• In this video, Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner add a shower to a freestanding tub.

    Steps:
    1. Turn off the water to the bathroom at the water main or well pump.
    2. Use an emery cloth to buff clean the two water-supply pipes protruding from the floor.
    3. Gently pull up on the hot-water supply pipe, then clamp locking pliers onto the pipe to hold it in position. Repeat for the cold-water pipe.
    4. Cut both pipes to length with a close-quarter tubing cutter.
    5. Use a pipe brush to clean the inside of a copper male adapter.
    6. Apply flux to the inside of the adapter and to the outside of the hot-water supply pipe.
    7. Press the adapter onto the end of the pipe, then use a propane torch and lead-free solder to solder the adapter to the pipe. Repeat to solder an adapter onto the cold-water pipe.
    8. Wrap the threaded portion of each adapter with Teflon tape.
    9. Slide an escutcheon over each pipe, then tighten a valve onto each adapter with an adjustable wrench. Release the locking pliers.
    10. Turn the water back on and check for leaks.
    11. Use a PVC handsaw to cut the plastic drainpipe slightly below the surface of the finished floor.
    12. Adhere a PVC fitting onto the end of the drainpipe with PVC primer and cement.
    13. Set the chrome-plated escutcheon over the fitting.
    14. Wrap a rope of plumber's putty around the threaded portion of the tub's drain fitting.
    15. Assemble and connect the tub's drainpipe and overflow tube.
    16. Install the new faucet to the tub wall, then connect both the hot- and cold-water supply pipes.
    17. Tighten the showerhead onto the shower arm, then mount the shower arm to the tub faucet.
    18. Attach an adjustable ceiling bracket to the shower arm.
    19. Use a level to hold the shower arm perfectly plumb (vertical), then screw the bracket to the ceiling.
    20. Connect the shower-curtain ring to the shower arm, then suspend the ring from the ceiling with vertical supports.
    21. Install a shower curtain to the ring.
    22. Attach a handheld showerhead to the tub faucet.
    • Difficulty: Moderate to hard
      Requires mid-level plumbing skills
Ask TOH users about Tubs

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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • locking pliers
        Locking pliers
      • close quarter tubing cutter
        Close-quarter tubing cutter, to cut copper pipe
      • wire-brush pipe cleaner
        Pipe brush, to clean copper pipe
      • propane torch
        Propane torch, for soldering
      • adjustable wrench
        Adjustable wrench, for tightening threaded fittings
      • pvc saw
        PVC handsaw, to cut plastic pipe
      • two-foot level
        Level, for plumbing up the shower arm
      • drill
        Cordless drill

      Shopping List

      Chrome-plated tub-and-shower kit, including shower-curtain ring

      Copper pipe and assorted fittings

      Emery cloth, to clean copper pipe

      Lead-free solder and flux, for soldering copper pipe and fittings

      Teflon tape, to create a watertight seal on threaded fittings

      PVC primer and cement, for adhering plastic pipe and fittings

      Plumber's putty, to create a watertight seal at tub drain

      Shower curtain and rings