How to Remove a Fiberglass Bathtub
LESLIE: Bennie in Delaware, you have got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
BENNIE: We have a bathtub and we want to replace it. I thought the bath is being held by screws to the drywall. But later I found out that there are no screws and I don’t know what is holding it and I don’t know how to take it out. Is there any way you can help?
TOM: Bennie, how old is the house with the bathtub?
BENNIE: Fourteen. 1-4.
TOM: Hmm, 14. Do you know if it’s a cast iron bathtub? Is it a metal tub?
BENNIE: No, it looks like a fiberglass.
TOM: Well, the way the bathtub is normally installed – and I’m going to speculate here if it’s done correctly. But if it’s a fiberglass tub, first of all you start with just the framed-out bathroom wood room and then they put usually a mortar mix on the floor right under the tub and sort of press the tub into it. Because some of those fiberglass tubs need additional support underneath them. And that’s not going to adhere it but it gives you additional support. And then they drywall all around that and then the drywall plus the plumbing connectors and usually a couple of nails or screws in the lip is all that’s really holding that in place. For the most part, it’s just the weight of the tub that’s doing that. But trying to get it out is, you know, very difficult because it is so big and so heavy. Now, if it is fiberglass it could also be cut out with a saws awl. And you could actually cut it out in pieces.
But why is it that you need to take it out? Are you going to be replacing it with a different tub?
BENNIE: Yeah, we want to replace it.
TOM: Well, then you’re going to need to plan this out very carefully so you’re not inconvenienced. And you want to do this yourself, Bennie?
BENNIE: Yes, I want to.
TOM: Alright. Well, it’s going to be a big job. I would tell you to cut the drywall out from all the way around the lip of the tub so you have full access to it. I would tell you to disconnect all of the plumbing to it and make sure the water is off. And then I would try to loosen the tub up from there. And if it doesn’t loosen up, you could also cut it out using a saws awl.
BENNIE: Thank you very much for your advice.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bennie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.