Replacing Your Bathtub with a Shower – Why and How
Showers vs Tubs.
There are plenty of reasons to favor one over the other.
In 2019, there has been an unexpected shift in trends. People have started favoring the shower over the tub. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should get rid of the bathtub right away, though. In fact, most of the experts would still say that a house without a tub would not sell. A recent Houzz poll proved the claim correct when 58% of the respondents agreed that a home without a tub is not worth buying.
Families with young kids are one of the few demographics who still prefer a bathtub over a shower, but everywhere else the advantages of a walk-in shower are getting harder to ignore.
The easy way of skirting the dilemma is having a walk-in shower in your master bathroom and a tub in the guest/secondary bathroom. On the other hand — if you cannot afford the space to have both a shower and a tub, there are a few things you should consider before making the choice.
Through this article, we will resolve any doubts you have regarding showers, their advantages, the factors that should influence your decision, and how to convert your tub to a shower once you have made the decision.
Why Should You Pick a Shower?
Choosing a shower or a tub will depend a lot on your personal preferences. However, there are always a few factors that are common across the board.
Here are a few advantages of a walk-in shower over a bathtub that you should consider.
- Compared to a tub, a shower increases the resale value of your house to a greater extent.
- Showers are more comfortable for disabled or elderly people, as climbing over the tub apron can be hard for some.
- A typical shower uses 20 gallons of water compared to the 30 gallons used by a standard tub. Hence showers are a more economical and greener solution.
- Showers are also incredibly efficient when it comes to time management.
- When it comes to time spent, a shower is like a utility whereas a bathtub is a luxury. You can have a bathtub and rarely even use it. Showers are a far more pragmatic choice.
- If you live in a market with a majority of young, working couples or single people — a shower will increase the chances of you getting a buyer easily.
Apart from these, there’s also the age-in-place movement which effectively talks about people growing old in their own homes rather than in assisted living facilities. Since the shower is comparatively a more disabled-friendly option than the tub, it fits right in with the movement.
Factors to Consider Before
Before you start the bathroom remodel, you should consider a few things and ask yourself a few questions.
- If you have more than one tubs across bathrooms, do not replace all of them. Convert the master bathroom’s tub into a shower and leave the guest bathroom untouched, thus letting you have the best of both worlds.
- Showers are a great option for cramped bathrooms. Not only does a shower take less space, but it also provides an illusion of extra space in your bathroom. So if you have a cramped bathroom with a tub, go ahead and replace it with a shower.
- Touching on something previously discussed, you should keep a tub in case you are planning to start a family in your house. In any other case, showers are a better choice.
- Building a walk-in shower can be considerably more expensive than installing a simple bathtub. However, it can also increase the resale value by 20%. It is also important to note that about 65% of potential buyers want showers.
- Before finalizing the numbers, check if there is any damage (dry rot, water damage, etc.) around the tub area — especially if the tub is old. Repairs might end up pushing your budget out of control if you don’t factor them in the beginning.
- Make sure that you don’t build your shower around a window. The privacy issues can be handled easily, but water seeping into the window frame can damage the wall and the frame severely.
Types of Walk-In Showers
A tub to shower conversion is definitely not an easy undertaking, and shouldn’t be done without expert supervision. A conversion such as this combines various aspects of bathroom remodeling including but not limited to plumbing, drywall fixing, demolition, etc.
- Shower Kits are one of the cheapest options available out there. They are not customizable but fit into most of the spaces previously occupied by a bathtub. They come with a sliding glass door, panels, floor pan, drain hole, and even built-in shelves in case you need them.
- Tiled Shower Curbs focus primarily on the curb that marks the boundary between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. A tiled shower needs a curb to hold the water inside the shower and also hold the door. They also need to be polished with round edges to reduce the risk of injury.
- Curbless Showers simply do away with the curb discussed above, and hence are more user-friendly for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Steps to Replace Your Tub With a Shower
We would advise looking for professional help while installing a shower. However, if you believe you have the right tools (both literally and figuratively) for a DIY project, here is how you can go about it.
Step 1: Pick a style
If you’re tackling this as a DIY project, chances are you won’t be going for tile or stone showers which are built up from scratch and can take months to finish. The logical approach is using a shower kit.
Within the world of shower kits, you will have plenty of options. But the biggest choice you will face is between a curbed and a curbless shower kit.
Apart from the pros and cons mentioned above, it is important to know that curbless showers are generally pricier and take longer to install.
Step 2: Determine the measurements and placement
Following are the minimum measurements you should aim to achieve with a shower:
- Height to ceiling – 80 inches
- Distance between the shower wall and side of the toilet – 15 inches
- Distance between the shower wall and front of the toilet – 21 inches
- Area – 30×30 squared inches
Last, but not least, the best-case scenario is adding the shower where the tub used to sit. That way you won’t have to adjust the plumbing too much.
Step 3: Remove the tub
It shouldn’t be too hard to remove a regular tub, but the heavier ones might need a little muscle behind them. Take care of the faucets and other paraphernalia before you mess with the tub.
Once the tub has been removed, make sure that there is no rot or other damage on the floor or surrounding walls. If there is damage, consult a professional and resolve the issues before adding the shower.
Step 4: Install the shower
Installing the shower kit would be an exercise in following written instructions to the letter.
Install the shower base first and repair the walls left open after removing the tub.
For a curbless walk-in shower, the pan needs to sit at level with the rest of the bathroom floor. You might have to lower the floor of the shower area if that’s not the case.
Choosing a shower over a tub in terms of utility is a no brainer. Showers save water, provide a broader use, are elderly & disabled friendly, and bump up the resale value on your home considerably.
The most idealistic scenario is obviously having both a shower and a tub. If you absolutely have to choose between the two, showers are a more practical choice. Once you have decided you want the renovation, plan it out well and make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
And at the end of it all, enjoy your brand new shower!