frame built for it to sit in?

Ryanrpm 02-03-2010 08:39 PM

Well, she loves the new tub! I'm happy because I know she'll be using least once a week. ;)

Here's a few more pictures:

We got the drain extended, re-centered, and the overflow raised. We also dropped the tub in and set in 2 of the 3 shower walls before I thought to grab the camera.
See where I had to notch the drywall because of the width of this new tub?

We filled the gap with 1/4" hardy backer strips, then placed drywall mud over it, then taped.

Here it is. This was what it looked like when I showed it to her. We are going to finish the front of it together. Pick out the tile and such...

Oh, and the inline heater came in today, so I got that installed.
I am pleased with the outcome. I could not have done it without the help of some very committed people who had to work with my time frame.

Thank you Chris Thomas, Scott Taylor, Kyle & Brady Drayton, and my son Wyatt....who kept my daughter occupied a lot of the time.

BTW, here she is hanging out...watching Aladdin.

All total, this project cost me around $1400.
Well spent I dare say :)

RST 02-04-2010 12:18 PM

Glad to see things worked out so well for you, Ryan. I'm curious to know, what did you learn from this--or what is the piece of takeaway advice you have for someone else contemplating a similar project?


Ryanrpm 02-04-2010 06:45 PM

I appreciate your question RST. The most important piece of advice I can offer, is to get on a forum and learn and research before you dive into it.

The 2nd would be, envision what you want it to look like, and then make it happen.

For myself, I learned a few important lessons. 1) Always use plumbers putty when connecting your drain to the tub. 2) Buy the tub and shower walls that you want to use for the next 10 or more years, because you have one shot to do it. (unless you have unlimited funds). 3) Perform good workmanship on your task. Rework is your enemy...and could be very costly down the road if you don't get it right the first time.

Scuba_Dave 02-04-2010 06:59 PM

No backerboard behind the surround ?
Is the fiberglass strong enough ?

I guess your old one didn't have any either
My last house had sheetrock behind the fiberglass for support

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