Who to Hire to Install Your Bathtub

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated September 28, 2021
Bathtub newly installed in the bathroom
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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 a pro is definitely the way to go.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional 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. Plumbers are trained and, more importantly, licensed to disconnect and reconnect plumbing—a complex part of bathtub installation. Your plumber will also know about any necessary permitting required for this type of project.

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 want doesn’t fit.

So, unless you’re skilled in drywalling, tiling, flooring, and plumbing, 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
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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 make sure 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, 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 install your tub. 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?

To start, 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. The plumber or other professional will then:

  • Turn off the water and disconnect the drain flange, tub spout, waste and overflow valve cover, and disconnect the drain assembly

  • Remove the old tub

  • Remove tiles and cut drywall, if necessary

  • Make sure the subfloor is level and use a floor leveler if it is not

  • Drop the new tub into place to make sure it is level and fits into the alcove created by cutting the drywall and removing tiling

  • Remove tub and install stringers (two-by-four boards that help support the tub)

  • Set the new tub into place

  • Put in a new faucet, drain flange, tub spout, waste and overflow valve cover, and anything else that goes with the new tub

  • Secure the new tub in place

  • Finish the drywall and/or tile

  • Reattach the spout

  • Turn the water back on

Keep in mind that this is a broad outline of how installing a bathtub may go. If you’re going to DIY it, make sure to do your research and get instructions on the steps appropriate for your specific bathroom.

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