How to Install a Bathtub Insert

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Installing a bathtub insert is an inexpensive way to upgrade a bathtub that is scratched, chipped or dented. The insert fits over the top and side of the old tub, making it appear brand new. If you have a standard-size bathtub, you should be able to purchase a precut insert at most home improvement stores. If not, you may need to get one custom-made.

Things You'll Need

  • Bathtub insert Silicone caulk (in caulking gun) Liquid dish soap Scouring sponge Towel Oxygenated bleach (optional) Coarse sandpaper (optional)

Instructions

  • Clean your existing tub with warm water, dish soap and a scouring sponge. Don't worry about getting it spotless. Just remove any mold or mildew and debris that could keep your tub insert from laying flat. If the dish soap doesn't do the trick, try a solution of four parts water to one part oxygenated bleach. Rinse the tub thoroughly and then dry it with a towel.

  • Place the insert over the tub to make sure it fits properly. If it's too small, it will not work and you'll have to purchase a new one. If it's only slightly too large (less than 2 inches too wide or deep), you may be able to sand the edges.

  • Take the insert out and apply silicone caulk around the bathtub's drain, along the back, left and right edges, and at the seam where the tub insert will meet the floor. Make your caulk lines about 1 inch deep and no more than 1/4 inch high. They need to go the entire length of each seam, with absolutely no gaps. Quickly replace the tub insert before the caulk dries.

  • Check to make sure the newly caulked seal is tight around the drain so no water can get though. Then put the stopper in the tub and fill the tub three-quarters full with lukewarm water. The weight of the water will push the tub insert into the tub more tightly. Let the water sit for approximately 1 hour and then drain it. Add more caulk wherever needed to insure water cannot get in between the insert and the original bathtub. If water does get in between the two, it will be impossible to get out and could cause serious problems. Wait 1 hour so the new caulk is completely set.

  • Clean the insert with warm water, dish soap and a scouring sponge. Your new bathtub insert is ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful not to bump the faucet when you place your insert into the tub. The insert's weight could knock the faucet out of the wall. Caulking along the floor is just as important as caulking the wall seams, if not moreso. Don't neglect this important step.

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