How to replace a bath tub with a shower

Updated April 17, 2017

There are many reasons to replace a bath tub with a shower. Whether you are moving a parent into your home or have decided a shower is easier to use, these instructions can help guide you with your new shower installation.

Measure the area of the bathtub to determine the proper size of the shower. You can usually order a shower to fit a standard size bathtub area. Before beginning your project be sure that the water to the bathroom is off. If necessary, shut the main water supply off. Cover the bathtub drain to prevent debris from falling into drain.

With a rubber mallet and chisel remove tile or plastic surround along the bathtub walls. Remove debris. Remove any screws or nails that fasten bathtub flange to the wall. Disconnect the drain by removing the strainer. Using pliers and a screwdriver unscrew the drain piece and pull out the stopper.

Using a crowbar, pull the tub away from the wall and remove from bathroom. You should be able to tilt the tub to carry it out of the bathroom. If your tub is cast iron you will have to break it apart with a sledgehammer prior to removing it. Be sure to wear protective eye gear when smashing your cast iron bathtub.

Remove spout by either twisting to unscrew or unscrewing the setscrew with an Allen wrench. You should cap off the pipe leading to the spout since it will no longer be needed for a shower.

The drain will need to be moved to fit the new shower. Cut the overflow pipe and install cap. Measure length of pipe needed to extend the drain, attach coupling and extend pipe to proper length.

Measure, cut and screw greenboard onto the studs of the three shower walls. Greenboard is a moisture resistant sheetrock that should be used in the shower area.

Install pan liner on floor. The pan liner is a thin rubber mat that acts as a moisture resistant membrane. Install shower base, then install back and side panels. Panels will screw directly into the studs behind the greenboard. Attach new shower drain to fit pipe size. You may need a coupling to match the size of the pipe. Caulk around shower with mildew proof silicone caulk.


Remember to keep the water off in the bathroom during your work. Always wear protective eye gear. It is best to fit all pipes, elbows and attachments together prior to gluing, ensuring that you have the proper pieces and a correct fit.


These directions are for the purpose of installing a pre-made walk in shower to replace your bath tub. If you want to install a tile surround shower the directions will be slightly different. Please refer to tile installation instructions for that type of project.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber Mallet
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Walk in shower unit
  • Crowbar
  • Plumbing supplies (exact supplies and sizes will vary depending on your bathroom): pipe, coupling, elbow, cap, shower drain
  • Greenboard/screws
  • Pan Liner
  • Mildew proof silicone caulk
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About the Author

Narielle Living is a professional writer of both fiction and nonfiction works. Her short stories have appeared in the "York County Public Library Juried Literary Competition" compilations. Living received a degree in therapeutic massage from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and attended Albertus Magnus College for two years to pursue a degree in philosophy and religion.