Would your family opt for showers rather than baths?
Perhaps an elderly family member is finding it difficult to climb over the ledge of the tub?
Is your bathtub looking old or dingy, leaving you to explore options to improve the looks of your bathroom?
Regardless of your reasons, replacing an existing bathtub with a walk-in shower is a project offering lasting comfort, enjoyment, and convenience.
There is an increased demand generally for walk-in showers as well as showers with no tubs.
Also trending are huge walk-in showers, upscale showers, and doorless showers.
Remodeling your bathtub to become a shower makes your home more desirable and possibly boosts your selling chances, if you ever need to.
However, you should choose carefully if your home will be left without a tub – it is recommended by some housing agents to keep a minimum of one tub in a home, master bath or not.
You should also consider the usage and comfort you will derive from a walk-in shower in the long run as you decide.
Shower Conversion Guide: What’s The Cost?
You’ll first of all need to decide if you’ll be taking on this project yourself or if you’ll hire a contractor, depending on your budget and plumbing updates.
Paid labor can be costly, but damaging your plumbing by mistake can be stressful and expensive.
The material quality which you intend to use can greatly influence the cost of remodeling.
For instance, you can install a drop-in shower stall by yourself (if you have the skills) for about $400.
Otherwise, labor cost for a professional would be an additional $300 - $400.
Factors such as fixtures and materials are bound to affect your remodeling project.
However, many who decide to undertake this remodeling opt for something with a bit more luxury than a drop-in shower stall can offer. These may also require plumbing updates or repairs. Some areas in which cost may build up are as follows.
Replacing the Pipes
For an older home, the pipes may be dated. Having them replaced with PEX or copper can vary in cost subject to the quantity to be replaced. A plumber will probably charge from $45 - $150 per hour. An estimate will let you know the duration of the updates.
Dry Rot or Issues Around the Tub Area
Floor reinforcements likely won’t be needed by your shower since it is much lighter than the bathtub. But a tub which has existed for years with any kind of water leaks can damage the floor and may require replacement before the shower installation.
While ceramic tiles for a shower may cost $1.30 for a square foot, specialty tiles for a square foot may go as high as $20.
Installing a regular sliding glass door can cost from $100 - $300. Other more expensive options are available such as s tinted or textured glass, or an open/close rather than sliding door.
You may install special fixtures (such as height-adjustable showerheads, or the kinds which mimic rainfall) to boost your shower experience. The more luxurious fixtures can cost hundreds of dollars.
Shower Conversion Guide: How Difficult Is It?
Though we may love to view pictures of gorgeous bathrooms which have huge shower areas, in reality most people have smaller bath spaces. Replacing a tub with a shower area is perfect to having a walk-in shower in a smaller bath space.
Still you may think that there isn’t enough space or that you would like something a bit bigger, and that means the shower plumbing has to be relocated. This task is mostly reserved for an expert plumber or a seasoned DIYer. Challenges could be:
Location of the Room
Do you have your bathroom located at an upper floor or ground floor? Moving bathroom pipes on the higher floors of a home may be more challenging.
Foundation type for ground floor bathrooms – Slab foundation may require cutting into the concrete in order to reposition the pipes. You may need special skills and tools for this.
Down Pipe Location
Wastewater is transported in this pipe to the sewer, and any connection to it needs to be inclined in an angle so as to prevent blockages.
If Moving the Toilet is Required
You will need to rework the toilet connection to the sewer pipe as well as the vent stack, if its position needs to be changed. However, you can save effort and cost by utilizing the available space and having your shower installed in the bathtub footprint.
Shower Conversion Guide: First Steps?
The first thing here is to make sure you have the space to accommodate your desired shower.
Bathtubs are usually 60” wide; this should be sufficient for your shower, but you should always confirm this width.
The depth, however, is of greater concern; the National Kitchen and Bath Association stipulates that you’ll need at least 30” since the minimum shower requirement by most plumbing codes is 30” by 30”.
And if you can find space, you’ll likely want a few more inches.
Your target should be a minimum depth of 32 inches to 34 inches from the door to the finished shower wall.
Ensure that there will be enough room for the toilet if it’s situated near the shower/tub. Though your new shower can be expanded by a few inches, you wouldn’t want to feel jam-packed while making use of the toilet.
The next thing would be to consider various materials. Get an online or physical folder which can save material samples and data from your preferred manufacturers.
Now you know what your shower is meant to look like, so the next thing is to consider the most suitable shower for installation.
Shower Conversion Guide: Shower stalls
Complete shower stalls which can be put in a present tub-sized space can ease your job. Varieties exist having integrated shelving and ledges, while some have areas for seating. The stalls usually have a pavement to restrict water and you can install any kind of door you want – or simply using a curtain.
Shower Conversion Guide: Tiled Shower Pavements
For a tiled shower in the present wall space, there usually has to be a pavement or ledge which will keep the door in place and limit the water. The pavement height should be such that is enough to hold moisture as well as step over with ease. Pavements should be polished and edges smoothened to reduce the risk of injury.
Shower Conversion Guide: Showers Without Pavements
Showers without any lip to limit the water give much easier access, particularly for the disabled or elderly. Nonetheless, these showers offer an especially open look which is modern and appealing. You can also save a bit of space with these showers if you’re looking to optimize a small space.
The challenge here, in any case, is the trouble to contain the water. You can minimize this issue with the help of a shower screen – basically, a swiveling glass door – and a fixed showerhead which helps water flow away from the remaining part of the bathroom.
Remodeling a bathroom requires proper planning and thoroughness to ensure the right plumbing and zero leaks. It may cost more initially to engage an expert, but you will be more confident about the proper execution of the work.
Check out our emergency plumber guide next.