The Best Way to Remove a Cast Iron Bathtub

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Removing a cast iron bathtub in pieces can save time, money and your back, as cast iron bathtubs weigh upwards of 300 pounds. During bathroom renovations, you might discover that you have a cast iron tub. If the tub is destined for the nearest junk yard, the easiest way to remove it is with a large sledgehammer. Cast iron is a heavy but brittle material that breaks up easily. Removing the tub in this manner significantly lightens the amount of weight by parceling it out into smaller pieces, which are easier to handle when removing them from the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Drain removal tool
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Drop cloth, blanket or towel
  • Sledgehammer
  • Turn off the water supply to the bathtub. Although this is not a necessary step, it prevents water damage to the bathroom in the event of accidentally damaging the water supply line.

  • Remove the tub's drain using a drain removal tool. Designed specifically for the removal and installation of tub drains, it simplifies the task. Insert the drain removal tool into the drain. Using an adjustable wrench or adjustable pliers, unscrew the drain and remove it.

  • Disconnect the tub spout and faucet handles. Removing the fixtures prevents accidentally breaking them off in the wall, which could damage water supply lines. Remove the tub spout by unscrewing it with a pair of adjustable pliers. Faucet handles vary in the methods used to mount them. Inspect the handles and use applicable tools to remove.

  • Remove the ceramic tile. Bathtubs have a raised lip that rests behind the tile. At the very least, removal of the bottom or first row of tile that rests on the tub is required.

  • Place a wet drop cloth, old blanket or towel over the tub. The wet material sticks to the tub and helps to contain flying shards of enamel, which are extremely sharp, from flying around the work area.

  • Use the sledgehammer to strike the tub on its sides. The brittle cast iron will crack. Continue this action, breaking the tub into pieces that are easy to handle. Remove the pieces of tub from the work area as they break free.

Tips & Warnings

  • The pieces are heavy; recruit a helper to assist in their removal from the home.
  • Sell the pieces to a scrap yard instead of dumping them in a landfill.
  • Wear safety glasses, earplugs, work gloves and long pants to help avoid injury.
  • Use caution when swinging the sledgehammer to help avoid injury and damage to bathroom.

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