How to Install a Tub and Shower

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Remodeling a bathroom can be a major undertaking, and one of the biggest changes that you can make is to install a new tub and shower. While there are a number of contractors that you can hire to do the job for you, provided you have the manpower to move the new tub in and the know-how to get the job done it's definitely something that you can do yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Basic plumbing knowledge
  • Tub
  • Shower head
  • Pipes
  • Pipe tools
  • Water-resistant drywall
  • Hammer and nails
  • Caulk
  • The first thing that you will have to do is remove the drywall or other wall materials where you will be running your pipes. Once this has been completed so that you are able to gain access to your work area, go ahead and shut off the water to the pipes in the room and run the initial drainage pipe with a water trap and hot and cold water pipes that you will need.

  • Next, move your tub into the room and lower it into place next to the wall. Make sure that the tub is level and that the floor of the tub slants gently toward the drain. Secure it to the floor and side wall, taking care not to damage the tub or the walls while doing so. Don't worry about caulking the tub or shower sections yet, because that will come later.

  • Connect the tub drain and overflow drain to the main drainage pipe that you have connected to. Make sure that your overflow connects in front of the trap and not behind it, since you don't want to run the risk of hazardous gases that can build up in drainage pipes entering your home through the overflow drain.

  • Run the pipes for your hot and cold water, making sure that they will be able to connect to the proper knob on your bathtub spigot. Most spigots will connect directly to these two pipes, but you may need to add an additional pipe for your spigot to connect to if the instructions on the spigot you have chosen call for it. Make sure that the pipes are properly threaded so that you can connect them.

  • Run the pipe for your shower head, making sure to have it connected properly to the spigot area so that you will be able to control its water flow from below. Should the shower you are choosing have a separate water control from the bath spigot, follow the instructions on the shower control in order to hook it up properly. Make sure that the pipe is secured within the wall and has a properly threaded connector so that you can attach the shower head later.

  • Once your plumbing has been run, get a certified inspector to come in and inspect it to make sure that everything is installed correctly. Should the inspector find any problems, make the recommended changes and have the plumbing inspected again. At this point you should also allow some water through the pipes in order to make sure that you don't have any leaks in the pipework; once the plumbing passes inspection then you will be sealing the wall again and you don't want there to be a leak inside.

  • Using moisture-resistant drywall or another wall material, repair or replace the wall section that you had to remove in order to gain access to the pipes. Once the wall has been replaced, sealed, and painted or tiled, caulk the edges of your tub in order to prevent any water from leaking down the sides and possibly damaging the wall or floor.

  • The final step that you have to complete is the installation of your spigot and shower head. Test both to make sure that they work correctly, caulking around the spigot after it is properly installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember to use moisture-resistant drywall and wallpaper in your entire bathroom, not just in the area surrounding the tub and shower; water vapor in the air during a shower can severely damage regular drywall and wallpaper over time
  • Be careful when dealing with hot water lines, as hot water can easily scald you
  • Use caution when moving the tub in or out of the bathroom, as a tub can be quite heavy and can cause serious injury if dropped on a foot or other body part

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