Tips for a Tub to Shower Conversion
If you’re ready to remodel your bathroom, great! The quality and functionality of bathroom fixtures and accessories on the market today has never been better, so it’s a great time to realize your vision of an ideal bathroom to suit your needs. If you’ve got a rarely-used tub you want to convert into a shower, read on for some helpful tips along the way.
Don’t Convert Your Only Tub
If you’ve got one tub in the house, even if you never use it at all, don’t get rid of it! Most potential home buyers see having at least one tub as a make-or-break deal, so they’ll have to weigh the purchase of your house against the immediate necessity of installing a tub. A lot of buyers have small children, so no tub is a no-go for them.
Of course, if you’re unlikely to sell your home any time soon and you’ve got your heart set on converting the tub to a shower (or otherwise eliminating a tub), go for it! That’s why many of us buy houses: to make them our own.
Kits are a Good Low-Cost Option
If you’re converting an alcove tub, removing it will leave you with a space about 30–34 inches deep and about five feet wide. Your new shower can fit into this space utilizing a Kohler shower base of the proper size and Kohler’s high-quality LuxStone shower walls. You’ll need a little modification to your plumbing (assuming it’s in good shape) but the whole replacement can take as little as one or two days, performed by Home Forever Baths’ expert installers.
Think twice about acrylic or fiberglass kits from other retailers. They may cost a little less, but they are not nearly as durable and will likely need to be replaced long before a Kohler kit.
Another advantage to the Kohler kit is that it is still much less expensive than a rebuild involving tile or granite, while exceeding tile in durability. Contact Home Forever Baths for a free consultation and we can discuss your options and provide estimates.
If your tub is under a window, you should seriously consider removing the window when converting to a shower. Windows unfortunately create a lot of opportunities for water to get around the casing and into the walls, where it aids in mold growth and eventually rot. That’s a lot of potential damage that could lead to needing to tear out your new shower before too long.
Most building codes require at least 30”x30” for shower stalls, though the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) recommends bumping it up to 36”x36”. Because the depth of alcove tubs usually tops out at about 34”, you might want to consider adding wall extensions (if necessary) to your remodel to create more shower space.
Standard recommendations for space concerns in a shower remodel include:
- At least 80” of ceiling height.
- At least 15” between the side of the toilet and the shower wall, measured from the center of the toilet. 18” preferred.
- At least 21” between the front of the toilet and the wall, measured from the front of the toilet bowl. 30” preferred.
- Any swinging shower door should have no obstruction between the shower and the wall. Sliding doors or curtains can be a solution.
To Curb or Not to Curb
The two main types of shower pans are curbed and curbless. Curbed designs rely on a curb to retain water in the shower area, where curbless designs require that the floor be sloped significantly enough to direct all the shower water toward the drain without allowing it to flow out, though a quick foot movement can easily kick water out into the main floor of the bathroom.
A curbless design requires either a depression in the floor of the shower area or a raising of the floor around it, which might mean you end up with a curb between your bathroom and the next room over. If you’re considering a curbless design, it might be a good idea to wait until the old bathtub is out so you can see what will be required to make it happen before committing to it.
Home Forever Baths is an authorized dealer of Kohler bath products with more than a lifetime of combined experience in installation. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the best way to make your new bathroom dreams come true!