Converting from bathtub to shower?
This brings up a couple scenarios actually. Are you wanting to convert your tub only to a tub shower, are you wanting to eliminate your bathtub and install a stall shower only?
Converting your bathtub to a tub shower
Let’s discuss that first. If you have just a bathtub with no shower head what will it take to convert this to a combination bathtub and shower? Usually it will involve removing the tub surround, typically a low height tile surround, that is designed to protect the surrounding walls from tub splash while bathing. Then with the plumbing wall opened up you have full access to change the valve system from a tub only to a tub shower valve. This allows the installation of an anti scald/pressure balanced valve system, shower head feed line, and shower head. Then it’s just a matter of rebuilding the surround to at least a typical 60″ high surround of your choice.
Converting your bathtub to a shower stall
For this we have more options and decisions to be considered. This involves complete removal of your surround, valve system, and bathtub. Most often this is desirable in aging in place scenarios. Stepping in and out of the shower can become more difficult for the elderly as well as dangerous. If this is the driving force behind wanting this done be sure to also include grab bars for extra security getting in and out of the shower. Preplanning locations and easy framing additions you will get very solid mounted grab bars.
You have a number of choices in choosing your new shower stall materials. There are molded shower pans designed as retrofit for bathtubs. These are available in 30″ and 32″ depths to more easily fit the existing bathtub footprint. The drain is located to the left or to the right just as bathtubs are designed. This allows for minimal plumbing changes in the drain system, it eliminates the need for a center drain found in standard shower pans which could also require floor framing changes to allow the proper drain inclines and location. Retrofit shower pans more often keep from having to make other bathroom fixture relocations in smaller bathrooms, due to codes for clearances like keeping the center of a toilet 15″ minimum from other fixtures. This can often even mean being able to do a tub to shower conversion without disturbing the rest of your bathroom, allowing you to keep the overall costs down focusing on your shower conversion on it’s own.
If you are completely remodeling your bathroom while converting to a shower, it may make more sense to take the extra steps of relocations if need be, or maybe you have a large enough bathroom and the existing layout has clearances that wouldn’t be an issue to allow a larger shower stall to be installed. Typically a standard center drain shower pan will be at least 34″ deep. This allows you a bit of extra elbow room inside your shower. Of course there’s always the option of installing a tile shower base where you can determine your own depth dimension and gain whatever extra elbow room you desire, within the constraints of the rest of your bathroom layout of course. Going to a standard center drain shower stall you do open up more possibilities. You’ll have the most choices to fit a variety of budgets. You can think about cost effective Sterling Vikrell shower units in a variety of choices including some seated models, using smooth panel materials like cultured marble or solid surface products, on up to a complete custom tile shower of your own design.
With the different options comes a variety of costs. Obviously converting your tub only to a tub shower can usually be done for the least cost. Converting from a bathtub to a retrofit left or right drain shower base will cost a bit more but considering how often it can be done without disturbing the rest of your bathroom it can still be a great budget fitting conversion. If you decide that you really want the extra depth of a more standard shower stall size, more needs to be taken into consideration on cost. It doesn’t automatically mean a great deal more, but be sure to have a qualified remodeler assess your existing bathroom that will take into consideration things like fixture clearances, more involved drain changes, and possibility of framing changes that need to be done in a manner that will not harm the structural integrity of your home. Cost at that point will vary on what changes need to be done, and just how custom of a shower stall you want.
For your tub to shower conversion contact Don Sheppard Construction. We’ll review your current layout and type of shower stall you desire, and necessary changes that need to be made depending on the options of your choice.