There’s nothing better than climbing into a warm bathtub after a long week. I love setting the mood with candles and grabbing my favorite book. But if I hear my bathtub creaking, relaxation has no chance.
Read on to better understand the problem behind a bathtub creaking. We’ll first review likely causes and follow up with ways to repair the problem.
To stop the bathtub creaking, check that the surround is properly installed, ensure the bathtub is supported, and inspect the floor for other issues. You can snap the surround into place, add foam or shims, or fix flooring issues to fix the bathtub creaking problem.
In most cases, one of these three issues is the problem. Let’s go through each in more detail so you can figure out what is causing your noisy tub.
Determine Cause of Bathtub Creaking
Before we can get going on repairs, it’s critical to uncover the reason behind the creaking. Any bathtub creaking is a sign that something is wrong. Don’t let it go too long without fixing it.
If your bathtub continues to creak, it could develop cracks and fail. But you can stop this from happening if you know what the issue is.
Tub Surround Problems
Some bathtubs have different parts that snap together. This design usually has a bathtub section and a surround section.
If these two pieces are not joined, they can creak along the seams.
This noise can be annoying and might allow water to leak through the joints. Improperly joined pieces is a problem worth fixing.
Lack of Support
Another major contributor to a bathtub creaking is a lack of support. When properly installed, bathtubs have supports in many areas across the floor. This system provides structure.
If the support is lacking, the bathtub might start to bend or flex. As time goes on, flexing can cause fatigue. This leads to cracks and even holes.
Even though it goes without saying, I always like to point out the obvious. A bathtub with cracks or holes is not your friend. It is an excellent idea to fix the support issue before it gets to this point.
Finally, if those first two options aren’t your problem, it’s time to check out other flooring issues.
I’ve always been a firm believer in solid foundations. No, I don’t mean you need to re-pour your home’s foundation. I mean that any good bathtub, like any relationship, needs to be placed on a solid footing or floor.
If the floor or subfloor underneath your bathtub has issues, it might result in a bathtub creaking. This problem might be extra space between the subfloor and joists. Or it could be improperly installed flooring.
Another problem with floors, especially those in bathtubs, is water damage. We all know bathrooms are full of water sources. Sometimes they can leak. Escaping water can result in damage to floors and mold.
If you have access to the underside of your bathtub, inspect the floor thoroughly to check for problems. You might be able to see it from the side as well.
How To Repair Bathtub Creaking
By now, you hopefully know what is causing the problem. And while calling in the professionals is always an option, I like to grab the bull by the horns and give it a shot on my own first.
In this section, I’ll give you some tips so you can try to do the same. You might be able to quickly and easily repair the bathtub creaking on your own.
And if not, you can always fall back on the pros. But let’s see if we can tackle it first.
Check Surround Connection
This one is pretty straightforward. If you think the problem is the surround not connected to the tub, try to snap them in place.
It can be challenging to figure out exactly where the creaking is coming from. Do your best to locate which seam is making noise and focus on that.
You might need to use suction or a bit of force to get the two pieces together. Just don’t break it! That’ll cause an even bigger headache.
Add Bathtub Support
If you discovered that the bathtub creaking might be caused by a lack of support, I have great news. You might be able to fix this problem on your own.
There are two main ways to add support to a bathtub creaking.
First, you can try using expanding foam to fill the gaps. You can purchase cans of spray foam from most hardware stores. Shoot a low-expansion product underneath the areas that need more support.
Use caution with spray foam as it has some harmful chemicals.
You could try adding shims. Shims are small wedge-shaped pieces of wood. They are ideal for pushing into slight openings to provide better support.
See if you can spot any connection areas with space between the support and bathtub. If you find any, insert a shim. This small repair might solve the problem.
Check out this YouTube video on fixing a weak bathtub floor.
Fix Flooring Issues
If the above hasn’t fixed your bathtub creaking, it’s looking more serious. But don’t fret. You still might be able to repair this on your own.
Your best bet is to open up access to the underside of your bathtub. If the tub is over a crawl space or unfinished storage area, that is ideal.
Other times you might need to open up drywall to inspect it. Drywall can be removed and repaired fairly easily.
Once you have access, see if you can spot any areas with loose flooring, gaps, or water damage. Fix these problems, and your bathtub creaking should disappear.
Don’t forget that water damage means that water came from somewhere. You might have a leak.
Maybe you need to touch up some caulking, but it’s wise to inspect your plumbing, water lines, and drains to figure out where the water came from.
Removal and Reinstallation
If that didn’t fix it, there are some more dramatic solutions you can take. If it gets to this point, you probably want to call in a professional unless you like to get your hands dirty.
Most properly-installed bathtubs have a layer of rubber or foam that rests under them. This layer helps avoid bathtub creaking.
If it’s not present, the only practical solution is to remove the tub, lay down the rubber or foam layer, and reinstall the bathtub.
There are some excellent YouTube videos on how to remove and replace a bathtub.
And if you are still at a complete loss and can’t figure out the problem behind your bathtub creaking, then it might be time to call in the professionals.
Don’t worry. Even the best of us need to call for help at times.
If you call quickly enough when you hear the creaking, you can avoid additional issues. Don’t allow it to get so back that cracks or holes develop. It’s much cheaper to remove and reinstall an existing bathtub than to replace it with a new unit.
Bathtub Creaking: Wrap Up
Are you ready to get back to enjoying your bathtub without worrying about that creaking? Hopefully, you’ve figured out if the creaking is caused by a bad surround connection, a lack of support, or flooring issues.
Once you identify the problem, try to correct it. You might need to snap the surround into place. Or perhaps use some spray foam or shims to add a bit of support. Maybe the subflooring needs to be repaired.
And if all else fails, it might be time to remove and reinstall the tub. While some crafty DIYers can tackle that, most people are better off calling in professionals.