What You Need to Know about Acrylic Tub Installation

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With acrylic tub installation, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of the most challenging aspects will be aligning the plumbing components with the drain. This phase requires careful measurements and the right connections. Your new tub will come with instructions about the connections, and the rest of the installation job will involve fitting the tub within the surrounding areas, supporting it, and ensuring the walls will direct water carefully.

Before You Start

Your local building codes can vary depending on your location so you may need a permit for this project. Be sure to follow all the plumbing and building codes. Once your new tub is delivered, it’s important to unpack it and then carefully inspect it. Your tub could be damaged during the shipping process and even if the damage is minimal, it can result in a leak. You should also be sure to determine what items are included with the tub when you purchase it and what you need to purchase separately. You may need to get plumbing fittings separately. Keep in mind that an acrylic tub is not self-supporting, so it needs to be supported along the entire bottom with grout or mortar. The floor needs to be solidly constructed in order to support the weight of the tub, as well as the person using it.

Acrylic Tub Installation Process

The recessed area for your tub location should have three walls comprised of stud framing with the four acrylic walls exposed. Be sure to plan in advance if you want any recessed shelves, nooks, or other accessories, and then be sure to frame them accordingly. Even if you want bolt-on accessories, this requires a solid construction between the stud framing. Don’t forget to consult your bathtub’s installation manual since it will have all the detailed instructions on the required measurements for the drain connection and the rough opening. When the framing is complete, the horizontal stringers should be installed across studs to support the edge of the tub.

You may want to have an additional opening to access the tub’s drain components during the process. An option is to access the drain through a hole in the partition wall, which can be hidden inside a vanity or finished later.

Once you have the tub site prepped, get an assistant to help dry fit the tub in place. This can help you troubleshoot problems. Install the drain components following the instructions from your manufacturer. Before attempting acrylic tub installation, be sure to note that the stringers are meant to level and strengthen the tub deck but shouldn’t be expected to support the weight of the tub. Once you have the tub installed, you still need to build the surrounding area in a way that ensures water is diverted away from the walls and back into the tub.

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