4 steps for a tub to shower conversion

4 steps for a tub to shower conversion

As we get older, lifestyle and health changes often present challenges that make it difficult to stay in and enjoy our homes. One improvement currently gaining momentum is removing a tub that is rarely used and replacing it with a shower, allowing for a more convenient and safe showering environment. 

Simple changes or even a complete overhaul can bring renewed enjoyment of old spaces. Updated products and fixtures can enhance the livability of your home and accommodate occupants in all stages of life. Our four-step guide will help you consider if a tub-shower conversion is right for your home. 

1. Plan.

In the excitement of getting started with your bathroom remodel, it can be easy to get carried away in the accessories, colors and fixtures. It’s important to start with the fundamentals – the planning stage. 

Now is the time to measure, plan and research. Think about if you’d like to keep the toilet in the same location or if you’ll need to move it out a bit to allow for a shower door swing. 

Most tubs are 60 inches wide, which is a good size for a shower. For shower depth, you should aim for about 34-36 inches from the tile wall to the future shower door. Try to keep 15 inches of room from the center of the toilet to the shower glass to avoid feeling crowded. 

2. Select your shower fixtures.

There are hundreds of shower fixtures to choose from. Knowing what you want ahead of time can make the decision process easier. You’ll want to think about: 

  • Single-handle versus double-handle faucet options.
  • Incorporating a hand-held fixture in the shower.
  • Material and finish: Chrome, stainless steel, nickel, brass or bronze.
  • Warranty of the fixtures.

3. Tile and grout or wall panels.

When it comes to selection, there are a variety of manufacturers and price ranges. Whatever your choice, you’ll want to make sure the materials are installed properly. 

Larger tile is easy to clean but it can be slippery. If you’re thinking of putting larger tile in the floor of your shower, bring a sample home and test it out. This will give you a sense of how slippery it really is. 

Shower pan tile should be one or two square inches for good traction. Larger tiles can be used, but be careful. It can be slippery and should always be non-glazed or non-polished stone. 

4. Waterproofing and drainage.

Properly sealing the shower floor from water leaks will help protect your home from problems associated with water leaks, like wood rot, drywall damage and mold. Hot mops are prepared onsite and are the best way to waterproof the shower pan. 

A standard drain may not be sufficient to stand the test of time. To ensure your shower remodel lasts for many years, select a high quality and durable drain.

Take the time to plan ahead and break down the remodel process into steps. This will help you to feel less overwhelmed when it comes to decision-making during your remodel project. Additionally, remember to hire a reputable contractor who is licensed for their trade, bonded and insured.

About this Angie’s List Expert: Natalie Keithly represents Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, founded in 1960. Specializing in heating and air conditioning services in San Diego, as well as multiple other services, Ideal earned the 2012 Angie's List Super Service Award. You can follow this #ALExpert on Twitter @IdealSanDiego.

As of October 3, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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