Do Plumbers Install and Replace Bathtubs?

Heather Ayer
Written by Heather Ayer
Updated May 9, 2023
Bathtub newly installed in the bathroom
Photo: Brizmaker / Adobe Stock

You should hire a plumber to install your new bathtub

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A good bubble bath is one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures. But what if you need to replace your tub? Or you want to swap it out for a more luxurious bathtub? When it comes to installing a bathtub, hiring an expert is definitely the way to go. You might wonder which pro would be best for the job. Do plumbers install bathtubs, or is it a job for a handyperson? Not to worry—we have a complete guide on bathtub installation to ease your mind.

Do Plumbers Install Bathtubs?

Plumbers can do a lot of things, including installing and replacing bathtubs. They can remove the old tub, install the new one, and connect the plumbing to the new one. This type of work involves connecting the drain, water supply, and overflow to the existing plumbing system.

Benefits of Hiring a Plumber to Install a Bathtub

While other professionals, such as handypeople and general contractors, can install bathtubs, a plumber is your best bet for this job. Some reasons that you might want to consider a local plumber near you include: 

  • Skillset: Plumbers are trained and licensed professionals with extensive plumbing system knowledge. They're able to disconnect and reconnect plumbing—a complex part of bathtub installation. They have the skills and experience to install bathtubs correctly and safely and will know of any necessary permit requirements.

  • Tools: Plumbers have specialized tools to complete a bathtub installation. General contractors might have tools that will do the job. Still, plumbers will have the specialty tools available and often have the newest models.

  • Efficiency: Installing a bathtub can be complex and time-consuming. A professional plumber can efficiently complete this job, especially if complex plumbing issues arise. 

  • Cost-effectiveness: While you might want to try to DIY your bathtub installation without extensive plumbing experience, a plumber can be the more cost-effective solution. A lot of factors go into the cost to install a new bathtub, and if a severe plumbing problem arises, you want to make sure you’ve got the right person for the job.

  • Guarantee: Most professional plumbers typically offer a guarantee or warranty on their work, which can help save you money if there are any future problems. 

Can I DIY My Bathtub Installation?

As with most complicated projects, you can install a bathtub yourself—if you’re willing to accept the risks that come with it. Along with the possibility of water damage, incorrect installation of a bathtub comes with other risks, including an unlevel tub that can cost quite a bit to fix.

Installing a new bathtub isn’t just about installing the tub. To sit correctly, a bathtub needs to be mounted to the drywall. That means you’ll have to change not just the tub but the drywall, tiles, faucet, and potentially the flooring. You also have to consider the size of the doorway and have a plan in case the tub you choose doesn’t fit.

So, unless you’re skilled in drywalling, tiling, flooring, plumbing, and the different parts of a bathtub, it’s probably best to leave bathtub installation to a professional.

Can I Hire a General Contractor to Install My Bathtub?

Professional installing bathtub hardware
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Who else can install a bathtub? If you’re on a budget and a plumber’s pricing is too high, you can always hire a contractor to do everything except the plumbing, then have a plumber come in to do the more technical work. Just ensure that your contractor has the appropriate experience, licensing, and insurance to do the job.

Can I Hire a Handyperson to Install My Bathtub?

Yes, you can hire a handyperson to install your tub, but be sure to check their qualifications first. Make sure to get recommendations from friends, neighbors, family, and references before you hire a handyperson to do this intricate job. You don’t want to hire just anyone for your bathtub installation, and if they don’t know what they’re doing, they might make mistakes that could damage your home and cost a lot down the road.

How Do Pros Install Bathtubs?

Knowing what to expect during bathtub installation is an important part of this process. After all, you don’t want any surprises during this already potentially stressful time! To start this process, you can do your pro a favor and remove everything you can from the bathroom to prep. Make sure you take down your shower curtain if you have one, remove any bathtub toiletries, and remove anything from the counters or floor. 

When your pro comes to install your tub, they will first turn off the water supply to the bathtub and remove the old tub and any tiles or drywall if necessary. Once this is done, they’ll make sure that the subfloor is level, which is important to have a level tub. Next, they’ll drop the new tub into place, making sure that it’s level and fits into the space correctly. Once they know this will fit properly, they’ll remove the tub and install stringers (two-by-four boards that help support the tub), and then they’ll set the tub. 

After the tub is in position, the professional will install a new faucet, drain flange, tub spout, and overflow valve cover. They’ll secure the new tub in place, finish the drywall and/or tile, reattach the spout, and finally turn the water back on.

You can expect your professional to make some noise during this process—after all, a bathtub isn’t the smallest and lightest object to move. This process can be a bit messy just due to the removal and installation of drywall and the installation of new bathtub accessories. Your professional will take the time to clean up the mess before they are done with the project.

Do Plumbers Install Tub Surrounds?

The plumber installing your new tub can also install a tub surround. Tub surrounds are made to cover the walls of your new bathtub and protect it from water, mold, and mildew. It might not be as complicated or complex as installing the tub itself, but it does require some knowledge of plumbing fixtures and the ability to work with tools and materials.

Do Plumbers Install Showers?

Yes, plumbers can also install showers. Shower installation typically requires both plumbing and the installation of the shower enclosure itself, and plumbers are trained to do both. This process involves connecting water supply lines and drainage systems, as well as connecting the showerhead and faucet.

Amy Pawlukiewicz contributed to this piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can typically use a bathtub after 24 to 48 hours. It's best to double-check with your plumber, though, because the time can depend on the type of bathtub installed and any special process or materials they used. For example, certain sealants need longer to cure, or if the installation involves extensive plumbing work, the plumber might want you to wait.

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