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There are lots of people who love walk-in showers like you. Walk-in showers are a good choice because they have a bigger shower area, are easy to get into, and look clean.

Choosing to go ahead with a tub shower conversion has a lot to do with how you live. If there is only one toilet, a family with small children might want to keep the bathtub. Another reason is getting around when you can’t move around easily.

Now is a good time to think about whether it makes sense to replace the tub with a shower if you’re already planning to redo the whole bathroom. Talk to your contractor about whether the size of shower you want will fit in the room you have.

When changing from a bathtub to a shower, you should think about the size of the shower, the windows, the lighting, the vent fan, and the plumbing and where it is located.

Table of Contents:

Shower Footprint Planning

Choose a shower stall and pan that match the bathtub footprint wherever possible. Tubs are often 60 inches long and 30 to 36 inches wide, or wider. Shower pans and surround kits for ordinary bathtubs are easy to find. Since the surround panels and shower pan cover the previous footprint, keeping it the same will reduce wall and floor repairs.

Changing the footprint-for example, placing a square 32 x 32-inch shower in the area vacated by a 30 x 60-inch tub-will need a lot of flooring and wall work.

Many localities require permits for a tub shower conversion because plumbing lines must be shifted. Contact your local permitting agency. An inspector must assess any permit-required job at the rough-in stage when the new plumbing pipes are placed but the walls are not.

Shut Off Water Supply

Shut off the water lines before starting. The bathroom’s hot and cold water supply pipes may have branch shutoff valves or fixture shutoff valves at the tub faucet. If neither type of shutdown valve is visible, turn off your home’s main water supply before continuing.

Take Down Walls

If necessary, remove the tub wall surfaces with demolition equipment. It may include removing a fiberglass or acrylic tub surround with an oscillating multi-tool and pry bar. A hammer and pry bar are essential for ceramic tile walls. Wear eye and hearing protection during demolition.

Shower kits vary in demolition requirements. You must usually remove the entire “wet wall” with the faucet and plumbing pipes, as well as the other wall surfaces where the stall will fit and at least 6 feet above the floor. Removing all three alcove walls simplifies bathtub removal.

Disconnect Plumbing

Disconnect the bathtub drain, then remove the wall-mounted faucet. Remove the piping to where the branch lines join to fixture shutoff valves if the faucet has them. Installing new plumbing for your tub shower conversion is better than adapting the old faucet valve with an extension line to add the showerhead.

Remove Bathtub

Remove any screws, nails, or brackets holding the bathtub’s edge flange to the walls. Use a helper to shift a heavy tub onto one side to remove it. A heavy cast-iron tub can be difficult to remove, but an acrylic or fiberglass tub is easy. Tilting cast-iron tubs on end and rolling them out of the bathroom with a dolly works best.

A reciprocating saw can cut acrylic or fiberglass tubs into manageable pieces for disposal. Your bathtub may have been placed in mortar over the floor. Using a crowbar to shatter the mortar may be necessary for removal.

Clean the demolition area thoroughly, removing nails and screws from studs and floor debris and mortar.

Framing Inspection and Repair

Remove the bathtub and check the wall studs and subfloor. Fixing certain studs or the subfloor exposed by the tub may require a little carpentry.

Cut away any water-damaged subflooring beneath the tub and install new 3/4-inch plywood subflooring over the tub area where the shower pan will go.

Cutting the shower pan drain opening in the subfloor is necessary. Bathtub drain openings are normally near the end, but the new shower pan drain opening will likely be in the center. Before installing the shower pan, you may need to shift the drain with carpentry and plumbing. Some DIYers should engage a plumber for this technical work.

Showerhead and Faucet Rough-in

In addition to changing the drain lines, the rough-in plumbing stage entails mounting the new shower valve and showerhead stub out on the studs and running pipes from the hot and cold branch lines and between the faucet valve and showerhead. Though simple, this work requires plumbing expertise and experience.

The shower valve will be 45 to 48 inches above the shower floor, which is higher than a bathtub faucet valve. The normal showerhead height is 78 inches. If the shower pan is 36 inches wide, the faucet and showerhead should be 18 inches from the back wall. The surround kit may specify the shower faucet valve and showerhead placement.

The faucet and showerhead can be connected to water supply pipes in several ways. Many individuals utilize PEX pipe for new water supply pipes, connecting them to copper with push-fit fittings. PEX is simpler than copper pipes and fittings for most individuals.

Shower Drain Rough-in

Before installing the shower pan, rough the drain pipes to the desired height and position. Extend drain lines as needed after measuring the shower pan and drain hole. Most homes have PVC or ABS drain lines, so transferring them is as simple as cutting them off and installing new pipe, fittings, and a drain trap to the new shower pan’s drain.

PVC pipe is straightforward to work with, however, switching to steel or iron drainpipe might be difficult. Any homeowner who has cut and glued plastic plumbing pipe or is willing to learn can do this.

For a more extensive system replacement, consider hiring a plumber to replace an aging metal pipe system with PVC plastic. If required by your local construction code, have an inspector inspect your plumbing rough-in work today. Construction work requiring a permit usually involves inspection.

Install Shower Pan

Install the shower pan per the manufacturer’s instructions. First, test-fit the shower pan and mark the drain pipe riser via the drain opening. After marking the drainpipe riser, remove the drain pan and trim the pipe. Be exact, following the shower pan’s drainpipe height guidelines.

Most pans are acrylic or fiberglass, and the directions usually call for troweling on a bed of wet mortar to make a rigid base. Place the shower pan in the mortar bed with the drainpipe riser in the drain aperture, then nail or screw the lip to the wall studs. Take care to level the shower pan’s lip in both directions to guarantee proper water drainage.

Before continuing, let mortar cure overnight if the pan was placed in it.

Shower Surround Installation

Install shower surround panels per kit instructions. The huge back panel is usually installed first, then the solid end walls. Install the faucet/showerhead panel last. This final panel must be drilled for the faucet valve and showerhead arm. Drill precise holes to align this final panel with the faucet valve and showerhead stub-out.

Surround panels may be fastened to studs or secured using construction adhesive. Shower surround kit design affects installation procedures.

Connect Shower Drain

As specified by the manufacturer, connect the shower pan drainage fitting to the drainage pipe. Handle this carefully to guarantee a watertight fitting. For most drain fittings, you place a rubber washer or gasket around the tailpiece of the drain pipe and put it into the drain pipe. The drain fitting’s flange is sealed to the shower pan by a bead of caulk or rubber washer when screwed down.

Shower Trim Installation

Install the shower trim and showerhead per the manufacturer’s directions. Installing the showerhead, handle, and escutcheon plates is usually enough since the faucet body and showerhead arm are already installed. Apply silicone caulk around the escutcheon plates to prevent water from entering the wall.

Install Shower Door

Install the shower door per the manufacturer’s instructions. Sliding or swing-out doors require different methods. Attaching metal tracks to the shower pan and end walls, hanging the door, and sealing the track is typical.

Test the Shower

Turn on the water and test the shower after caulking all joints. Check for leaks around the drain hole, water supply connections, shower door, and surround panel seams. The package instructions include caulking locations.

When to Call a Pro

A tub shower conversion for a do-it-yourselfer might be a struggle. As with any significant bathroom remodeling project, the project requires demolition, carpentry, plumbing, finishing, and a wide range of hand and power tools.

If you lack any of these skills, consider hiring a pro. If you only have one bathroom, hiring a contractor is recommended because this remodeling project could make it unusable for days. Professionals may finish a project in a day or two that takes a DIYer a week.

Prefabricated tub shower conversion kits can help DIYers. A shower kit includes an acrylic shower pan, integrating wall panels, and a shower door, available in stock or by special order at most home centers. Prefabricated shower kits save time and eliminate much of the tiling used in custom shower stalls.

FAQ’s Pertaining to Shower Conversion

What does it cost for a tubshower conversion?

It usually costs between $1,800 and $4,430 to turn a bathtub into a shower. This includes the cost of materials and work. The old bathtub will be torn down and thrown away, a new shower enclosure and glass door will be put in, any new fixtures will be added, and the wiring will be fixed as needed.

Should you change your tub into a shower?

The tub you have now might be 5 feet long or longer, which takes up a lot of room. You will have a lot more space in the bathroom if you switch from a tub to a shower. You can make your bathroom a lot more useful and better for your family with the extra space you now have.

Is changing the tub to a shower bad for the home’s selling value?

How long do you plan to live in your current home? This will help you decide if a tub-to-shower change is right for you. In the next 10 years, if you want to sell your house, getting rid of your tub might make people less interested and lower their offers.

Do you have to move the drain when you change from a tub to a shower?

The original 1-1/2 inch pipe worked fine when I turned a tub into a shower. Your pan will have to slope more from one end to the other than if the drain were in the middle, bou can leave the drain at one end.


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.

Related content: Custom Shower Tips

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