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Is it time for a bathroom remodel in your home? If so, maybe you've thought about installing a freestanding tub. Don't call the plumber just yet. After you find the perfect tub and have found a design for the bathroom, installing a freestanding tub isn't extremely difficult. The tub can be put on top of any type of flooring as long as it can handle the weight of the tub. All you need is a drain and hot and cold water lines to connect to the tub. Here's how to install a free standing bath tub without the hassle.
There are a few things you'll need to do before you get to the freestanding tub install. First, gather all the tools and equipment you'll need, such as a level, a wrench, blanket or towel, caulk, plumber's putty, possibly a saw or drill, and of course, the bathtub. Your installation manual may have additional tools that are necessary for your specific tub installation. Keep these tools available throughout the process.
Make sure the tub is the right size for your bathroom and determine where you'd like the tub to be placed. Determine if you're adding a shower and how close to the walls you'd like your tub to be.
As with any tub, a freestanding tub install goes smoothest when you have previous water and drain lines in place near the tub. For remodels, this usually isn't an issue, as these were installed for your previous tub. Your water lines may be stubbed out on the floor or in the wall.
Having a drain on the floor is a crucial step for tub installation. If you have had a tub previously, that floor drain most likely exists. If you don't have one or need to create a new one in a different spot, you'll need to cut open the floor.
First, measure your tub and recreate where it will be sitting. Next, cut a hole in your subfloor (this is usually the wood part of your floor) that can accommodate a plumbing trap and drain . Cover the hole so it doesn't get debris in it while you are working.
Once you know where in the bathroom you'd like your tub to be located, positioning it correctly is the next step.
If your tub comes with predrilled faucet holes, you'll want to position those holes close to the water lines for an easy connection. If the tub doesn't have faucet holes, you'll need to have space around the tub to install the faucet. This may be a freestanding faucet on the floor or a wall-mount faucet.
Freestanding faucets give you more flexibility for positioning your tub because the faucet can be placed anywhere alongside the tub. Wall-mount faucets are a bit more specific since the tub has to go right next to the wall.
Also, keep in mind the overflow hole for tubs that have one. This must connect with the drain pipes under the tub. So, essentially, you'll have to line up the drain holes, overflow holes, and faucet holes while positioning your tub in the bathroom.
The next step in the "how to install a free standing tub" saga is double-checking the box your tub came in. Make sure you have all the parts that the manufacturer says you need for installation. Sometimes these parts are preinstalled in the tub, so check there if you don't find them in the box. In other cases, you'll need to install these parts yourself before the installation of your freestanding tub. Before the installation of the bathtub for your modern bathroom, you should ensure that everything is in order. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that there are several requirements to follow. Firstly, it is essential to check the tools that you have for the installation. For this, you will need tools like a plug wrench, US installation kit , silicone kit, tape measure, wooden shims, moving blanket, box cutter, carrying straps, drain assembly, and bathtub drawings. These are specifically for the American version of the tubs, which are a bit different from the European ones, and all these tools will help you to install your bathtub more conveniently and easily.
If you are not ready to install the bathtub yet, make sure to keep it in the crate to avoid any possible damage. Once it is ready for installation, check the measurements of the bathtub and your entrances so that you can easily move the tub to the bathroom. Additionally, you should also measure the distances of the surrounding walls, the freestanding faucet, and the drain location for your bathtub to fit perfectly.
Next, clean the floor thoroughly. This will help ensure no debris ends up in your drains and that the tub will sit properly on the floor once it is installed. Then set two 4x4 planks in the place where you are going to install your tub. Make sure the boards are in good shape. These will hold up the bathtub, giving you complete access to the plumbing so you can connect the water lines and drains. It also gives you access to the leveling feet so you can properly level out your tub. Place one of these boards near where the head of the tub will be and the other near the foot, parallel to each other. With your next step, you should prepare the carrying straps for you to easily move the bathtub to your bathroom. Here, you will also need the moving blanket to avoid any damage while moving.
Once you have reached the place where the bathtub should be, carefully place it to the side to prepare the strainer, insert the foam gasket, (apply silicone around the drain hub gasket, otherwise, the tub may leak), tighten the drain hub into the strainer, and screw the clicker.
Next, enlist the help of a few people to set the tub on top of the wooden boards. You should place the tub on top of the shims and tighten everything. Adjust the tub as needed until the drain hole is directly about the drain line or the drain hole you made in the floor. Double-check the "how to install your freestanding bathtub" manual, as the positioning may vary slightly by the brand of tub.
Place a shallow tub or ice cream bucket underneath the tub's drain. Then close the drain and pour a little water into the tub. Ensure that the tub's drain cover is sealing properly and that there are no leaks. If you see water dripping into the basin below your bathtub, tighten your drain assembly and make the necessary adjustment as indicated in your installation manual.
We have yet to finish the installation, as a second water check is coming. It is important to fill the tub with full water and let the water get into the overflow hole and overflow channel to check for any possible leaks. After you have double-checked and you are certain that the drain seal isn't leaking, you can empty the bathtub. Now you can get rid of the water and basin, you'll no longer need them.
Take a pencil and mark where the leveling feet will fall onto the floor once set down. Also, mark the general outline of the drain and any other features you may have trouble locating once the tub has been taken off the wooden boards.
Take a minute and review your "how to install your free standing tub" manual so you will be familiar with the assembly of the drain and the tub's tailpiece. Also, move any tools or parts that are sitting underneath the tub out of the way so when you lower the tub, there are no obstacles in place.
Then align the bathtub's tailpiece over the drainpipe in the floor. Lower your tub straight down so the tailpiece slides right into the pipe. Every tub manufacturer has their own unique and proprietary drain assemblies and setups. These are designed to make the installation of their bathtub a bit easier. But because of this, make sure to double-check the installation guide for any nuances that may apply to your connections.
This step changes by each manufacturer and model of bathtub, but the idea of each is very similar. Place the level on top of the tub and take this time to level out your tub, adjusting the leveling feet where necessary. Make sure these feet are sitting over the pencil marks you made earlier. Clean the floor with a dry cloth so there is no dust. It's important specifically for the area where you're going to place a bead of caulk where the tub meets the floor.
Take your plumber's caulk and place a bead of caulk around where the tub meets the floor. This provides a watertight seal and stops the tub from moving around, which could damage your drain, faucet, or pipes. Where the caulk goes will depend on the model of your tub. Some bathtubs require a continuous line of caulk all around them, while others just get caulk on the leveling feet. Check your "how to install a free standing bath tub" guide from the manufacturer.
Once you've caulked the parts of your tub that need to be caulked, grab your helpers again and have them help you lift the tub, centering it over the drain. Then lower it to the floor, moving the wooden boards. Carefully fit the tailpiece into your drainpipe so you have a snug fit. Double-check the tub to be sure it's in the correct position. Then check the level in case minor adjustments need to be made before the caulk sets.
If your tub isn't matching up with these instructions at any time throughout the process, check your manufacturer's installation manual. All bathtubs vary slightly, and while this guide can get you started in the right direction, your tub manufacturer may have slightly different guidelines.
That's it! That's how to install a freestanding bathtub. Let the tub sit for 24 hours so the caulk has a chance to fully cure and stabilize the tub. Then draw yourself some hot water, add some Epsom salts and bubbles, and reward yourself with a nice long bath after all the hard work you did to get the tub in place!