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How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub

By on Jan 15, 2015
How To Add A Shower To A Freestanding Tub

Freestanding tubs add a certain “wow” factor to any bathroom, but when push comes to shove, we all need a shower. Rather than install a brand new shower, a capable DIYer can add a shower to a freestanding or claw-foot tub. Continue reading to see the benefits and how you can add a shower to a freestanding tub.

Shower Costs

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According to our shower installation cost estimator, the national average for a new shower is $2,689, but large, luxurious showers can run a homeowner up to $10,000. Likewise, if you wanted to add a shower-tub combo, be prepared to spend somewhere between $2,500 and $3,686.

On the other hand, if you already have a freestanding or claw-foot tub available, one can easily add a shower for less than $500.

Tools Needed to Add A Shower to A Freestanding Tub 

  • Tub-and-shower assembly
  • Shower head
  • Wall support for shower rods
  • Mounting bracket
  • Plumber's putty
  • Teflon tape
  • Wall anchors

How to Add A Shower to A Freestanding Tub

If you do not feel comfortable adding a shower to your freestanding tub, click here to connect with a bathroom contractor near you.

Freestanding Tub

1. Turn the water off.

Close the tub’s shut-off valves. Try turning on the water and make sure it is in fact off.

2. Use a wrench, preferably an open-ended adjustable wrench, to disconnect the water supply lines and faucet.

We have to attach a new faucet that doesn’t only connect the bath, but the shower head as well. There may be a few connections to unscrew. Totally remove the old faucet from the tub.

3. Connect all parts that come in your tub-and-shower assembly, but do not attach to the freestanding tub just yet.

Make sure you do not attach the new faucet to this new assembly. You will most likely have to add the faucet first and then attach the assembly to the faucet and freestanding tub.

4. Attach the faucet to the freestanding tub.

Add some plumber’s putty on the backside of the faucet handles on the threaded fittings. These handles will not be seen. Once set in place, tighten the lock nuts with that same adjustable wrench. Make sure the new faucet is installed nice and tight with the tub. Then, connect both the hot and cold water lines. Once again, tighten each bolt, lock nuts and compression fitting with your wrench. Scrape away excess putty.

Claw-Foot Tub

5. Add the shower riser to the new faucet.

Use Teflon tape and wrap it around the edges of the shower riser. This tape will make sure water flows smoothly from one section of the shower rod to the other. When completed, thread the shower riser into its designated position. Make sure it is level. Either way, you will have to add a support rod that connects the shower riser to a wall.

6. Attach the shower riser support rod.

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Most wall supports come in prefabricated lengths. You will most likely have to cut it to fit your new shower-tub combo. Hold it up against the wall, perpendicular with the hole designated for this support rod. Determine where the wall support needs to be trimmed and mark that point. Use a tube cutter to cut it to length. Screw the wall support range into the wall (preferably with a drill) and then connect it to the shower riser (screwdriver).


7. Add mounting bracket to the back wall and/or sidewall to attach the shower-curtain ring.

Make sure your brackets are mounted into wall studs. Assemble the shower-curtain ring. Attach one end of the shower-curtain ring to the shower riser you just installed and attach the back to the wall bracket. Likewise, also attach the shower ring to the sidewall as well. Hang a shower curtain from the ring as well as any other shower accessories your heart desires.

8. Attach the shower head and try it out.

Finally, attach the shower head to the riser. Open the shut-off valves, turn the water on and admire your work.

Not sure what shower head to install? Check out 11 Perfect Shower Heads For Your Master Bathroom.

To see each and every step, watch our friends at This Old House put it all together.


If you already have a freestanding tub and want to add a shower, rather than installing a new shower, save some money and just add a shower to your existing tub. With all the supplies and materials in place, this project should take no longer than five hours.

As always, if you need any help, click here and get connected with up to four bathroom remodelers near you.

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