As a general rule, replacing a bathtub is NOT
considered a do-it-yourself project -- especially if your changing the
type and size of the tub. Changing anything means refiguring the
drainlines, vents and waterlines and that can get a bit tricky and
frustrating. But if your old tub is cracked or damaged and you simply wish
to replace it with the same kind, then the project becomes more
Most bathtubs in mobile homes are plastic.
When plastic cracks or breaks, it cannot be permanently repaired like
fiberglass can. If the crack isn't too bad, the best you can do is
temporarily repair it by using one of two methods.
First method is to purchase an epoxy repair
kit. The biggest advantage of the epoxy kit is that the repair isn't
as noticeable because the color somewhat matches the tub. The disadvantage
is that it works best only on small cracks because any movement on big
cracks can cause the crack to reappear.
Second method to repair a cracked plastic
bathtub is to apply a piece of quick fix tub
repair tape to seal the crack. The advantage of the tape is that it
will move with the tub so the crack will not reappear (unless the crack
runs). The disadvantage is that it looks somewhat gaudy but by gosh it
If you've decided to replace your bathtub,
besides the size and color you will also want to understand how and why
the bottom of your tub is supported. Most plastic tubs are supported in
two ways -- plastic legs or styrofoam.
Pictured to the right is a tub supported by
plastic legs. If you have a sewer pipe running directly under the tub,
then you will need this type of tub to make room for the pipes. The
disadvantage of using a tub with legs is that the tub can creak if the
subfloor under the tub isn't flat causing the legs to sit uneven. The legs
have to installed into the bottom of the tub. When doing so, push them in
straight or you'll risk breaking a tab that holds the legs
This photo on the right shows a tub that uses
styrofoam for support rather than plastic legs. The styrofoam sits
directly onto the floor. Overall, the styrofoam offers better support with
way less creaks. Obviously the disadvantage is that you can't run pipes
directly under the tub.
Removal of Old Tub and Surround
First shut off water to the bathtub. From
underneath the tub, unscrew pipes from drain. This can be accomplished by
either taking apart the p-trap (pictured right) or unscrewing the pipe
directly from the tub drain itself. If your tub has an overflow, there
will be another pipe going up the back of the tub to the overflow. In this
case simply take apart the p-trap and the rest will come out with the tub.
Again, be sure the water is shut off to the
tub. Next unscrew the waterline connections from the back of the faucet.
Remove the nuts from the hot and cold nipples and slide the faucet out.
Older faucets can be much more complicated to remove as the faucets
themselves may have to be disassembled along with the spout and shower
Once the faucet is removed, next step is to
get rid of the old tub surround. If the old tub surround is held in place
with plastic rivets (below), cut off the head with a knife or drill them
out. Then with an utility knife, cut around the edge of the tub surround
to loosen the caulk. Finally, grab a corner of the surround and carefully
pull it off the wall.
With the tub surround removed, the lip of the
tub will be exposed. Remove all the screws from this lip.
The old bathtub should now be loose and able
to be lifted out and removed from the bathroom.
Prepare the opening for the tub. First be
sure that the rim support boards are set at the proper height for the new
tub. Use boards longer than what's shown in the illustration to the right.
Set level and secure into the studs of the wall.
Most likely your old tub had a skirt track
fastened to the floor. This helps stiffen-up the skirt on the tub. If the
old skirt track is in good shape, leave it. Otherwise replace it with the
one that probably came with the new tub.
Nothing is more frustrating than having a
water leak after the new tub is installed. The best way to head-off a leak
is to install a new drain, faucet and waterline ends. Get rid of the old
parts -- once removed they may never seal right again so start with new.
More info on obtaining and installing the correct drain assembly can be
Before setting the new bathtub in place,
secure drain to tub. Again, more instructions can be found here.
With drain installed, set new tub into place. Be
sure that the skirt slips into the skirt track.
Secure tub to wall by driving screw through lip
into wall stud after predrilling hole. Carefully use a countersink bit to
round-out hole (below) so head of screw sets about flush with the lip. Snug but
DO NOT overtighten as overtightening may crack the lip of the tub.
One rule of thumb when chosing a tub surround is to
buy one with the least amount of seams. The more seams you have, the more chance
it will leak even if sealed with caulk that will turn gaudy in a year or so.
One-piece tub surrounds like the one illustrated here are preferred over the
several-piece kits. Whatever you buy, pre-fit it now. Some kits requiring
cutting and that should also be done now.
Tub-surround glue available in tubes is illustrated
here. Other methods of gluing include spray glue and glue troweled on from a
can. Here we outlined the surround on the wall and applied beads of glue inside
the outline. Next the tub surround is set into place and pushed into the beads
of glue. Then the glue is 'aired' by pulling back the tub surround, waiting for
2 minutes and then reapplying. Every few minutes, give the surround a full
rub-down to ensure it stays adhered to the wall.
Along with the glue, you may also wish to install
plastic rivets to help secure the tub surround to the wall. First picture shows
what a plastic rivet looks like. Next predrill the hole. The hole does not need
to be drilled into a stud. Then put a dab of caulk in the predrilled hole and
insert the rivet all the way into the hole. Finally, tap the pin flush into the
head of the rivet. That's it!
With the tub secured in place and the walls up,
next is the faucet. If you wish to change or upgrade your faucet, now is the
time before you make new holes in your tub surround. If your faucet comes with a
template, use it to mark where to drill your holes. With the faucet in this example,
a 1" spade bit was used to make the holes. Two big tips -- plug your drain to
keep debri from falling into it. And, measure twice, drill once!
Apply plumbers putty to the back of the faucet and
insert it into the holes. Secure from the back with the enclosed nuts.
Replace faucet ends, add shut-offs and screw
waterlines to faucet. If you haven't already, be sure the drain is connected.
Caulk around tub surround using bathroom silicone
and let cure for 24 hours.
Hang curtain and pour yourself a hot bath!
Mark Bower owns Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair and is the author of "The Manual for
Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade" available on this website.
The Manual for
Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade
"Every winter my roof leaked around the swamp cooler. We even had a couple mobile home repairmen
out to seal it. Nothing worked and this
went on for 5 years," said Maureen of Elko, Nevada. "Then last summer I ordered The Manual
and it suggested I use neoprene to seal the leak. Since then I've had no leaks at all!"
Maureen is referring to The Manual
for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade by Mark Bower. Most just dub it The Manual. Bower owns and operates Aberdeen Mobile Home
Repair in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Maureen isn't alone.
Hundreds of others have written to Bower sharing similar stories of how The
Manual has solved their problems.
Esther of St. Louis, Missouri, writes, "We had squeaky floors in the living
room and without The Manual,
I would have had my husband tear out the floors and put in new ones. What a lifesaver!"
Bower enjoys the letters he receives regarding his manual.
"I wrote this manual from experience," says Bower. "I'm not just some guy with
his feet up on the desk - I'm out in the field every day doing what I write."
Tom of Lansing, Michigan, followed the simple instructions
on installing a shut-off valve and saved $75 on a service call. Mary of Churdan,
Iowa, writes to say she uses the manual to keep the repair guys she hires
honest, "When I had my home releveled, I sent two
different contractors packing because I knew they weren't doing the job
right. This manual has literally saved
me hundreds of dollars!"
Bower has updated his manual for 2004. More information was added regarding
additions and porches. "We added details
on attaching porches so they don't leak even if they shift with the seasons."
says Bower. With high energy prices now
upon us, Bower says he's also included a section on building a solar heating
panel. "Find an old sliding glass door
and you can build one for under $100," says Bower who built two panels for his
own 1800 square foot manufactured home.
"You'd be surprised at how much heat they create when the sun is
David of Lake McConaughy,
Nebraska, says The Manual
should be called, The Mobile Home Bible. Dave writes, "I wish I had your manual
when we had our 1965 Star. It would have
saved me WEEKS of work!"
Vicki of Ocala, Florida, bought Bower's manual because it
had instructions for installing a metal roofover. "My son and husband had the roof up in 2 days
from start to finish," says Vicki. "The 4 inch overhang is awesome - no more
water running down the siding. Great roof, great instructions, I love it!"
also helped Pam from Duluth, Minnesota,
replace her skirting and repair her underbelly. "It gave me the courage to
tackle these projects," writes Pam. " I saved a lot of
money by being able to do it myself."
Bower says many manufactured home owners are
do-it-yourselfers, and he's glad to be able to provide them a tool, The Manual,
to help them do more.
Mark Bower can be reached at [email protected]
Manufactured Housing Repair On-Line
Parts Store On-Line MH Parts may not be very pretty... but when
you need them you just can't do with out them. Don't run all over town to
assemble the things you need for that home renovation or repair. Order from our on-line parts store. Everything you need is
here from doors, windows, screens, plumbing and electric parts, bath and
kitchen fixtures, roof and ceiling components, and more.... even set-up
materials, The Part Store's Owner/Managers, keep it simple, they just provide
you with the best possible products available.
The Manual for Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade
If your looking for a book that covers all
facets of manufactured home repair, you've found it! This is the only book of
its type, available to the public, that we have been able to find. As you would
expect from the title, The repair and upgrade
techniques described in this manual are specific to manufactured homes. This
book will answer almost every question on manufactured home repair that we have
ever heard. Not only does this book show you how to repair and maintain your
home, but also great methods for upgrading it.
Manufactured Home Repair & Renovation Forum An open
discussion group where all are welcome to participate. No registration
necessary! Discussion threads covering a wide range of questions, answers, and
relating of personal experiences involving MH Repairs. Moderated by Tracy L.
Mason of MB-Quality Contractors, from Greeley, CO. Ask our experienced
manufactured home repair and renovation contractor about your home repair
needs! Basic home fix-it techniques to trade secrets.
Systems Designed and engineered for manufactued
homes, These foundation systems add a high level of strutural stability and have proven most cost-effective for
the manufactured home, buyer. Advanced Foundation Systems meet or exceed
industry standards, and have been proven safer under adverse conditions.
Advanced Foundation Systems offer you the best foundation technology available
for your manufactured home...plus added safety and stability...at a lower cost.
Your MH Renovation/Repair There are many loan programs available
to MH Owners. Secure the money you need to renovate, upgrade, or even expand
your MH. One stop shopping. select
your loan preferences and we will forward your request for loan information to
as many as a dozen participating manufactured housing finance offices.
Skirting For The 21
Century Manufactured Home System-1 is what skirting should be-
100% solid concrete. System-1 is not an imitation or a look alike - it is the
original concrete skirting system that resists the elements from the summer
heat of Texas to the harsh winters of Minnesota. System-1 is built to last and is
designed to stay put for years of dependable service. Stop chasing your skirting down the street and look at just some of the
benefits System-1 concrete skirting provides you.
Siding Repairs Does your Manufactured Home have hardboard siding
that is swelling, rotting, or buckling? You might be entitled to a Cash
Settlement! Find out if you qualify HERE
Housing Yellow Pages / SERVICE COMPANIES The Yellow Pages is an
ever expanding data base that is growing into one of the richest resources in
the world for locating and contacting companies that participate in, or offer
services to, the manufactured housing industry.
The Mobile Home Expert
The business of installing and servicing manufactured homes is rapidly moving
away from the world of the one pick-up, one jack, local set up and repair guys
and into the world of certified tradesmen, and licensed contractors. The modern
manufactured home is greeted with stiff compliance codes regulating
construction, warranty and installation. As more and more local agencies get
involved in the inspection of installations it gets more and more difficult to
know what the rules of the game are, especially if your
operating in more than one jurisdiction. Consult with R.T. Bonney, who has
participated in all phases of the industry over the past 30 Years He can
provide solutions for the modern problems of operating most types of
manufactured housing business.
Floor Repair Info Kit includes a 25 minute
VHS video about repairing the floor underneath your toilet, and a booklet on
floor repair. Price:$25.95 - Shipping &
Painting and Texturing Paneled Walls By
following the steps in this 20 minute video, your paneled walls will look darn
near like textured sheetrock. Works on both wood paneling and
vinyl-covered paneling or sheetrock. Price:$19.95
Shipping & Handling:$3.90