How to Convert Bathtub to Walk In Shower
Are you considering a bathroom renovation? Have you thought about converting bathtub to walk in shower? This renovation trend has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. Walk-in showers offer a range of benefits and advantages that traditional bathtubs cannot match. In this article, we'll explore these benefits in detail and explain why a walk-in shower might be the perfect addition to your bathroom. From convenience and spaciousness to accessibility and aesthetics, we'll cover it all. So, join the growing number of homeowners who are opting for this practical transformation and elevate both the safety and allure of your bathroom.
How to Replace Bathtub with Walk in Shower in 7 Steps
Now that you have a solid plan and budget established, it's time to embark on your tub-to-shower remodel. Allocate approximately two to three days for the completion of this project.
1. Prepare Your Tools
Before beginning the process of removing your bathtub, it's crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary materials on hand to successfully complete the job. Here's a list of essential tools you should gather before getting to work:
- Plywood for effectively protecting the floor during the remodeling process.
- A tape measure to accurately take measurements and ensure precise cuts.
- Flat head and Phillips screwdrivers for removing any screws or fasteners.
- A wrench and/or Allen wrench for loosening and disconnecting plumbing fixtures.
- Putty knife and utility knife for various scraping and cutting tasks.
- A drywall saw and reciprocating saw for cutting through the drywall and tiles if needed.
- A prybar to assist with removing any stubborn fixtures or materials.
- A jigsaw for making precise cuts on materials like plywood or tiles.
- A level to guarantee the proper alignment and positioning of new fixtures.
- Caulk and a caulking gun for sealing joints and ensuring moisture protection.
- A 10-yard dumpster for convenient disposal of debris and waste materials.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and eye protection, to prioritize safety during the process.
2. Determine Spacing and Placement
When installing your walk-in shower in the space previously occupied by the bathtub, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. By utilizing the existing drain lines and water supply, the installation process becomes more straightforward. However, relocating plumbing can significantly increase cost of converting bathtub to walk-in shower, requiring the expertise of a professional plumber. Before proceeding, make sure to use a tape measure to ensure proper spacing and adherence to the following guidelines:
- Allow for a minimum floor space of 30 inches by 30 inches.
- Ensure a minimum height of 80 inches for comfortable use.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 15 inches between the side of the toilet and the shower stall.
- Alternatively, have at least 22 inches of space between the front of the toilet and the shower stall.
- Provide ample door-width space around the shower area if you plan to install a swinging door.
Plumbing work should always be entrusted to a professional. While many homeowners can handle the removal of a bathtub after shutting off the water supply, replacing the tub with a shower may impact the plumbing system and necessitate modifications such as changes in pipe size. One must consider the worst-case scenario, which involves a leak leading to damage in the floor below.
3. Choose Your Walk-In Shower Design
When undertaking a bathtub to shower conversion, shower kits can be an appealing option. They are relatively easy for DIYers to install and are available in various styles. You have the flexibility to choose a tile pattern that suits your preference, and there are different designs available, such as square corner, round corner, and alcove shower setups.
When selecting a shower stall kit, an important decision you'll need to make is whether to opt for different designs. Keep reading and See which design you would prefer.
As you contemplate a shower that aligns with your style and budget, it's crucial to consider the level of maintenance you're willing to undertake. Tile systems may entail higher costs and more labor-intensive installation, but they offer numerous options for achieving an elegant aesthetic. In contrast, for projects like home-flipping, an acrylic or fiberglass shower surround kit can be a more budget-friendly, albeit generic, choice. Falling within the middle of the budget spectrum is a stylish, durable, and cost-effective option: a shower wall panel made of laminate or solid surface stone.
4. Take Out Tiles and Wall Sections
Before proceeding with the conversion of your tub to a shower, it's essential to properly prepare the area by removing some of the tile and drywall surrounding the bathtub. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth bathtub removal process:
- Protect the floor by laying plywood to prevent any damage to the tiles.
- Shut off the water supply to the bathroom by turning the main water shut-off valve in your home.
- Remove the drain cover, overflow drain cover, and faucet knobs by unscrewing them. Use an Allen wrench to loosen any screws holding the faucet in place.
- Disconnect the main and overflow drains, either from the access panel behind the tub or from the basement. Turn the locking nuts counterclockwise using a wrench.
- Remove the tiles around the tub by scoring the grout with a utility knife and then prying the tiles off with a putty knife. Remove tiles to a height of approximately 8 inches.
- If the wall is made of drywall, carefully cut through it using a drywall saw, taking care not to cut into any studs. For plaster walls, utilize a reciprocating saw for this step.
If you intend to tile your shower, it is crucial to use the appropriate grout. Unsanded grout should not be used in the shower as it may cause water to seep through if the grout joint breaks down. Additionally, ensure that the backer system you use is water-resistant. Investing a little extra to ensure proper waterproofing during the remodeling process can save you significant time and money in the long run.
5. Take Out Your Bathtub
Follow these five simple steps to remove your bathtub and prepare for a walk-in shower:
- Remove any screws or nails attaching the tub to the wall studs.
- Cut through the caulk between the tub and floor using a utility knife.
- Use a prybar to gently pull the tub a few inches away from the wall.
- With the help of a friend, tilt one end of the tub upright to ensure it can fit through any doors or narrow spaces.
- Dispose of the old tub in a rented dumpster and repair any drywall that was removed during the process.
After removing the tub, you may need to repair any damage to the subfloor or concrete backing board. Subfloor damage is typically caused by excess moisture and should be addressed to prevent future problems.
6. Install Your Walk-In Shower
When replacing your tub with a shower, it is important to carefully follow these steps. If you are using a shower stall kit, make sure to read and follow the instructions closely. If you plan to convert to a curbless walk-in shower, it will be necessary to lower the shower floor so that it is level with the rest of the bathroom floor.
If your bathroom has a slab subfloor, it is recommended that you hire a concrete contractor to complete the job quickly and within your budget.
If your subfloor is not a slab, you will need to obtain a permit from your city's building department to cut down the tops of the floor joists beneath the shower pan until it is level. Use your level to ensure that the shower pan is properly aligned. Failure to do so may result in leaks.
To guarantee proper alignment and waterproofing, always install your tub/shower base before installing any tile or wall panels.
7. Clean Up After Your Tub to Walk in Shower Remodel
After successfully converting bathtub to a walk-in shower, it's important to focus on feeling accomplished rather than stressed about the cleanup process. To facilitate a smooth cleanup, we highly recommend renting a dumpster. This will enable you to efficiently dispose of your old tub, broken tiles, and drywall as you progress with your project.
Benefits of a Walk-In Shower
Upgrade your bathroom by converting your old bathtub into a modern walk-in shower. This popular renovation project can improve accessibility, safety, and convenience. Let's consider the benefits of a walk-in shower.
- Easy to Clean. Cleaning a walk-in shower is a breeze compared to traditional shower enclosures. The flat surfaces and minimal corners make it easier to remove dirt and grime. With fewer nooks and crannies to tackle, cleaning the glass walls and tiled floors is quicker and more straightforward. Let's be honest, cleaning the bathroom is not the most enjoyable task. That's why a walk-in shower is a game-changer. Unlike traditional shower enclosures, there are fewer hidden spots that require scrubbing. The smooth and nonporous surfaces can be easily wiped down, leaving them looking brand new. Say goodbye to troublesome shower doors and curtains that attract mold and look dull over time. With a walk-in shower, you can enjoy a cleaner and more hygienic bathing experience without the hassle of maintaining dingy enclosures.
- Versatile. Installing a walk-in shower is a great choice for any bathroom size. It can be customized to fit your available space, whether it's small or has an unconventional shape. You won't encounter any difficulties when setting up this type of shower, ensuring a perfect fit for your unique bathroom layout.
- Greater Accessibility. Walk-in showers offer enhanced accessibility compared to bathtubs or shower enclosures, making them an ideal solution for individuals with mobility challenges. They eliminate the need to step over high ledges or navigate steep thresholds, reducing the risk of tripping and providing easier entry into the shower. The concept of "aging in place" is gaining popularity, with 87% of adults aged 65+ expressing a desire to remain in their current homes, according to AARP. Ensuring that bathrooms are updated for aging and accessibility is crucial for safety and comfort. The National Institute on Aging reports that one in three seniors experiences a fall at home each year, with 80% of these falls occurring in the bathroom. The zero-threshold design of walk-in showers makes bathing accessible for people with varying levels of mobility, and it brings added convenience for those using wheelchairs by eliminating concerns about door width or entrance limitations. Additionally, incorporating accessibility features in your bathroom can increase its appeal to a wide range of buyers, thereby boosting the value of your home.
- Minimalist Contemporary Design. The beauty of a walk-in shower lies in its simplicity. Unlike traditional options, walk-in showers have fewer moving parts, as they typically don't have doors or shower curtains. With their sleek glass walls and frameless design, they seamlessly blend into your bathroom, becoming a transparent feature that doesn't distract from your overall decor. By eliminating doors and curtains, walk-in showers offer a modern and minimalist appearance. The focus remains on your bathroom's aesthetic, allowing its true beauty to shine through. The clean lines and open layout contribute to a spacious and inviting atmosphere.
- More Space. A walk-in shower gives the impression of a spacious area, despite its ability to fit in small bathrooms. Without a shower door, the shower is openly visible, allowing it to contribute to the overall size of the bathroom, making it seem larger.
Bathtub to Walk In Shower Design Considerations
Here are a few of our favorite shower designs that combine style, functionality, and a touch of luxury.
1. Use Natural Light
This expansive and doorless walk-in shower, situated along the far wall of a long and slender bathroom, incorporates a glass panel that shields the nearby toilet from splashes. This clever design choice maintains the transparent and open ambiance of the layout while allowing ample natural light to stream in through the generous window.
2. Try a Side Drain
In this modern and pristine white bathroom showcased by customer, a doorless walk-in shower is tailored for the long and narrow space with a side drain. Complementing the plumbing hardware of the adjacent soaking tub, a striking large rain shower head in shiny brass adds a touch of elegance.
3. Use Multiple Spray-Heads
Experience a shower from every angle with the captivating walk-through design. The enduring charm of classic marble tiles lends a timeless appeal to this bathroom masterpiece, while the inclusion of glass walls on all sides, except the exterior side wall, ensures a bright and airy showering experience
4. Infuse a Touch of Contemporary Flair
Elevate your bathroom to contemporary elegance with this captivating design. Featuring generous glass panels framed with sleek black metal, mirroring the style of the expansive windows, this arrangement introduces an industrial touch. The transparency of these panels maintains the airy feel of the space, allowing unobstructed views to the outside world. Experience the perfect blend of modern aesthetics and industrial charm in this stunning contemporary bathroom.
5. Embrace the Elegance of Glass Shower Tiles
Enhance the luminosity of this lavish bathroom by incorporating reflective glass shower tiles into the doorless walk-in shower. Not only will these tiles exude an extra dose of radiance, but they will also contribute to the opulent ambiance. It is important to note, however, that the maintenance of shiny glass tiles entails additional effort. Regular polishing is necessary to uphold their gleaming appearance and prevent the formation of water spots and mineral deposits. Embrace the sparkling allure of reflective glass tiles with awareness of the diligent care they require for long-lasting brilliance.
Bathtub to Walk In Shower Conversion Cost Considerations
How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Bathtub Into a Shower?
The average cost of bathtub conversion to walk in shower for homeowners is approximately $3,000. Prices may vary between $1,200 to over $8,000, depending on the quality of materials and desired features. By undertaking the labor yourself as a DIY project, you can save $1,000 or more.
Compared to the expense of installing a completely new walk-in shower, this remains a relatively affordable option. On average, the installation cost of a walk-in shower is around $6,700. However, it can reach up to $14,000 if you opt for high-end features and require plumbing adjustments.
If you opt for a shower kit, anticipate costs ranging from $1,000 to $8,000. Alternatively, if you plan to tile your walk-in shower extensively, the converting bathtub to walk-in shower cost will fall within the range of $3,500 to $15,000. Whichever design you decide on, opting for a DIY approach can save you approximately $1,000.
Hiring professionals vs. DIY
When considering whether to hire professionals or tackle the project of converting a bathtub to a walk-in shower as a DIY project, there are several things to keep in mind.
A DIY approach may seem more cost-effective, but it's important to consider the risks and challenges involved. The process of replacing bathtub with walk in shower can be complicated, requiring skills in plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work. Any mistakes or oversights during the process can lead to costly repairs and safety hazards.
In addition, a DIY approach may not always save as much money as expected. The cost of tools, materials, and permits can add up quickly, and mistakes can lead to additional expenses.
On the other hand, hiring professionals can offer several advantages. Professional contractors have experience and expertise in the field, ensuring quality workmanship and proper installation. They can also provide warranty coverage and ensure that the project meets all safety and building codes.
However, there are also some potential drawbacks to hiring professionals. It can be more expensive than doing the project yourself, and scheduling and coordination can be challenging.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to hire professionals or do it yourself depends on a homeowner's budget, skills, and preferences. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and to consult with professionals before making a decision.
If you do choose to tackle the project yourself, be sure to research thoroughly, acquire the necessary permits, and follow all safety guidelines. Consider consulting with professionals for guidance and advice as needed.
Converting bathtub to walk-in shower can provide many benefits, including improved accessibility, safety, and convenience. Understanding the conversion process, design considerations, and cost factors can help homeowners make informed decisions about their project. Whether you choose to hire professionals or take on the project yourself, be sure to prioritize functionality, durability, and aesthetics in your design. With the right planning and implementation, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional walk-in shower for years to come.
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