How to Remove a Cast Iron Tub

Cast iron bath tubs can weigh more than 300 pounds. Even if you have five friends who are Olympic weight lifters, carrying one out of your house is a very, very bad idea which will typically result in damage to you or your house (or both). Here is a much easier way to conquer the beast - while preserving your do-it-yourself homeowner reputation.


  1. Image titled Remove a Cast Iron Tub Step 1
    Disconnect as much of the plumbing as you can. Remove faucets, trim, and so forth. In some houses, there is no easy way to disconnect the drain beneath the tub. That's okay, just follow the rest of the instructions in order.
  2. Image titled Remove a Cast Iron Tub Step 2
    Stuff a cloth into the drain opening to keep out debris.
  3. Image titled Remove a Cast Iron Tub Step 3
    Cover the tub with an old wet blanket to prevent flying chips of cast iron and porcelain, then take a sledgehammer and hit the side of the tub with all your might, about 2/3 of the way down from the end with the drain. Your objective is to bust out a big hunk of tub. Cast iron is brittle, and breaking it is easier than you might expect. Still, it takes a strong person and a big hammer.
  4. Image titled Remove a Cast Iron Tub Step 4
    Once you get the first hunk out, break the side again, closer to the drain, so you can get access to the drain connection beneath the tub. Unhook the drain.
  5. Image titled Remove a Cast Iron Tub Step 5
    Keep swinging! Breaking it into three or four good sized pieces makes removal possible.


  • Be mindful of the walls behind the tub - the tub will move when you hit it and may tear them (see plywood tip below).
  • Cover the spot you are about to hit with an old wet towel. The porcelain is about to splinter into a thousand flying knives. The towel helps keep them in check; a wet towel clings to the tub better than a dry one.
  • Use a 16lbs. sledgehammer; a heavy sledge will do the job best.
  • If you are replacing this cast iron tub with a new cast iron tub, don't uncrate it until you have it in the room. They are much easier to carry (and harder to damage) in the crate.
  • Look around. If there is anything in the room that you don't want to hit with a sledgehammer, remove it or cover it with thick plywood. Sledge hammers sometimes have minds of their own.
  • If you have read Tom Sawyer, you might want to try to tell your buddies how cool it is to pound a cast iron tub with a sledgehammer. Make bets about who needs the fewest swings.


  • Eye protection is a must. Ear protection is ESSENTIAL too.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves and work gloves. Flying porcelain knives do a number on bare skin.

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Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents