Tips for Installing an Alcove Tub in a Small Bathroom

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In this article, we’ll share a few tips for installing an alcove tub in a small bathroom to guide you in your home improvement quest. So, let’s get started.

Are you considering replacing your old tub in your bathroom? Everyone loves a new tub and shower in every bathroom remodeling. It is also a great opportunity to make a home investment. One of the most popular bathtubs in the US is the alcove tub. An alcove bathtub is a practical and space-saving addition to many homes and is frequently regarded as a classic feature of contemporary bathrooms.

What Is an Alcove Tub?

While there are many types of bathtubs, an alcove tub is a kind of bathtub that is set or a recess in your bathroom that has three connecting walls. In order to avoid the cramped nature of this bathtub, some modern designs only have two walls or a large window. Alcove bathtubs are frequently converted into shower combos, which increases their usability and space-saving features.

The sleek appearance of the design is enhanced with the addition of glass doors or a shower curtain for a more private and personal feel. In addition, compared to freestanding or corner tubs, the installation of an alcove bathtub is simpler for individuals who are building or remodeling a house. Alcove bathtubs are generally quite reasonably priced; a lower-end tub that can last for many years will cost between $1,600 and $2,000 on average. 

How to Install an Alcove Tub

Make sure the floor is level and able to take a weight of 80 pounds per square foot before installing an alcove bathtub. An uneven floor could make it difficult to install the tub correctly. Make sure the rough-in measurements are accurate, square, and plumb. Installing the tub correctly requires the use of shims or cement if there are any gaps between the tub’s base and the flooring.

Installing an alcove tub involves several steps, and it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Here’s a general guide to help you install a tub:

Materials and Tools for Alcove Tub  Installation

An Alcove tub usually has walls enclosed on 3 sides, with the fourth side serving as the area where one enters. This layout not only maximizes available space but also makes it possible to add a shower system, which makes it a flexible option for small bathrooms. 

Here are the materials and tools needed for the installation process.

  • Alcove tub
  • Tub surround or tile
  • Plumbing fixtures (faucet, handles, spout, etc.)
  • Waterproofing membrane or cement board
  • Screws
  • Tub drain assembly
  • Pipe wrench
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Level
  • Caulk
  • Silicone sealant
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Tub filler

Installation Procedure

The first step for installing an alcove tub is to shut off the main water supply. This allows you to work comfortably and quickly without flooding the floor with water or other interruptions.

  • Measure and Prepare —- Measure the alcove space to ensure that the tub fits properly. Ensure that the floor is level and the walls are plumb.
  • Install the Drain — Install the tub drain according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the plumber’s tape to secure connections and ensure a watertight seal. Follow local plumbing codes and regulations.
  • Prepare the Walls — Install a waterproofing membrane or cement board on the walls surrounding the tub area. Ensure that the walls are sturdy and capable of supporting the weight of the tub and occupants.
  • Install the Tub —-  Carefully place the tub in its designated space. Level the tub using a level tool to ensure that it sits evenly.
  • Connect Plumbing Fixtures —- Connect the water supply lines to the faucet handles and spout. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting plumbing fixtures. Use plumber’s tape to secure connections.
  • Seal the Edges —- Seal the edges of the tub with caulk to prevent water from seeping into the walls. Use a waterproof and mold-resistant caulk suitable for bathroom applications.
  • Install the Tub Surround or Tile —- Install a tub surround or tile around the tub to create a finished look and provide additional waterproofing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the installation of the chosen material.
  • Test for Leaks —- Turn on the water supply and test for any leaks. Check all connections and joints to ensure they are watertight.
  • Apply Silicone Sealant —- Apply silicone sealant around the perimeter of the tub and between the tub and the walls. This helps to create a water-resistant seal and prevents moisture from getting behind the tub.
  • Finish the Installation —- Install any additional fixtures, such as a tub filler or showerhead, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember, this is a general guide, and it’s crucial to refer to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of your tub. If you are not comfortable with plumbing or construction work, consider hiring a professional to ensure a proper and safe installation.

Photo by pressfoto from Freepik


Can I install an alcove tub myself, or do I need to hire a professional?

While some homeowners with DIY experience may be able to install a tub, it’s recommended to hire a professional if you are not familiar with plumbing and construction work. Incorrect installation can lead to leaks and other issues. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.

Do I need to use a waterproofing membrane or cement board around the tub?

Yes, it’s generally recommended to use a waterproofing membrane or cement board on the walls surrounding the tub. This helps prevent water damage and mold growth. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific type of material you choose.

How do I ensure that the tub is level during installation?

Use a level tool to check the levelness of the alcove tub. Adjust the leveling feet or add shims as needed to ensure the tub sits evenly. A level installation is important for both the appearance and proper drainage of the tub.

Can I use any tub surround or tile for the walls around the tub?

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of material that can be used around the alcove tub. Some tubs may have specific requirements for wall materials to ensure proper support and water resistance. Always check the installation guidelines to avoid potential issues.


The most common type of bathtub that many Sarasota homeowners choose, especially for compact bathrooms, is an alcove tub. Hopefully, these tips offer an overview of the work if you’re looking to install a new one or upgrade your bathroom. If you are looking for a professionally done bathroom renovation or a laundry room space remodel, one that is headache-free and budget-friendly, simply contact us today.