I have to replace my bathroom subfloor due to water damage from a leaking toilet.

Therefore, I need to move my bathtub, replace the subfloor underneath it, and reinstall the tub.

However, there is no separate shutoff water valve for my bathtub, and it's not viable to shut off the main water supply because this project will take me days if not weeks.

It looks to me like there's no need to shut off the water: My bathtub is a bathtub/shower combo, with the faucet and showerhead built into the wall, not attached to the tub itself. (Pictured below.)

Can I safely remove the bathtub -- just the tub -- without shutting off the water supply?

(Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me the tub itself is just a ceramic basin with a drain attached, with all the actual waterworks floating above it unattached.)

enter image description here

  • 2
    It would not be unreasonable, while you're doing this project, to shut off the water to the whole house/apt, find the supply lines to the tub, sinks, toilet, etc. and install individual shut offs for each of them. I'd suggest doing one at a time (water off, cut, install, water on) just to ensure that if you have a leak, you know exactly where and have only one at a time to deal with. At a minimum, since you're working on the tub, install shut-off valves for the tub, and install shut-offs for each other thing as you work on them in the future. Makes life much easier in the long run.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 13:27
  • 1
    The water supply is the least of your problems here. Getting a tub out and in is a HUGE pain in the rear. I think Jimmy has illustrated why that is quite well, though there may be the additional complication of the flange being nailed or screwed to the framing.... Good luck, you'll need it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 14:08
  • 1
    The last tub i removed had to be cut in half to get it out.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


The drain parts (the drain assembly is called a waste & overflow unit) can be disconnected from above, there should be no other direct connections to the tub.

Just unscrew and remove the overflow trip-plate and disconnect it from the stopper mechanism (called the bucket & wire assembly). The drain strainer can be removed from the tub drain shoe by unscrewing with a special tool called a spud wrench.

The main problems with this idea are:

  • the tile/wall treatments (as mention by other commenters) are usually configured such that they overhang the integrated lip of the tub, which means the lowest tile course would have to be removed (see pic below).
  • some (many) bathtubs are cast iron and extremely heavy, making removal without significant alteration difficult. On more than one occasion I have had to demolish the tub in-situ to get it out.

enter image description here


it seems to me the tub itself is just a ceramic basin with a drain attached, with all the actual waterworks floating above it unattached.


You will have to remove the part marked by "X" in the below picture (no idea how it's called in English) so why not begin with this step:

enter image description here

Then you will most likely only find drain pipes and not water pipes, which will answer your question. You can also check the state of the subfloor below the tub.

  • 1
    You may have to remove the tub surround on the wall above the tub in order to get the tub out.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 10:47
  • That's likely, yeah.
    – bobflux
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 11:58

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