Removing a bathtub panel might seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and a step-by-step approach, it can be a straightforward DIY project. Whether you’re looking to replace an old panel, access plumbing, or simply give your bathroom a fresh look, this guide will walk you through how to remove a bathtub panel.

How to Remove a Bathtub Panel

What Are Bathtub Panels?

Bathtub panels, also known as bath panels, are the coverings that enclose the sides of a bathtub, hiding the plumbing and providing a clean, finished look to the bathroom. They can be made from various materials, including acrylic, PVC, wood, or tiles.

Why Might You Need to Remove a Bathtub Panel?

There are several reasons why you might need to remove a bathtub panel. You may need to access the plumbing behind the panel for repairs or maintenance, to adjust the anti-scald valve, replace a damaged panel, or simply want to update the look of your bathroom with a new panel design.

How to Remove a Bathtub Panel?

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools and materials. You will need a screwdriver, a Stanley knife, a pry bar, gloves, and protective eyewear. Depending on the type of panel and how it is fitted, you may also need a drill or a jigsaw.

What You Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Stanley knife
  • Pry bar
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Drill or jigsaw (if necessary)
  • Replacement bathtub panel
  • Sealant and adhesive (as recommended by the panel manufacturer)
  • Measuring tape

Where to Purchase Quality Tools and Materials?

Quality tools and materials can be found at local hardware stores, online retailers, or speciality bathroom supply stores. Research and read reviews to choose the best options for your project and budget.

Step 1 – Ensure a Safe Working Area

Safety should be your top priority. Clear the area of any bathroom rugs, mats, or obstacles. Ensure the floor is dry to avoid slipping and wear protective gloves and eyewear to protect yourself from sharp edges and debris.

Step 2 – Locate the Panel

Identify which panel needs to be removed. In some cases, bathtubs will have more than one panel, especially if the tub is L-shaped, cornered or enclosed on three sides.

Step 3 – Disconnect Any Seals or Fasteners

Carefully inspect the panel to locate any seals, adhesive, or fasteners holding it in place. Use a Stanley knife to cut through silicone seals or caulk along the edges of the panel. For screws or nails, use a screwdriver or drill to remove them.

Step 4 – Carefully Remove the Panel

Once all fasteners and seals are removed, gently pry the panel away from the bathtub using a pry bar. Start from one corner and work your way along the edge, taking care not to damage the panel or the bathtub.

How to Deal with Stuck Panels?

If a panel is stuck, it’s often due to strong adhesive or a tight fit. Apply gentle, consistent pressure as you pry, and consider using a hairdryer to soften adhesive seals.

What to Do if the Panel Breaks During Removal?

When removing a bathtub panel, should the panel break, prioritise safety by immediately cleaning up any sharp pieces. If the panel was to be replaced, this might not be an issue, but always handle broken materials carefully to avoid injury.

How to Clean the Area After Removal?

Once the panel is removed, clean the exposed area thoroughly. Remove any remaining adhesive or sealant with a scraper and ensure the surface is dry and smooth before installing a new panel or accessing plumbing.

How to Prepare the Surface for a New Panel?

If installing a new panel, ensure the surface is smooth, clean, and dry. Apply any necessary sealants or adhesives as directed by the panel manufacturer for a secure fit.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bathtub New Panel?

Selecting a new bathtub panel involves considering the material, style, and functionality. Look for materials that are durable and resistant to moisture, such as PVC, acrylic, or treated wood. The style should match your bathroom’s decor, and the panel should provide easy access for future maintenance.

Installation Tips for New Bath Panels

Installing a new panel can vary depending on the type and design. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Common tips include ensuring a level fit, using appropriate sealants for waterproofing, and allowing any adhesive to cure fully before exposing the panel to moisture.

When to DIY and When to Call a Professional?

DIY removal is suitable for those comfortable with basic tools and who have a straightforward panel setup. Consider hiring a professional if the panel is part of a complex system, if there’s a risk of damaging plumbing, or if the panel is made from materials that require specialised tools for safe removal.

Pros and Cons of DIY Removal

DIY removal can save money and provide a sense of accomplishment. However, it carries risks of damage or injury if not done carefully. Professional removal ensures a safe and efficient process but at a higher cost.

How to Extend the Life of Your Bathtub Panel?

Protect your panel from harsh chemicals and direct impacts. If your panel is wooden, consider sealing it with a waterproof sealant to prevent rot and warping. For acrylic or PVC panels, avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures which can cause distortion.

Routine Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance extends the life of your bathtub panel. Clean the panel with non-abrasive cleaners to prevent scratches and maintain its appearance. Inspect the sealant periodically and reapply as needed to prevent water damage.

What Are the Common Mistakes When Removing a Bathtub Panel?

Installing a new panel can vary depending on the type and design. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Common tips include ensuring a level fit, using appropriate sealants for waterproofing, and allowing any adhesive to cure fully before exposing the panel to moisture.

How to Dispose of an Old Bathtub Panel Responsibly?

Proper disposal of an old bathtub panel is crucial for environmental sustainability. Investigate local recycling options, as many materials like PVC and acrylic can be recycled. For non-recyclable materials, contact your local waste management services to ensure responsible disposal.

Recycling Options

Recycling reduces landfill waste and conserves resources. Check if your community offers recycling programs for construction materials. Some retailers or manufacturers also offer take-back programs for used panels, particularly if they’re made from recyclable materials.

Estimating the Cost of Removing and Replacing a Bathtub Panel

The cost can vary widely based on whether you opt for DIY or professional services, the type of new panel chosen, and any additional repairs or modifications needed. DIY projects primarily incur the cost of new materials and tools, while professional services will include labour costs.

How to Save Money on This Project?

To save money, consider a DIY approach if feasible. Compare prices and materials to find a balance between quality and cost. Look for sales or discounts on panels and supplies, and consider simple, straightforward designs that are easier to install.

Expert Tips for a Flawless Removal

What Do the Experts Say?

Experts recommend taking the time to properly prepare and protect your workspace and yourself. They also advise closely inspecting the panel and bathtub for any signs of damage or wear before proceeding with removal or installation.

Insider Tips and Tricks for an Easy Removal

  • Take photos before starting to have a reference for reinstallation.
  • Use a putty knife along with a pry bar for gentler prying and to distribute force evenly.
  • If dealing with stubborn adhesive, a mix of vinegar and water can help soften it without damaging the bathtub or surrounding areas.

How Might Bathtub Panels Evolve?

Future designs may incorporate modular panels that snap in place without the need for tools or permanent adhesives, making them easy to remove for cleaning or access to plumbing. Also, new materials may be developed that are sturdy and have a nice aesthetic appeal.

How to Refit the Bath Panel

I have found a great little video here to help you refit the panel.


Removing and replacing a bathtub panel doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools, a bit of know-how, and patience, you can give your bathroom a quick and impactful update. Whether you opt for a DIY project or decide to hire a professional, the key to success lies in careful planning and execution. This guide aims to empower homeowners to confidently tackle their bathroom renovation projects, ensuring a beautiful and functional space.

How to Remove a Bathtub Panel Infographic
How to Fix a Leaking Compression Fitting Infographic

Plumbing Wizard Tips

“Ensure the water supply is completely turned off before starting the removal process to avoid any potential water damage!”

“Check for any screws or fasteners holding the panel in place, and use the appropriate tools to carefully remove them without damaging the surrounding area!”

“Gently pry the panel away from the tub, using a putty knife or a similar tool to loosen any sealant or adhesive that might be securing it in place!”

“Once the panel is removed, clean the area thoroughly to remove any residual adhesive or grime, preparing it for the new installation!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace a bathtub panel without removing the bathtub?

Yes, in most cases, bathtub panels are designed to be removed and replaced without the need to remove the bathtub itself.

What is the best material for a bathtub panel?

The best material depends on your budget, style preference, and maintenance willingness. Acrylic and PVC are popular for their durability and ease of maintenance.

How often should I replace my bathtub panel?

Replace your bathtub panel if it shows signs of damage, wear, or if you wish to update your bathroom’s appearance. There’s no set timeframe, as it depends on the material’s durability and the level of care.

Is it necessary to seal the new bathtub panel?

Yes, sealing the panel helps prevent water damage and ensures a snug fit against the bathtub, enhancing its longevity and appearance.

Can I install a new bathtub panel myself?

If you’re comfortable with DIY projects and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you can install a new panel yourself. However, consider professional help for complex installations or if unsure.

What should I do if there’s water damage behind the panel?

Address water damage immediately by drying the area thoroughly and repairing any leaks. Consider consulting a professional to assess and repair the damage to prevent mould and structural issues.

How can I customise my bathtub panel?

Customise your panel by choosing materials and designs that match your bathroom’s theme, painting it (if the material allows), or adding decorative elements for a personal touch.

Are there any waterproof panels?

Many modern panels are designed to be waterproof or water-resistant, especially those made from acrylic, PVC, or treated wood. Always check the product specifications when choosing.

How long does it take to remove and replace a bathtub panel?

The time required can vary, but a straightforward removal and replacement can typically be done within a few hours, provided there are no complications.

What is the best way to cut a bathtub panel to fit?

Use a jigsaw or a handsaw with a fine-toothed blade for precise cuts. Measure twice and cut once to ensure accuracy, and always follow the panel manufacturer’s guidelines for cutting.


Lee Pearce is not just a master plumber; he’s a veritable Plumbing Wizard. With over 30 years of experience in the trenches of pipes and drains, Lee has become the go-to sage for DIY plumbing, saving homeowners thousands in potential call-out charges. As the founder of Plumbing Wizard, he’s dedicated to demystifying the complexities of home plumbing, offering easy-to-follow advice that stands the test of time and pressure. His online blog is a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and tutorials that empower everyday individuals to take charge of their home’s plumbing health. Lee’s practical wisdom is not just about fixing leaks; it’s about imparting confidence and self-reliance. When he’s not writing or elbow-deep in a plumbing project, Lee is passionate about educating the next generation of DIYers, ensuring that practical skills are passed down and preserved.

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