There’s nothing like soaking in a warm, bubbly bath to wash away your worries. But for some people, the practicality and experience of shower water raining on them is more enticing. Converting an unused bathtub to a shower is a fashionable and functional home improvement project. If you’ve always dreamt of a gorgeous shower, a walk-in shower will not only make your bathroom feel larger and more sophisticated. It can also make it more accessible to those with mobility challenges.
Showers are typically faster and more practical for daily life, which is why they are often included in every full bath in newly constructed or renovated homes.
Things to Think About Before Replacing Your Tub With a Shower
There are a few crucial things to be considered before you start the bathroom remodeling project.
- First and foremost, ensure that the new shower design and size you select is suited to your family’s lifestyle. If you have (or plan to have) young children, a bathtub may be more beneficial than a walk-in shower.
- Secondly, the layout of any other bathrooms in your house should be taken into account. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the majority of homebuyers value having at least one bathtub, something you should bear in mind if you’re looking to sell your property in the future.
- Finally, you need to make sure you have a secondary bathroom to use during this renovation or if you need to home to a hotel or relative’s house for a few days.
- Before you begin the project, make a budget for all associated costs, including the shower kit itself as well as the materials and tools you’ll need for installation. Plan for how you’ll clean up as well as any contractors you’ll need to hire along the way.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind so you don’t end up dumping your money instead of your tub:
Don’t Get Rid of Your Only Tub
Even if you use your only tub for some light laundry, it’s still worth it. Most real estate agents insist on having at least one bathtub in your home to maintain marketability.
“You’ll never sell that property without a tub,” according to a recent Houzz poll, with 58 percent of respondents agreeing.
Tub to Shower Conversion on budget: The Best Low-Cost Option Is a Shower Kit
If your old tub is in an alcove, you can take it out, creating a space that’s 30 to 34 inches deep and 5 feet wide, which is ideal for a shower. Your water supply and drain lines will already be in place with just minor modifications, saving you money on plumbing costs.
Shower stall kits, which are designed to fit into corners and old bathtub alcoves, are excellent low-cost solutions. They’re generally made of acrylic or fiberglass and feature prefabricated sides, a skid-proof floor pan with curbs, a drain hole, and a hinged glass door. Built-in seats and storage for bath accessories are also included in some models. Depending on the options, the price ranges from $650 to $2,000.
The price of a custom-tile shower goes up quite a bit depending on the complexity, size, and style of tile and fixtures you choose. Budget additional expenses to cover the cost for tear-out, new plumbing pipes, fixtures, and any custom carpentry.
Avoid Putting a Shower in Front of a Window
Many older homes (and some newer buildings) have a window over the bathtub. This is a great way to bring in natural light, but it becomes complicated when you want to convert to a shower.
The panels will be in the way of the window if you choose a high-quality shower system or a shower kit. Alternatively, you can board up the window or cut the panels to fit around it. These alternatives can be costly.
A window in your shower should be avoided at all costs. Like seriously. There are simply too many opportunities for water to leak into your walls through the window casing. Then you’re dealing with icky mold (yuck!). And there’s also serious house damage.
If there’s a window above the tub, your best bet might be to consider relocating the shower. This will be a more expensive option because plumbing will have to be moved, but then you won’t have to worry about water leaks or losing natural light.
Choosing the Right Size
A shower stall’s floor should be at least 30-inches-by-30-inches, to be able to use it with comfort.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends at least m 36-inch-by-36-inch-wide stall. If you’re following the NKBA standards, you’ll probably need to modify an existing tub alcove — perhaps by adding short sections of wall — to make the finished shower area 36 inches deep.
Tips for converting a tub to a walk-in shower:
- Minimum finished ceiling height: At least 80 inches.
- Distance from toilet side to shower wall: 15 inches minimum measured from the toilet’s center to the wall; 18 inches is preferable.
- Distance between the front of the toilet and the shower wall (or any wall): 21 inches minimum measured from the front of the toilet bowl to the wall; 30 inches is suggested.
- Shower door swing: All obstructions should be cleared, including the toilet and vanity cabinet. Door swing issues can be solved with sliding glass doors or shower curtains.
Pay Special Attention To The Shower Floor (It’s Crucial).
The appearance and expense of your tub-to-shower conversion are heavily influenced by the shower floor (also known as the shower pan).
You can choose between two main types of pans: one that corrals water with curbs that you step over when you enter, and the other is curbless.
- Shower pans with curbs create a complete enclosure to keep water from splashing and channeling it to a drain. The shower pan’s floor is pitched properly to drain water. Showers with curbs are typically easier and less expensive to install than showers without curbs.
- Curbless shower stalls (also known as barrier-free showers) are popular, but they’re trickier to build because the floor’s drainage slope must be built below the level of the surrounding flooring surface. This requires either raising the surrounding floor level or lowering the shower pan.
During the demolition of the tub, check these things to save money and hassle later.
- The condition of existing pipes and replace them if necessary.
- The framing and subfloor for mold, mildew, and rot, and repair as needed.
- The shower valve — now is the time to upgrade to a single-handle, pressure-balancing valve that controls temps and volume.
Are you looking to convert your bathtub to a beautiful walk-in shower? Talk to us and schedule a free consultation with Lolark, Let’s do it!