If you have sliding tub or shower doors that are stuck, you should first focus your attention at the top of the doors.
If you are looking to just open the doors to service the rollers (likely the root cause of the problem), you should be able to lift the door slightly and gently move it down the head rail. That will at least allow you to enter the tub/shower to fix the problem.
You might get lucky and find that one of the wheel assemblies is no longer riding on the track. This fix will be simply lifting that side of the door up and placing it so that the wheels are aligned with the track and it should roll smoothly.
It may also be that the wheel assembly has come loose and needs to be adjusted. You will need to remove the door to get access to the screws that hold these in place. Lift up the door and swing the bottom out. Then you can clear the top of the door from the head rail. The vinyl wheels don’t normally get ruined because the door isn’t that heavy. However, if they look bad, now is a good time to replace them.
Adjust the wheel assembly so that it is in the middle of the adjustment range. Rehang the door and see if it rolls smoothly. If they don’t adjust the wheels downward to lift the door slightly higher from the bottom track.
You may be looking to replace a bathtub drain flange because it is unsightly, or maybe it is leaking. You may get lucky and the drain flange may unscrew easily. In many cases though, it isn't that easy.
You can try using a strainer wrench. This is a great tool when the inside supports are still in place. This allows the wrench something to hold on to while unscrewing the flange. In some cases the flange is just corroded and won't budge.
You can use a hacksaw and cut 2 slots in opposing sides of the flange. You may want to hold 2 hacksaw blades together to cut the slots thicker. Use a chisel and hold it at an angle so that when you hit the chisel it will cause the flange to move in a counter-clockwise direction. Use a hammer and tap the chisel to move the flange. You might try alternating the chisel from one slot to the next to get the flange to move. Once it starts to budge, you can use a couple of screwdrivers and place them in the slots to unscrew the flange. It's one of those things that you use whatever is at hand to get the job done.
Once the old flange is out, clean up the threads and install a new one.
If you are installing an inexpensive bathtub you might notice that most are not as beefy as they once were. The fiberglass tubs are lightweight and inexpensive. You might notice that when you step into it, it flexes upon your weight.
There is plastic webbing underneath the bathtub that helps to prevent this, but the fact is, it’s plastic and will give under the weight of a large adult. There is a way to make the tub rock solid.
Once you dry-fit the bathtub to make sure everything is lined up and level, mix up some thin-set mortar. You are going to lay down some mortar underneath the bathtub to make it rigid. You don’t need to completely cover the floor, but most of the flex will occur at the center of the tub as this is where most people step.
With the tub out of the way, pour some thin-set on the floor. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but spread it around a little bit, but not so much that it squeezes out once you set the tub into it.
Place the bathtub back into position so that it matches up with your previous marks and is sitting in the thin-set. Secure the tub edges on top of the ledger and into the studs. Step into the tub to push the webbing into the thin-set and to distribute it. I would let it set up and then you can finish the surround.
If you plan on replacing shower doors from your bathtub, you will first need to remove them of course. You may just want to remove them and install a curved rod and shower curtain, but I personally prefer the permanent look of sliding doors.
Sliding shower doors are very easy to remove, but they can be awkward because of the typically flimsy glass doors.
Start by lifting the outermost door and swinging the bottom out. Once you lift the door’s rollers from the track you can remove each door. With the weight of the doors no longer hanging from the top track, you should be able to lift the track up and off of the side rails.
The side rails are held in place with screws and caulking. Look at the inside of the tracks and you will likely see screw heads. You may also find them in the rubber bumpers that prevent the doors from hitting the sides too hard. Remove the screws, and cut through the caulking.
All that is left is the bottom track. It is held in place with caulking. You can cut through the caulking with a utility knife, but be careful not the scratch the bathtub. Once you remove all of the pieces, you will have to clean up the old caulking.
Replacing a bath tub spout is a two step process, removing the spout and replacing it. Removing the spout can often be the most challenging.
The challenging thing about removing a bath tub spout is that you don't know exactly how it removes.
The bath tub spout may simply unscrew from a threaded nipple sticking out from the wall, or it may be held in place with a set screw from underneath the spout.
You can certainly try to goose the spout free by gently turning it counter-clockwise. If it doesn't want to budge, don't force it...yet. If the bath tub spout doesn't have a set screw, then you can apply some muscle to it.
Look under the spout for a small hole. Inside the hole may be a setscrew that holds the spout to a bare copper pipe. You can use a flashlight and a mirror to see inside the small hole, or you can attempt to stand on your head.
If you can see a small hex head screw, use an allen wrench unscrew it. Sometimes it is a little tough to find the screw head with the allen wrench, but keep at it. Once the screw is loosened, you should be able to pull the bath tub spout free of the pipe.
Repairing a lever-style bathtub drain stopper can be a challenge. Rather than doing that, you can replace the pop-up assembly with a retrofit assembly. I use a Flip-It drain stopper for this situation.
Lever style assemblies involve removing the linkages and cleaning out the insert that rides up-and-down in the overflow. This is a dirty pain. There is no easy way, and you have to phenagle the linkages out very carefully. Once you repair the problem, you have to get it back into the hole and adjust it until it holds water.
With the Flip-it, you just add the correct size o-rings and push it into the drain. You get a variety of o-rings to fit different sized drain openings. there are two o-rings that go an the base of the Flip-it. These hold the unit in place and stop water from leaking around the perimeter of the unit. Pick the right size o-rings and just push it into the drain.
On top of the unit is a small lever that you toggle to either stop the bathtub water from draining, or to allow the water to drain. They come in a variety of finishes to match most bathtub flanges, and the job should take under 5 mintes.
If your bathtub drains slowly, you can probably fix it very quickly. Most of the time the slow drain is caused by a clump of hair and soap mixed together. It is a matter of removing the hairball from the drain.
Fortunately, the ball of hair usually is very close to the bathtub drain itself. Some bathtubs have pop up stoppers that you push on to control the water. If you push on it once, the water gets blocked from draining and the tub fills. If you push on the stopper again, the stopper pops up and allows the tub to drain. If you have this type of tub stopper, unscrew it and remove it. This drain assembly will have a small grid across the drain with a threaded fitting in the center to accept the tub stopper. The small grid is big enough, however, to allow you to get a tool into the drain to remove the hair.
You may be able to get a pair of needle nosed pliers far enough to pull out the beginning of the clump and the rest will follow. If the mass of hair is a little further down, you can buy a “zip-it” tool and fish it out. This is a skinny piece of plastic with barbs on it that will fit down the drain and snag the hair as you pull the tool back out.
Many the homeowner has encountered the slow bathtub drain. Not that it is totally clogged, but it has just enough debris in the drain to make the water drain very slowly. Most of the time, the obstruction is not deep in the drain pipe, but rather just beyond the strainer where you can reach it with a tool.
Drains that drain slowly typically smell. This is because the hair and soap mixture that is clogging the drain is decaying and really lets off a pungent odor. So be forewarned, clearing a slow or clogged drain is nasty business.
You need to get access to the drain pipe. Typically you can remove the drain cover by unscrewing it. Because you will have to wrestle around the support for the drain stopper, you must use something long and reasonably thin. Needle nose pliers work great if the clog is fairly close to the surface.
You can use a coat hanger. Straighten out the hanger and bend a little hook in the end of it. Then you can fish it down the drain and hopefully lock on to the hairball. You can also buy a product called a "zip it" that works in the same manner. It is a plastic stick with little barbs all over it. When you push it into the drain the hairball gets caught on the barbs allowing you to pull it out.
Get creative. I've used a shopvac to suck out clogs. I've even taped a PVC pipe to the end of a shopvac to reach a deep area. Finally, you can use a snake. Here is some information on using a snake to clear a drain clog.
Whatever method you use, just be prepared to get the foul smelling clog out of your house quickly.
In my job I go into a lot of other people's houses, and consequently get to see how they live. Sometimes it's amazing. I went into a house today that wasn't bad at all, but I was surprised at how people are willing to put up inconveniences that would drive me crazy.
This customer had a bathtub drain stopper that was broken . Not a difficult job right? The thing I thought was funny was that she was using an old shower cap to plug up the drain. She would wad it up in a ball and stuff it into the hole. It wouldn't completely stop the water from draining, but it slowed it down enough where she had time to bathe. She said sometimes she would have to put her foot over the drain hole to help slow it. Too funny. She obviously was very tolerant. I wouldn't have lasted a day like that, but she had been doing this for 3 months!
I brought along a universal tub stopper kit and was done in about 3 minutes. This is a nifty product that has a stopper that fits any hole. It's gimmick is that it comes with many different size O-rings that you can replace to fit your particular drain hole. It simply pushes into the hole and the O-rings stop the water from draining until you throw a lever to drain the tub.
The customer was very happy, but I think she thought it would be a big project. Three months of suffering with short baths, when all it took was 3 minutes for this Las Vegas handyman to repair it.