Building and buying

Fitting a bathtub: installation tips

Torben Schröder

Are you wondering how to install your new bathtub? Either you use the services of a specialized company – or you do it yourself. All you need is manual skill and a bit of time. In this article we explain what needs to be considered and describe the different installation steps.

View of a bathroom with white walls and a dark floor. A bathtub can be seen in the foreground.
© Getty Images / Martin Deja

In this article

What to consider before installing a bathtub

Before the actual installation of a bathtub, there are some important preliminary points to consider and requirements to check.

  • Water supply: close the main water supply and make sure that all the water has run out of all the pipes.
  • Location: check again that the bathtub really should be installed exactly where you had initially envisaged it in the bathroom. Is there enough space? Are the necessary connections for the fittings and the drain in place?
  • Tiles: the area of wall above the bathtub should be covered with a water-repellent material, for example tiles. The area that will be hidden by the bathtub does not need to be tiled.
  • Base: you have two possibilities for the foundation on which to install the bathtub – tub feet or a tub support. We explain the differences below.

Installation on tub feet

According to this classic method, four feet are attached under the corners of the bathtub. They are adjustable in height to compensate for any unevenness. This still places quite a high load on the surface the bathtub is resting on. If your bathroom floor is made of a sensitive material such as parquet, then tub feet are not the right choice.

Installation on a tub support

A tub support is a molded component made of rigid foam that the bathtub is embedded into – it completely surrounds the bathtub. In stores you will find universal models of this type of rigid foam support, which you then have to cut to size. The luxury alternative is a customized tub support. A tub support ensures excellent sound and insulation protection: the foam minimizes noise when the bathtub is in use, as well as keeping the water warm for longer.

How to install a bathtub

Below we provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to install a standard acrylic bathtub with tub feet in your bathroom yourself. Ideally, you should get someone to help with the work, especially as bathtubs can be quite heavy.

The tools you will need:

  • Cordless screwdriver
  • Old bed sheet
  • Pencil
  • Cutter knife
  • Flat file
  • Ripsaw
  • Caulking gun
  • Brick trowel
  • Hacksaw
  • Mortar bucket
  • Sandpaper
  • Spirit level

The material you will need:

  • Drain and overflow set
  • Bathtub
  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • High temperature pipe (HT pipe)
  • Wooden wedges
  • Sanitary silicone
  • Sound insulation tape
  • Bathtub sealing tape
  • Tub feet and mounting rails
  • Bathtub strips
  • Aerated concrete blocks
A man is mounting feet onto a bathtub.

Mounting the feet is just one of the steps involved in installing a bathtub.

Step 1: mount the tub feet

Place the bathtub upside down on a soft surface such as an old bed sheet. Start by attaching the mounting rails for the tub feet to the underside of the reinforced tub bottom using the cordless screwdriver. Now guide the feet through the oblong hole using the thread and lock them into place with a nut on the opposite side. Of course you can also fix the feet to the rails first and then attach the rails to the tub. Now turn the bathtub the right way up again and approximately adjust the feet. Use the spirit level to make fine adjustments.

Step 2: assemble the bathtub strips

The feet alone give the bathtub a pretty secure hold – but that is not enough. To ensure that it is firmly anchored, the tub must be fixed to the bathroom wall. This is done with the help of bathtub strips. Slide the bathtub along into its potentially definitive position and mark the bottom edge of the tub rim on the wall with a pencil. Pull the tub aside again. Use the spirit level to join the markings into a line. Now screw the strip system to the wall.

Step 3: mount the drain and overflow

Next comes the installation of the drain and overflow set – this is usually included with the bathtub. The drain is the opening in the bottom of the bath that you close when you want to fill the bathtub with water. The overflow is a partially covered opening quite high up on the bathtub wall that lets water out, preventing the water level from rising over the top. Both the drain valve and the overflow valve should be mounted in the corresponding recesses in the tub body.

Step 4: attach tape

Apply bathtub sealing tape and sound insulation tape to the edges of the tub which will be in contact with the wall, i.e. which will later be mounted to the rail system. This prevents water from penetrating and minimizes sound transmission from the tub to the wall.

Step 5: final assembly

Now push the bathtub into its intended place and anchor it using the bathtub strip system. The tub is now fixed. Glue the bathtub sealing tape to the surface of the wall. Connect the HT pipe and join it to the connection in the wall by the shortest route. Use a hacksaw if you need to shorten the pipe. Smooth the sawed edges with a flat file or sandpaper.

Now is the time to review your work so far. Fill the bathtub with water and leave it for a few days. If everything is still watertight after this time, you can continue.

Step 6: clad the bathtub

The bathtub is still simply standing freely against the wall, which doesn’t look very attractive. First mix tile adhesive in a mortar bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then measure the height from the floor to the edge of the bathtub. Use the ripsaw to cut concrete blocks to this height.

Apply tile adhesive to the upper edge of the block and to the side of the block facing the wall and place it under the bathtub rim. Then place small wooden wedges between the lower edge and the floor. This will allow you to position the blocks next to each other, one block at a time. Once the bathtub is completely hidden, spray construction foam into the cracks between the lower edges and the floor. After it has dried out, remove any excess residue with the cutter knife. Also remove the wooden wedges.

Fill all the joints between the blocks with tile adhesive using a trowel. Now apply the desired tiles to this cladding – again by means of tile adhesive. Use sanitary silicone from a caulking gun to fill the joints.

A man works on a bathtub with a caulking gun.

Homestretch: use a caulking gun to fill the joints between the tiles with sanitary silicone.

Fitting a freestanding bathtub

The big advantage of a freestanding bathtub is visual: when placed in the middle of the bathroom, it creates a sophisticated, spacious atmosphere in the bathroom. A complex installation as just described for a conventionally placed bathtub is not necessary. However, there are other requirements to be met.

  1. The bathroom must be fairly large to do full justice to your freestanding bathtub. In general, it should measure at least 12 to 15 square meters. The bathtub should be at least half a meter away from all other elements.

  2. You can have a freestanding bathtub with fittings mounted on the wall. However, it looks particularly attractive when the fittings are also freestanding, i.e. come out of the floor. If you are redesigning your bathroom yourself, you can plan the installation of the necessary connections in the floor right away. If you want to add freestanding fittings afterwards, you should be aware that the bathroom floor will need to be replaced.

Conclusion: step by step to your goal

You don’t necessarily need the help of a professional workman to install a bathtub – with a little patience and dexterity, you can do the job yourself. A freestanding bathtub requires less effort to install, but more space in the bathroom.

Read next

On our website we use cookies and analysis tools to constantly improve user-friendliness. This allows us to offer you the best possible service and personalize the advertising for you, both on our website and with our advertising partners. By using the website, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find more detailed provisions in our Privacy Statement).