How To Remove A Cast Iron Tub Without Destroying It (Do This!)

Kellan Jansen
by Kellan Jansen

Cast Iron tubs can be a beautiful addition to any bathroom. Their classic style is one of the main reasons why they’ve been popular for so long. However, not everyone wants to keep their cast iron tub in their bathroom.

Maybe you want to move your cast iron tub to another room. Or, maybe you’d like to remove it and sell it to someone who does want it. Whatever your goals are, you may be wondering what you can do to remove a cast iron tub without destroying it.

Begin by placing a thick piece of plywood over the top of the tub. Then, disconnect the front, side, and rear walls of the tub. After that, you can disconnect the overflow and floor drains. Finally, you’ll use a prybar to leverage the tub out of its alcove and into the main floor area. Since cast iron tubs are very heavy, you will need at least two friends to help you with this process.

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What is a Cast Iron Tub?

If you’re unaware, a cast iron tub is a type of bathtub. The material that it’s made of is what distinguishes it from other tubs. Cast iron bathtubs are created out of a porcelain material that’s been fused with iron and coated with enamel.

Cast Iron tubs are popular mostly for the way they look. They have a vintage appearance that many homeowners love. In addition to this, the tubs are thought to be very durable because of the way that they’re constructed. Together, these features make cast iron tubs very desirable to a number of homeowners.

Is a Cast Iron Tub Worth Anything?

Even if you don’t want to keep your cast iron tub, it’s still worth taking the time to remove it without destroying it. That’s because cast iron tubs can be sold for quite a lot of money in some cases.

Generally speaking, the scrap price for cast iron is $0.09 per pound. That may not sound like much initially. However, consider the fact that cast iron tubs almost always way 300 pounds or more.

Of course, that’s just the price of scrap cast iron. The price that people will pay for a cast iron tub that’s still in good condition is much higher than that rate. In fact, a cast iron bathtub that’s in good condition can fetch you anywhere from $300 to upwards of $2,000. That means that it’s absolutely worth keeping your old cast iron tub in one piece.

How Hard is it to Remove a Cast Iron Tub?

Unfortunately, cast iron tubs can be very difficult to remove from your bathroom. This is true primarily because of how much they weigh. As noted in the last section, these tubs weigh a minimum of 300 pounds. That means you won’t be able to move it on your own and maybe not even with the help of a single additional friend.

It would be one thing if you simply had to pick up your cast iron tub and carry it a few feet. However, that’s just not the reality of the process. Instead, removing a cast iron tub requires maneuvering it through multiple doorways, awkward hallways, and sometimes even down a flight of stairs.

To make things even more complicated, the shape of these tubs can make them difficult to grab ahold of. That’s why it’s so important that you take the time to plan out how you’re going to remove your cast iron tub before you begin the process. Failing to do so could put both your cast iron tub and yourself in danger.

Best Way to Remove a Cast Iron Tub Without Destroying It

The first thing that you need to do is gather the materials that will be needed for the job. Here’s a list that you can use to make sure you have them:

  • 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood
  • Screwdriver kit
  • Prybar
  • 2-3 friends

Once you have these materials, you’re ready to get started. Here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow to get the job done right.

  • Cover the cast iron tub with a piece of plywood. You may need to cut the plywood to make sure it fits snugly above the bathtub. This is important because you don’t want any debris to fall into the tub and crack it as you proceed further into this process.
  • Remove the front, side, and rear walls of the tub. Use the screwdriver kit to do this, or a cordless drill if needed. This is important because you want to minimize the number of small pieces that can fall into the tub and scratch it.
  • Disconnect both the overflow drain and the floor drain. This is also something that you’ll do with your screwdriver kit or a cordless drill, depending on what you have.
  • Take a prybar and position it between the tub and the studs. The goal is to position it in such a way that you can leverage the tub out of the alcove that it’s currently sitting in. You need to get the tub out of that alcove and onto the main floor area.
  • Work with your friends to pick the tub up and move it to your destination. Use care not to bang the tub against anything while you move it. Doing so could scratch and chip the cast iron, diminishing the tub’s value both to you and to others who might want to purchase it from you.

Ultimately, the most important part of this process is covering the tub with plywood during the early stages. Doing this protects you from the risk of scratching or chipping the tub during the removal process, which happens more commonly than you might think.

Will a Cast Iron Tub Rust?

This may be one factor you ask yourself as you consider whether you want to hang onto your cast iron tub or not. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is yes: cast iron tubs do rust. However, this doesn’t mean that you should just give up on your cast iron tub if it’s already started to rust.

Instead, you can use home remedies or store-bought products to remove rust from your cast iron tub. For example, you can make a mixture of just baking soda and a bit of water to do the job. This enables you to prolong the lifespan of your cast iron tub, even if it’s already starting to show signs of wear.

Can You Remove a Cast Iron Tub Without Damaging Tile?

This is one concern that many people have when removing a cast iron tub. Cast iron tubs are very heavy and have the potential to significantly damage tiles on your bathroom floor if you’re not careful.

Thankfully, you can avoid these issues pretty easily. All that you need to do is place a layer of cardboard over the top of the tiles on your floor. After that, place a layer of plastic sheeting on top of the cardboard. You should tape this sheeting down at the edges to make sure they don’t flare up during the moving process.

After that, you’re ready to move your cast iron tub out of the bathroom. If you accidentally drop the tub on the floor, the cardboard will protect any real damage from occurring. Additionally, the plastic sheeting will protect your floor from being scratched.

What if I Can’t Remove My Cast Iron Tub This Way?

Because cast iron tubs are so heavy, it can be extremely difficult to remove them in this way. You may try the method described above and find that you simply can’t get the leverage needed to pull the tub out of its alcove. Or, maybe your bathroom’s doorframe is too small to fit a cast iron tub through it in one piece.

When this happens, there’s, unfortunately, nothing else you can do. The only option at this point is to break the cast iron tub into pieces and haul those out of the bathroom. The best way to do that is with a sledgehammer.

Experts recommend putting a blanket or an old comforter over the parts of the tub that you’re going to hit. This will prevent the tiny sharp pieces of porcelain coating that are going to break off from causing injury to you. Once you’ve broken up the cast iron tub into enough appropriate-sized pieces, you can take it out of your bathroom piece-by-piece.

Do I Need to Turn Off the Water Before Removing a Cast Iron Tub?

The answer to this question depends on how your home is set up. It’s possible that you have a valve that allows you to turn off the flow of water to the tub itself. If that’s the case, then you won’t have to worry about shutting off your home’s main water valve.

If you don’t have one of these valves in your bathroom, then you will need to turn off your home’s main water supply before disconnecting the tub. It’s also a good idea to turn on a faucet in another room to remove any remaining pressure from the water line that connects to the cast iron tub.

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Related Questions

How much do cast iron tubs cost when new?

Purchasing a new cast iron tub will set you back pretty significantly. Most of the time, these tubs cost at least $1,000. Compare that to the average cost of a standard bathtub, which is around $400. This means you may be better of keeping your current cast iron tub and refinishing it instead of trying to buy a new one.

How long do cast iron tubs last?

Cast iron tubs are made out of exceptionally durable material. That means that you can expect yours to last for a very long time. In fact, experts say that, if properly care for, cast iron tubs can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. That’s about five years longer than the average tub.

Kellan Jansen
Kellan Jansen

Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.

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