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How to Remove the old Tub and Tile In Preparation for a New Installation

Updated on June 16, 2012
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Removing Tile and Backing Material

This is the method of removing a Tub and the tile around the tub for the preparation of replacing the worn out tub and putting in a new tub surround. If you wanted to put up new tile then it would be different after this part. But for this Hub I am going to show you what you need to remove. You must have some sort of access to the pipes in the rear of the tub when you are putting back in the plumbing and drains. That is a future hub that I will write when I get there.

Tools Needed

Cutting Knife


Tarp (If you are going to reuse the tub)

Cardboard or a piece of plywood cut the same size as the bottom of the tub (Again if you are using the same Tub). Dropping tile into a tub that is not protected will ruin it.

Garbage Bags Heavy Duty Industrial Type

Philips Screwdriver

Straight Screwdriver

Pry Bar

Gloves This important Tile and if found behind tub Wire Mesh Will cut you badly if care is not taken.

Dust Mask

Pipe cutter

Shark Bite Caps (Easy way to cap pipes no soldier needed and easy to remove)

Most 3 piece tub surrounds come 5’ wide. You have to remove the old Tile and Material to get to the Bare Studs. When it is removed then you will have 5’ of clearance to install the surround.

1. If you are going to reuse this tub then lay a piece of cardboard in the bottom of tub then a piece of plywood cut into the shape of the tub and cover with a tarp.

2. First cut around the Tile with a knife to score the Drywall or plaster. This is done to try to keep from cracking the whole wall. You can also use a Zip Saw around the outside tile. Note some of the older houses use Cement on Wire Mesh. Wear gloves when working with this. I always cut out just enough to get the tile out. You will probably have to re-trim this when you put the new one in.

3. Then start to remove the tile sometime you have to chip at it with a chisel or pry bar.see Photo B

4. Turn off the water and remove the Handles and Spout if needed. Sometimes you will not have to remove because the material is so water soaked that if just pulls off.

5. Work your way up the wall removing and bagging the material. DO NOT OVER LOAD BAGS.

6. Move to the back wall and with the hammer or Pry bar keep removing the tile and backer board and any nails. See photo C

7. Then move to side wall again bagging the tile and materials as they are removed. Some time you can get the tile and Backing material all off in large pieces. If so then break up and bag.

8. Next make sure that the water is off. Taking the pipe Cutter cut the pipe that goes to the shower Head. Next at a Straight piece cut the cold water line and the Hot water line. Install a Shark Bite cap On Both Pipes. See Photo D and E

9. Remove the Drain pipes and Remove the tub. It is usually easiest to turn on edge and slide it out.Then sometime with older cast iron tubs. They were put in when the bath was built and maybe not all the walls in it. So they only way to get one out is using a Sledge hammer. Wear Goggles, gloves and ear plugs. See Drawing E. Break it up into little pieces and remove.


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    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Maralexa Thank you for the comment and the visit.

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      This is a detailed hub. Thanks handymanbill! As Collisa says, it's worthwhile knowing what could be done by amateurs before calling in a professional. Voted up and useful.

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      I am going to post the replacement hub next so keep an eye open for it. Thanks again for stopping bye and if you need anything let me know

    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 5 years ago from California

      Thanks - I'll need it, lol! My boys are teenagers, so they will be able to do a lot of it. If we do this it will be a great learning project for them.

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Collisa Thanks for stopping by. It takes a lot of labor to get it out but they come out. A lot of dust and mess. If you decide to do this then good luck.

    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 5 years ago from California

      I wish those pictures were of the tub and surround in my boys' bathroom. I would love to see it torn out! Now I know how to do some of the work before paying a contractor. Great hub!

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Thanks Stacie L Its a nasty job and takes some time thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 5 years ago

      This is a great explanation and I know someone who needs to do this job ASAP!

      I'll send them this link..

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Great use as a turtle tank. I had to break this tub up to get it out. it was cast Iron and there was no way it was coming out in one piece. if you can a turtle tank is great. My dad use to use them for a Horse watering trough.

    • Vasiliki Bouras profile image

      Vasiliki Bouras 5 years ago

      If I didnt think of something my tub would still be on my back deck looking very awkward!

    • handymanbill profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      See there you go good job reusing go green

    • Vasiliki Bouras profile image

      Vasiliki Bouras 5 years ago

      I was just doing this last week! Recycling the old tub into a turtle tank for outside.


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