How To Remove A Tub Surround And Replace With Tile?

Tub surrounds are shower panels that are installed on top of the already existing walls in your washroom. Most tub surrounds are made of acrylic or fiberglass. It is easier to install and easier to remove by yourself at home. 

To remove a tub surround and replace it with tile, start drawing lines from where you want to cut. Start cutting with the lines, and remove the nailing flanges. Remove the studs from the panels and then cut the caulk. And then proceed with the panel removal. 

The removal of the tub surround depends on the type of panels you have used. Usually, people use retaining screws or studs and adhesive. There are one-piece panels, 3 piece panels, etc., available.

Each of the panels has a different removal process. In this article, we will tell you how to remove a tub surround and replace it with tile. 

How To Remove A Tub Surround And Replace With Tile

How To Remove A Tub Surround And Replace With Tile

How To Remove A Tub Surround With Studs?

If you are wondering how do you remove a tub surround, here is how to remove it:

  1. Removing a one-piece tub surround entirely at once is a bit difficult. This is why you have to start cutting it into pieces and removing each part. To remove the surround, start by scoring the panels with a very sharp knife. A used tub surround is quite impossible to reuse, so cutting it and then removing it will not only make it easier but also stop any damages from happening as well.
  2. With an oscillating tool cut along the already scored lines. With a flat bar and a hammer, start taking out the drywall pieces stuck between the scored lines and the panels. This is how you would be able to expose the nailing flanges. 
  3. Tub surrounds that have been fixed with studs use screws to stay in place. Use a drill to unfasten the screws. If the panels are fixed with nails instead of screws, use a cat’s paw pry bar to take it out.  Here I’ve talked about how to fix gap between floor and bathtub in details.
  4. The next part is pretty straightforward. With a utility knife, cut through the sealant or caulk. 
  5. Remove the panels now. Start with the panels’ corner side, move to the side parts, and the back part should be removed last. If the corner and side parts have been connected with a latch, unlatch that first. And then proceed with the removal.
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How To Remove A Tub Surround With Adhesive?

There are tub surrounds that have been set up with adhesive. Here is how to remove a tub surround with adhesive:

  1. The removal of the tub surround with adhesive is slightly different from the removal of the tub surround with adhesive. At first, you need to remove the plumbing trim. Start with unfastening the screws of the faucet handle, tub spout, shower head, and shower arm if you would like. And then remove all the parts as mentioned above. To make the removal part of this equipment easier, cut the sealant around them as well, using a utility knife. 
  2. With a utility knife, cut and remove the caulk or sealant around the panels. If you have a tub surround with multiple panels, check the corner panels. There may or may not be caulk or sealant where the corners have overlapped. This was added to keep the surround fixed in one place. 
  3. Using a putty knife, start removing the corner panels, moving the end panels, and finishing off with the back panels. The pry and pull method works the best in this case. 

After you are done removing the panels, you will need to clean will the glue residue left. According to Hunker, the best way to clean glue residue is using a razor blade to scrape off the adhesive and then using rubbing alcohol to make the leftover adhesive dissolve. 

Replacing Tile

how to remove shower insert and replace with tile

Now that you are finished with removing the tub surround, time to move on to the tiling part. Here is how to remove shower surround and replace with tile.

  1. Start with installing a new backer board for your shower. Use fiberglass tape to seal the edges of the backer board and screws to keep it fixed. 
  2. Measure the walls around the tub, and then use the tiles to understand whether it fits or not. 
  3. Start with tiling at the bottom center of the back wall, and then place each tile very carefully and evenly. Make sure not to leave a lot of gaps in between. 
  4. After a few tiles have been set in place, use a flat board against them and push the tiles with a rubber mallet to ensure they have been set in place. 
  5. Once you move to the walls, start with the bottom front row and then move back to the corners. Do not forget to cut and resize the tiles to fit with the shower valve, head, and tub spout. Allow the tiles to be dried for at least 24 hours.
  6. Once dried, spread grout all over the tiles at once. Allow the grout to dry for at least 10 minutes, and then with a wet grout sponge, wash off the surface.
  7. Use caulk with your wet index fingers and run it along the bottom row and the tub. Smoothen with your finger and let the sealant dry for 24 hours before using the shower again. 
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How Much Does It Cost To Replace Tub And Tile?

cost to replace tub and tile

According to Homeguide, the average price of a regular tub surround starts from $600 and can go up to $1800. On top of that, if you plan on hiring labor to help with the removal and replacement, you will be spending another $300 to $600. 

According to Porch, the average cost of installing a tub surround nationally is from $763 to $1447. This includes the materials and the labor cost. Without the labor cost, it will cost you a little more than $1100. 

If you are wondering how much does it cost to retile a tub surround, here is your answer. According to Homeadvisor, to tile, an average-sized tub surround will cost you from $750 to $1500. The cost can increase or decrease depending on the material. 

Things To Be Careful Of When Removing Tub Surround And Replace With Tile:

The information we have provided you with looks effortless to follow, correct? However, just because it looks easy to follow does not mean you should not be careful. Here is how to remove shower wall panels and replacing them with tile requires professional guidance.

If you have been reading the carefully, you would know the average cost of labor for this task. If you have decided to do it yourself, it is not entirely a wrong decision. Here are the things you should be careful of when doing this by yourself:

  1. Do not try to remove a single-piece tub surround at once. This will damage the walls. Your prime goal should be to prevent as much damage as you can. 
  2. If you have an already tiled wall, remove some pieces, more specifically a single or two rows of tiles matching the area of the panels, to make it easier. This will allow you to remove the panels easily. 
  3. When you are removing the panels, start with the reversed order of installation. This means the back part that was installed at the beginning should be removed at last. 
  4. If you are removing a tub surround fixed with adhesive. After removing the tub spout, shower arm, and showerhead, covering up the fixture will prevent any probable damage. You can use a rag as a cover. 
  5. When you are removing the panels, specifically a tub surround that has been fixed with adhesive, do not forget to notice whether there is molding or not. If so, do not forget to remove it using a knife. 
See also  How To Keep Shower Tile Clean? – Follow The Right Way

Check this guide to know more: How to Install Green Board Around Bathtub.

Also, read the related guide: How to Install Shower Drain Without Access Below?

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Remove A 3 piece Tub Surround?

Ans: The removal process of a 3-piece tub surround is the same as the removal process of a regular tub surround. The only thing that differs is whether your tub surround has been fixed with adhesive or screws. 

Can You Replace A Tub Without Damaging The Tile?

Ans: Yes, you can replace a tub without damaging the tile. In order to prevent as much damage as possible, you should remove a few rows of tiles surrounding the tub area. Without this, you will most likely damage a few tiles when removing the tub out. 

Can You Tile Over An Existing Tub Surround?

Ans: It is not an entirely impossible process. However, depending on the materials of the tub surround, it can be quite a hassle. It is wise to call for professional help if you would like to do so. 

Final Words

With all the information provided, you would be able to remove a bathtub surround and replace it with tile by yourself. However, removing a tub surround and tiling over is quite a big task to do by yourself. It is always advised to get professional help.

Good luck with nice steps on how to remove adhesive from fiberglass tub.

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