Add a Shower to a Clawfoot Bathtub

If you want to keep your claw foot bathtub but want a shower too, it's easy to convert it using one of the many conversion kits available. The most basic of these is a pipe that runs from the tap/faucet assembly to the shower head. Attached to this is a shower rod that encircles the tub. The shower rod hangs from the ceiling by special brackets that easily adjust position so they can be fastened to the studs.

1 Turn off the water supply. Look behind tub near the floor and near the water pipes for the shut off valve. If there is no valve, turn the water off at the main water supply, usually located in the basement. Run the taps until the water lines are empty.

2 Remove the old taps and faucet. They are usually attached with lag bolts with the nuts located on the outside of the tub. Use a pipe wrench and completely remove the hardware.

3 Measure the diameter of the holes for the taps and faucet and their distance in relation to each other. Use these measurements when buying the bathtub to shower conversion kit.

4 Install the new taps and faucet. Your kit will most likely have extension pipes to bring the water supply to the new faucet. Included with the conversion kit are PVC pipes and elbows to extend down to the water main supply lines. They only need to be cut to the correct length. Use a hack saw to cut them. Attach to the main water supply lines with the provided screw on fittings.

5 Attach the shower pipe to the top of the tap/faucet assembly. Wrap plumber's tape around the threads and screw the pipe into the pre-threaded hole. Tighten with a pipe wrench. Wrap a rag around the shower pipe under the pipe wrench to protect it from being marred by the wrench.

6 Find and mark the location of the studs in the ceiling and walls surrounding the bathtub with an electronic stud finder.

7 Attach the shower curtain surrounded to the shower pipe. It will slide over the shower rod and be held into position with a finger bolt. Have a helper hold the curtain rod in position and slide the brackets so the mounting plates are over one of the marked studs. Mark the holes for the mounting screws and pre-drill holes for them.

8 Have a helper hold the shower rod assembly while you install the brackets. Most conversion kits have two sets of brackets that hold the shower rod assembly: one at the back of the tub and the other along the back wall. Screw the mounting screws into the mounting bracket's pre-drilled holes.

9 Attach the hooked part of the shower water supply. Put plumber's tape on the threads at the straight end of the hooked pipe and screw into the top of the shower pipe you installed in Step 5. Tighten with the pipe wrench. Put a rag under the pipe wrench to protect the shower pipe.

10 Attach the shower head to the hooked pipe. Place plumber's tape on the threads on the end of the hooked shower pipe and screw on the shower head. Tighten with the pipe wrench. Protect the shower head with a rag under the pipe wrench.

11 Attach two shower curtains to completely surround the tub.