How to Install a Drop-in Tub in an Alcove

Last Updated: August 26, 2022 | By JULIAN GILL

If you’ve decided to put a drop-in tub in an alcove, making sure that you take the right approach to install it will make it a success!  Below, you’ll learn all about the proper steps to install a drop-in tub in an alcove, as well as some important details to remember when it comes to doing it the right way!

What are the Steps to Install a Drop-in Tub In an Alcove?

Whether you do these in a different order, or you organize them differently, the steps that you can expect in the process are:

  • Measure the alcove
  • Make sure the subfloor is level
  • Build or check the frame for the tub
  • Check the fit between the tub and frame
  • Accurately mark and cut holes for the plumbing
  • Shim and secure the tub into place
  • Attach, grout, and tile

➥ Measure the alcove

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➥ Make sure the subfloor is level

Much the same as above, you have to make sure that the subfloor is level.  Who wants a tilted tub, right?  You can use a level to do this.

➥ Build or check the frame for the tub

Are you building your own frame for your drop-in tub?  Use the guide and manufacturer’s instructions, and design it exactly as they tell you to for the right fit.  If you’ve had it built already, double-check the measurements against the guide to make sure they’re right.

➥ Check the fit between the tub and frame

Before you go any further, check to make sure that everything is lining up!  Put the tub in place and see if your frame is accurate, or out one way or the other.  Then adjust and re-do this step until everything is right on!

➥ Accurately mark and cut holes for the plumbing

Are you ready to make your tub an actual tub?  You have to mark the holes for the plumbing (the spout, taps, and drain) and then cut them out. Double-check those measurements a few times because you only get to do this once!

➥ Shim and secure the tub into place

Test fit your tub again and then secure it in place as instructed by your manual.  Not sure where to start with securing it?  Shims are always a good idea, and it’s what the pros use!  Then, using bolts, and any other securing agents that come with your tub.

➥ Attach, grout, and tile

Your tub is almost done!  Install all of the hardware, spouts, drains etc, and then you get to grout and attach it to the wall permanently.  Next, time around our alcove as planned and take a step back to admire your work!

Isn’t it exciting to see that brand new drop-in tub in your alcove?  Proper installation takes time and patience, but it’s so worth it when you can see the final effect like that.

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author of julian gill pictureJulian Gill

Julian Gill is a mechanical engineer and Certified in Plumbing Design (CPD) and worked as a plumbing engineer for ten years. Besides this, he is interested in home improvement and currently works as a writer. @JulianGillPro

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