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Can You Install a Bathtub Over Tile? (Things to Take Care of During Installation)

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There’s nothing more luxurious and cleaner than a tiled bathroom floor! And that’s why most homeowners prefer tiles as their first flooring option! But, when it comes to installing a bathtub over tile, people often get in a dilemma whether to do it or not!

Can you install a bathtub over tile floor? Yes, you can install a bathtub on a tiled floor. However, you can only install some specific types of tubs over tiles including freestanding, clawfoot, and soaker. Not all tubs like drop-in and alcove are designed to rest on the tiled floor.

Install Bathtub Over Tile Floor

In this article, you’ll find information regarding installing a bathtub over tile. Moreover, I’ve highlighted some hacks to ensure the tub does not damage the floor when you install it.

Benefits of Installing a Bathtub Over Tile Floor

You can install a bathtub directly on the subfloor, so why does installing it over tile make any difference? Well, when you install the bathtub over tile, you can experience some exclusive advantages that I have listed below.

1. The Bathroom Looks Spick and Span

A tiled floor is easy to clean and requires minimum maintenance as compared to wooden and vinyl floors. Thus, the bathroom looks clean all the time.
In addition, you can quickly wipe off the excess water spilled out of the bathtub, which can be daunting in the case of other bathroom floorings.

2. Easy Leveling

Leveling the bathtub is essential for proper installation, and you don’t have to worry about leveling it on a tiled floor. The tiles are already on level, so you can easily rest the bathtub’s base over it and continue with installing it.

However, it would be great to still level the bathtub once, as sometimes the tiles are slightly slanted to direct the water to the drain.

3. Safeguards the Tub’s Base from any Damages

Resting the tub over the tile curtails the chances of any damages, and it enhances the lifespan of the bathtub. When you install a bathtub over the subfloor, there are more chances of cracking and chipping due to the concrete debris.

Types of Bathtubs You Can Install on a Tiled Floor

Not every tub is designed to rest on the tiled floor, some require you to install them on the bathroom’s subfloor. Here are the common tub types that you can install on any type of bathroom tile.

1. Freestanding

Do You Tile under a Freestanding Tub

Freestanding tubs are amazing and can quickly revamp the bathroom’s look. You can install these tubs on any type of tiled floor. A lot of freestanding tubs come with metal legs, so make sure to use some sort of support under the legs when installing them over tiles.

2. Soaker

Soaker tubs can either be installed on tile or directly on the subfloor. The choice is entirely up to you and the situation inside the bathroom. For instance, you can install the soaker tub over the tile pedestal to treat it as an alcove. Or you can directly put the tub over the tiled floor.

3. Pedestal

Pedestal bathtubs are a type of freestanding tub that outgrew the classic clawfoot design. These tubs have a support under the base that gives more durability to the tub while making it look good.

If you have a huge bathroom with a tiled floor, you can choose to install an amazing pedestal bathtub over it.

4. Clawfoot

How to Tile Under Clawfoot Tub

You can have tiles under clawfoot tubs. In fact, a tiled bathroom is the best flooring for clawfoot tubs, because these tubs have legs to lift the tub’s base up from the floor making installation easier.

Clawfoot bathtubs are perfect for bathrooms with porcelain-based tiles, but they aren’t limited to any specific type.

Types of Bathtubs You Cannot Install on a Tiled Floor

Usually, most types of freestanding and regular bathtubs can fit over a tiled floor, but there are some types that need access to the subfloor, as they are designed that way. These bathtubs include:

1. Alcove

Designed to rest over the metal shims, alcove bathtubs lay flat on the concrete subfloor. You can provide support to the tub using tiles but cannot install it directly over a tiled floor.

2. Drop-in

Tile Under Drop-In Tub

A drop-in tub has more depth as compared to a regular tub, so it cannot be installed on a tiled floor. You need at least 3-4 inches of space below the floor level to install these tubs. Installing tiles under drop-in tubs will make the tub walls very high, so getting in and out will be challenging.

Hacks to Ensure the Bathtub Does Not Damage the Tiles during Installation

Now that you know about the type of bathtubs you can install over tile, it’s time to know about some handy tips required for smooth installation.

Tiles look gorgeous but are highly fragile, and improper installation of the tub may end up breaking or cracking most of them.

Here are the tips you need to follow to prevent tile damage while installing the bathtub easily.

1. Use a Coaster

You must have used a coaster under your coffee cup to prevent it from staining the table. The same goes for a bathtub. If you want the tub not to bang directly on the tile floor, placing a coaster will be a good idea.

Vintage Tub & Bath Coasters

Usually made using ceramic and glass, coasters go well with the tile while offering added support to the bathtub.

2. Make Sure the Tiles aren’t Hollow

The only reason the tiles break or crack is that they are hollow. Make sure to check the tiles before installing the tub, and check if the foundation under the tiles is strong.

If you find hollow-sounding tiles, it’s better to contact the experts that installed the tiles if the installation is under warranty.

Or you can fix the hollow bathroom tiles yourself, as it’s not a very complicated process.

3. Invest in Quality Tiles

This might not be the case for homeowners with an already tiled bathroom floor. But if you are looking to get the floor tiled before installing a bathtub, make sure to get good-quality tiles.

Install Bathtub Over Tile Floor

Look for popular tile brands that offer the best durable bathroom tiles.

4. Install the Bathtub Properly

Banging the bathtub directly on the tile will certainly break it, no matter how durable the tile is. It is essential to install the tub properly by following the instructions advised by the manufacturer.

Bathtubs are often heavy, so it would be great to call someone for help or get professional bathtub installation services in your area.


Q1: Should you Tile Before or After Installing a Bath?

A1: You can tile the floor before or after installing a bath, but installing the tiles before is better. The reason is the proper installation of the tile and the appropriate level of the bathtub.

When it comes to tiling around the bathtub, you should do it after installing the tub.

Q2: How much space is needed between the Tub and Floor Tile?

A2: Keeping some space between the tub and the bathroom floor tiles enhances the lifespan of the tile, while cleaning gets easier. It is advised to keep at least 1/16″ of space between the floor and the tub’s base.

Q3: What do you put between Floor Tile and Tub?

A3: You can put a bathtub coaster between the bathtub and the floor. If you don’t want a coaster, consider putting caulk in between the tub’s base and the tile. Caulking reduces the chances of any leaks, and it’s good for the bathtub base.

Q4: Which Type of Tile can I put a Bathtub on?

A4: Almost any! There is no such restriction when it comes to installing a bathtub over a tiled floor. However, you can contact the tub manufacturer to get a clear answer. As some tubs like the cast iron are bulky and may damage the thin tiles.

Final Thoughts

You can install bathtub over tile floor as it is a good idea to keep the bathroom look perfect and well-groomed! Always test the tiles by knocking them before installing the tub and make sure the tub’s base remains slightly lifted from the floor.

Inspect the tile and grout for any necessary repairs, and finally, you can put a bathtub over it without damaging anything and making the bathroom look great.


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