Tub-to-Shower Conversion: What You Should Know
Your bathroom may serve your most basic functions, but it should be just as lovely as your home’s other spaces. A bit of remodeling offers the perfect opportunity to further improve upon it, but which part of the room should you focus on? There’s nothing more satisfying than a warm, luxurious bath–but you need the luxury of time to fully enjoy it. Today’s fast-paced, modern lifestyle will need something more practical, such as a shower unit. How do you squeeze one in, however? Easy–when space is at a premium in your bath, all you need to do is convert your tub into a shower.
Ways to Convert a Tub into a Shower
To convert your shower, you can either:
- Tear out the existing tub and build a new shower in its place. This is a big job–one that requires turning to a trusted remodeling company for the best results. They’ll help you assess the space and suggest possible solutions. The space where the tub stands will offer sufficient room to build a shower, but it needs a solid surface curb to keep water off the rest of the bathroom. Additionally, you’ll need to consider if you want a shower door installed or if a glass partition is already enough.
- Retrofit plumbing to accommodate the shower. This creates a tub-shower combo, allowing you to keep your existing tub and add only the necessary plumbing for the shower. If you prefer this option, know that you’ll need to open up the wall and make sure your plumbing complies with building codes. Regardless of your choice, a tub-to-shower conversion offers many opportunities to improve your space’s lighting, venting, and other amenities that can make every bathroom visit a convenient and enjoyable experience.
Converting your tub into a shower is complex work, involving precise measurements to ensure that everything is up to code without compromising flow of movement in your bathroom. To detail, the ideal measurements for a tub-to-shower conversion are:
- Width: 6o inches
- Depth: 32 to 34 inches (from tile wall to shower door)
- Ceiling Height: 80 inches
- Shower Stall Floor Area: 30 by 30 inches (not including shower bench)
- Toilet Location: 15 to 18 inches between toilet center and shower door
- Toilet-to-Wall Distance: 21 inches; Recommended – 30 inches
Just don’t forget to check you local building code for the minimum requirements.
Shower Types: Check them out
Which Shower Type is Best For Your Space?
You’ll need to take into account your bathroom’s aesthetic and layout when making this decision. Some of the more popular options include:
- Shower Stall. This all-in-one shower option can be added to an existing tub-sized space for better convenience. Shower stalls also come with built-in shelves and ledges to house your bath essentials.
- Curbed Shower. This shower option is usually tiled, with a curb or ledge along the entrance to keep water inside the shower area.
- Curbless or Barrier-Free Shower. This doesn’t have a lip or a door, which makes it more accessible than other shower options. A barrier-free shower is especially handy for elderly family members because they can safely walk into the space without worrying about getting tripped by raised thresholds. Additionally, it offers a spa-like aesthetic that looks perfect for modern-themed homes.
To Door or Not to Door
When deciding whether your shower should have a door installed or not, ask yourself the following questions: Where will it go? Does it have enough room to swing open? Will it interfere with the vanity?
If you want to save space in your new shower, you can opt for sliding glass door. Because it doesn’t swing, you’re sure that it won’t interfere with the toilet, sink, vanity, or other components in your bathroom. Expansive glass also prevents that closed-in feel, allowing for a more comfortable experience.
When you want something more cost-effective, you can enclose your shower with a curtain in a plastic liner. Aside from the money you’ll save, this option also offers many design possibilities. Shower curtains come in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs, making it easy for you to choose the one which best complements your bath’s overall appearance.
Want a Door-Less Shower?
Keep an open and more spacious feel inside your bath space by choosing not to have a door installed. For this to work, however, you’ll need to consider a few important things. For instance, you should:
- Choose a fixed showerhead to keep water inside the shower area.
- Consider heated floors to help keep the floor dry.
- Select smaller tiles or other slip-resistant materials for flooring.
- Install a half-wall to protect against splashes.
- Go for a corner location for added privacy.
- Put a buffer zone of at least 6 feet on all sides, if you still have space, to prevent flooding.
Now that you know what you want, the only thing left to do is hire a reliable remodeling contractor for the job. As mentioned, tub-to-shower conversion is complicated work, requiring someone with deep experience on bathroom remodeling, plus knowledge on local codes and regulations. With a pro to help you out, you’re sure the project will run safely and smoothly, from start to finish.
Author Bio: Dawn Dewey is Dreamstyle Remodeling’s marketing manager. One of Professional Remodeler magazine’s 40 Under 40 for 2015, she shares her knowledge and experience to help customers find the perfect home improvement solutions for their needs. Check out the company blog for updates from Dawn!
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