Tub to Shower Conversion: What to Know Before Remodeling

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Converting your bathtub to a shower can be a practical update for any bathroom. It will make the space larger, will give it a stylish modern look, and will make it accessible to anyone with any mobility-related issues. And an intrepid homeowner, using this guide, can get the conversion job done without a contractor.

How to Convert a Tub Into a Shower

tub to shower conversion

Don’t remove your only tub

The reason for this is that it is much more difficult to sell a house without a tub. Real estate agents always ask for at least one bathtub in the house to preserve its marketability. It’s because many homeowners require a tub for their children.

But, of course, it’s only advisable. It’s your own home, so if you’ve got your mindset on a shower-only home, go ahead and do it.

It’s easiest to do it with a kit

Shower stall kits are really good low cost options. If your old tub is in an alcove, after removing it you will be left with perfect space for a shower stall. You’d just probably need to do some minor modifications. It would also be advantageous if the water supply and drain are also already in place, so you wouldn’t have to pay extra for plumbing costs.

Shower stall kits are available in different designs, made to fit into corners and alcoves. You can choose one made from either acrylic or fiberglass. The kit usually includes pre-made sides, a floor pan, a drain hole, and a glass door. It might also include some extras: shelves or built-in chairs.

You can also consider installing a tile shower, but then expect the costs to jump up quite a bit, depending on the complexity and size.

Don’t build around a window

It’s best to avoid having a window in the shower. The water can seep into the walls through the window casing. And then you’d have to deal with mold. And for this, you might have to tear out your new shower.

Decide between a curbed or curbless shower

If you decide to convert the tub to shower by yourself, it’s recommended to get a shower kit. They’re available in different styles, so you can find one that will fit your bathroom decor. And they’re relatively easy to install without professional help. And when choosing one, decide on a curbed or curbless shower.

A curbed shower comes with a shower pan with low curbs. It forms a complete enclosure and is the easiest for installation but it might make it difficult for those with mobility issues as they will need to step over to enter the shower.

In a curbless shower, the shower pan sits flush with the floor. That gives it better visual appeal and makes it easier to enter for anyone with mobility issues. But, you’ll need to keep in mind, that these kits are usually pricier and do require more work to install.

Determine space required for the shower

It’s easiest to install the new shower if it will be situated right in the space left behind by the tub. This way you won’t have to install any new drain pipes or water supply lines. Otherwise, you will need to hire a plumber.

Some of the basic space requirements for a shower include:

  • 30 inches by 30 inches of floor space
  • at least 80 inches of finished ceiling height
  • minimum of 21 inches of space between the shower wall and the front of the toilet
  • minimum of 15 inches of space between the shower wall and the side of the toilet
  • when installing the door, also account for any space needed for its swing, make sure there’re no obstructions

A few more things to remember

During demolition check the condition of the existing pipes and if necessary replace them.

Check also the shower valve and shower head, maybe it’s time to upgrade it as well.

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