Important Considerations Before Installing an RV Bathtub: What You Must Know

Key considerations before installing an RV bathtub: Assess space, evaluate weight limits, anticipate challenges in small spaces, consult RV pros, follow steps for installation carefully.

A hotel bath filled with hot water

Every RV owner knows that space is a luxury in a motorhome. Therefore, every inch of your RV must be used to its full potential. One amenity that many RV owners overlook is the possibility of installing a bathtub.

Yes, you read it right! You can have a full-sized tub in your RV, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing soak after a long day on the road.

RV living doesn’t mean you have to forego life’s little luxuries, one of which is a hot bath at the end of a day spent exploring or driving.

Imagine soaking in a warm bath, perhaps with a book in hand and your favorite drink by your side, all while surrounded by nature.

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Doesn’t it sound divine? That’s what an RV bathtub promises – a little slice of home wherever you go. For families with children or pets, an RV bathtub can make bath times easier and more enjoyable.

And for those who love a long, hot soak at the end of the day, an RV bathtub can be an absolute game-changer.

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Considerations Before Installation

While the idea of having a bathtub in your RV is enticing, it’s essential to consider several factors before taking the plunge. Here are some considerations that should help guide your decision:

Assessing Space Limitations

One of the most critical aspects to consider is whether your RV bathroom has enough space for a bathtub. Remember, a standard garden tub is 42 inches wide, 60 inches long, and 24 inches deep.

On the other hand, a full RV bathtub is generally anywhere from 36″ to 46″ long and 24″ wide. So, you’ll need to measure your RV bathroom carefully to ensure that you have enough room for a tub.

Evaluating Weight Restrictions

Another crucial factor to consider is the weight of the bathtub. A full tub of water big enough for an adult human is pretty heavy.

This extra weight can be a strain on your RV’s structure and may even affect its stability on the road.

Thus, it’s vital to ensure that your vehicle can handle the additional weight of a bathtub, both empty and filled with water.

Identifying Potential Problems with Large Bathtubs in Small Spaces

Installing a large bathtub in a small space like an RV can present several challenges.

For example, it might be difficult to maneuver around the tub when it’s not in use, and filling and emptying the tub could be a hassle, especially if your RV’s water heater isn’t up to the task.

Also, you need to bear in mind that significant modifications to your RV can void the warranty. Therefore, it’s best to consult with an RV professional before making any drastic changes.

Steps for Installing an RV Bathtub

Now that you’re aware of the practical considerations, let’s look at the steps involved in installing a bathtub in your RV:

Removing Shower Bar and External Accessories

handrail in the shower, safe bathing for the elderly and people with limited mobility

The first step involves removing the shower bar and any external accessories attached to it.

This process typically includes unscrewing fittings and possibly dealing with plumbing connections, so make sure to turn off the water supply before starting.

Shutting Off Water and Removing Fixtures

Next, you’ll need to shut off the water supply completely and then proceed to remove all fixtures, including taps, handles, and showerheads. It’s a good idea to keep these parts organized and labeled for future use.

Ripping Out the Tub Surround and Retainer Strip

Once all the fixtures have been removed, you can begin to rip out the tub surround and retainer strip. This step might require some force, so make sure to use appropriate tools and safety gear.

Removing the Drain

The next step involves removing the drain assembly from the tub. Again, this process might require some elbow grease, so proceed with caution to avoid damaging any plumbing.

Attaching the Drain to the New Tub

Once the old tub has been removed, you can start installing the new one. Begin by attaching the drain assembly to the new tub, making sure to apply the plumber’s putty or silicone sealant for a waterproof seal.

Installing New Tub and Enclosure

Finally, it’s time to install the new tub and enclosure.

This step involves careful positioning of the tub, securing it in place with screws or brackets, and then installing the new enclosure, which might require some custom fitting.

Unique RV Bathtub Ideas

If the thought of installing a standard bathtub in your RV doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry! There are plenty of unique and innovative RV bathtub ideas that you can consider:

Using Residential Bathtubs

White towels and large window give a light feel to this bathroom

If your RV can handle the weight, you might be able to find a residential bathtub to fit the space. These bathtubs can offer a greater depth for a more comfortable soak.

However, remember to measure your space accurately before purchasing a residential tub to ensure a perfect fit.

Farmhouse Style Bathtubs

Farmhouse bathroom with shiplap wall . Interior and frame mockup. 3d render.

For RV owners who appreciate a rustic aesthetic, a farmhouse-style bathtub can add a touch of charm to your motorhome.

A popular trend is to replace the shower with a livestock water trough serving as a bathtub, giving your RV a truly unique and homely feel.

Utilizing a Stock Tank as a Bathtub

A stock tank is another unconventional yet practical option for an RV bathtub.

Stock tanks are robust, spacious, and relatively lightweight, making them an excellent choice for RV use. Plus, they add a unique touch to your RV’s interior.

Post-installation Steps

Once your new bathtub is installed, a few finishing touches can help enhance your bathing experience:

Installing Shower Curtain Assembly

Close - up of women's hands hanging a gray curtain in the bathroom

A shower curtain can keep water contained within the tub area and prevent it from splashing around the bathroom. Opt for a shower curtain that can close on all sides to ensure maximum coverage.

Sealing and Cleaning

After installation, it’s important to seal all edges and joints with caulk to prevent leaks. Also, give your new bathtub a thorough clean to remove any residual dirt or debris from the installation process.

FAQs about RV Bathtubs

Let’s address some frequently asked questions about RV bathtubs:

What is the difference between a soaker tub and a garden tub?

A soaker tub is designed specifically for deep soaking and often comes without any shower attachments.

On the other hand, a garden tub is typically larger and more luxurious, often installed in a corner of a bathroom with a view.

Do they make an RV with a bathtub?

Yes, some RVs do come with bathtubs, but these are usually smaller than standard home bathtubs.

If you’re looking for an RV with a larger bathtub, you might need to consider installing one yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you.

What size is an RV tub?

A typical RV bathtub is generally between 36″ and 46″ long and 24″ wide. However, sizes can vary depending on the model and layout of your RV.

Why are walk-in tubs so expensive?

Walk-in tubs are often more expensive than traditional bathtubs due to their additional features such as doors, seals, and systems to quickly fill and drain water.

They also require more complex installation processes, which can add to the overall cost.

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