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Bath & Faucets

Installing a steel bathtub

I an installing a steel bathtub to replace a fiberglass tub. My question is how do you attach the tub to the studs? I am loathe to drill holes in the lip for fear of chipping the finish.

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Posted 2010-11-04T15:16:32+0000  by tombirmingham61 tombirmingham61

Hey there tombirmingham6,


Welcome to our forums! Hope you enjoy your stay =)


Kudos to you for undertaking this project on your own, we’ll help you get it started off on the right foot.

First off, you’re right to not want to drill into the lip. That is the one major thing you are going to want to avoid doing. So important in fact, that it merits bold letters. Do not drill into the lip. =)


The actual lip of the tub is going to rest on a 2x4” that will be hidden underneath. Take the appropriate height measurements for where it will meet the lip and make sure that the 2x4” is level before mounting it into the studs along the wall.


Once you have the 2x4” properly braced and mounted, you’re going to want to bring out some roofing nails (yes, you read right.) The reason behind using these is the larger head size that will ensure a snug fit against the lip. Put those into your drywall, with the head then catching the lip. Later on, you’ll more than likely be tiling right over this lip so don’t worry about seeing it later on.


I’ve attached a picture to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about...





Hopefully that at least gives you a better idea what I'm talking about (and pardon my artistry :smileywink)


Let me know how that works out for you, or if you have any other questions~


- Mr. Jay:

Posted 2010-11-04T16:08:19+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Jay nailed it by giving you the most popular application used by installers.

Might I also suggest, that in areas of very high moisture, that you use stainless steel fasteners. Roofing nails are typically electro galvanized once, and will rust under certain conditions.

Another option not requiring any fasteners would be to use a polyurethane construction adhesive to hold the tub to the studs. This however would add time to the project as it would need to cure overnight before setting the hardie backer or green board.


Thanks for joining our community and nice to meet another DIYer! 

Posted 2010-11-09T18:17:38+0000  by HD116

I have a particular need for a bathtub. I have a portable mechanical lift for raising my wife when she falls.

We also have a battery operated bathtub lift. With this she can take a bath by herself.

However, I want to be able to use the portable lift to raise her should the personal bathtub lifter malfunction.


The portable lift has two arms projecting forward with wheels. (these are 4" from their top to the floor and

18" apart.) I have to be able to insert the arms under the tub so that  the person can be lifted. It won't work

to try to lift from the side as it would topple over.


I need a tub that could be supported on each end and still be secure.


Any suggestions?



Posted 2011-10-22T23:48:37+0000  by jloun

Hi jloun we did some brainstorming over here and came up with a few solutions for you.


The first method involves simply raising the height of a tub 4” to accommodate the feet of the lift.  Now this method presents a few new issues to consider.

  1. Make sure to use a steel tub.  Fiberglass has a bit of flex to it even when traditionally installed and raising it up is just asking for problems with cracking down the road.
  2. The floor beneath the tub will need to be smooth enough for the feet of the lift to easily slide across.
  3. In addition to the side support that both Ask_Mr_Jay and HD116 mentioned I would also strongly recommend adding support for the bowl of the tub.
    1. The drawings below show one way these supports can be set up.

ChrisFixit_tublift_support_102411.JPG ChrisFixit_tublift_front_102411.JPGChrisFixit_tublift_side_102411.JPG


  1. As you can see above raising the tub also means raising the height of the drain and some possible adjustments to the tub fixtures. 


Make sure you take into consideration the final height of the tub and the maximum safe height of the lift when you pick out a tub.  A shallower tub can reduce the final height and make getting someone in and out with the lift an easier process. 

Now since this is more of a just in case solution we thought that looking at the gap beneath the tub should be addressed too. PaintPro came up with the great solution of using PVC moulding trim to hide the gap and fix it to the supports below the tub with Velcro (see above).  This would conceal the space when not needed and make it easy to remove when the time comes.  He recommends using a PVC or polyurethane moulding since they will on occasion get wet, both materials are also easily paintable.



Like with any remodel project be sure to check your local building codes for any issues modifying elements may present.



Another option we bounced around was the use of a claw foot tub.  These are supported at each corner by a sturdy foot and allow for plenty of clearance below.  Much like the method above a claw foot tub will require that some plumbing be rearranged as well as a finished floor being installed for it to rest on.  If you go this route make sure when looking at the height of the tub you take into account the total height of bowl and legs.

Claw foot tub


Lastly we discussed the install of what’s called a slide-in wheelchair walk-in tub.  These tubs look very similar to standard walk-ins but are elevated to accommodate ease of transition from chair to tub.  Another benefit is that they are often built to match dimensions of traditional tubs making retrofitting an easier process.  There are a few of these that feature recessed bottoms that I think may work well for your situation.  Unfortunately I don’t have the catalog at hand to check what’s available, but I will be sure to update this thread as soon as I have any information.  I hope some of this is helpful and if you have any further questions please be sure to get back to use.




Posted 2011-10-24T21:41:40+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL
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