How To Remodel A Tub Into A Shower

So you’re considering remodeling your tub into a shower stall? Hold your horses now. Before you embark on this home improvement adventure on your own, there are some important flies in the ointment you should think hard on first.

As you will see below, a bathtub remodel is not as simple as yanking out one thing and inserting another in its place. There are factors such as construction and sizing to consider, as well as cosmetic features to be decided on. And if you don’t have a good grasp on all of these things before you begin the project, you may find yourself getting stuck part way through.

Tub to Shower Remodel

1. Bathtub Size Vs Shower Stall Size

You might think it’s easy to just swap out your tub for a shower stall, but think again!

First, you have to measure your bathroom space and decide how big you want your shower stall to be. This is no small thing, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. You need to take accurate measurements with construction grade measuring tape, down to the last 1/16th of an inch. And don’t forget that this space is 3 dimensional! That means you need to measure height, width, and depth.

Next, you have to find a shower stall that fits those exact measurements. Now, you may think you have a little wiggle room with depth, but that’s when you remember: there is more to your bathroom than just the tub! If the stall sticks out further than the tub does now, will it run into the base of your toilet or the bottom of a cabinet? Don’t just eyeball the dimensions or brush it off as a bridge to cross later. You may find the bridge is impassable, or else end up with an extremely tight bathroom at the end.

2. Removing The Bathtub

The home design shows make ripping out a bathtub look so easy. But it’s really not that simple.

Every tub and every bathroom is different. Even so, you’ll most likely have to remove flooring, not to mention disconnect and remove all the plumbing and fixtures, loosen caulking and joints, and get some friends to help you lift the whole thing out. Because guess what? It’s going to be heavy.

Once it’s out, though, you’re not done. You’ll probably have to repair the floor, and you’ll also want to pry off the backsplash that rests above and on either side of the tub. That involves a lot of chipping and scraping and trying to loosen grout. It’s a big job just to get the tub out of the space, much less replace it with something new.

3. Installing Cosmetic Features And Fixtures

PIcking out cosmetic features and fixtures, like tile and showerheads, is the fun part. Installing them is not.

When it comes to putting up tile, just be prepared for a lot of messy, frustrating work. Messy because of the grout and grout dust, and frustrating because it’s really, really hard to get your tiles straight when you don’t know what you’re doing. And if you decide you don’t like the color or you picked a cheap tile that breaks easily because you don’t know the difference between cheap and good quality, well… you’re up a creek with no paddle (and no shower, either).

Fixtures such as shower heads and water controls are something else to worry about. You may have to open up the walls to dig back into the plumbing. That means extra construction work, as well, because you’ll have to repair the hole you made with new drywall. The floor will also need to be fitted with a new drain. That’s even more work, even more of a chance that things will go wrong.

But the internal components are not all you should think about when it comes to new fixtures. What about the size of the shower head? How wide is the spray? Will it hit the sides of the stall and possibly spill out onto the floor? You may not even have thought that would be an issue, but you’ll regret buying that waterfall-style shower head if it floods your bathroom.

walk-in shower renovation

4. Accessibility

Tubs are not the easiest to get into, but at least you can sit down in them easily enough. And while you’re in it, you have the tall side to support you.

How accessible and safe will your shower stall be in comparison? If you or someone in your household, like an elderly parent or a disabed spouse, needs to sit while they bathe, you may need to include a bench or a chair in the stall. Or maybe you need something to hold onto to keep you steady while you bend over to clean yourself. Did you remember to install a handle?

Once again, we have another step in the long process of the bathtub remodel that requires careful consideration. You don’t want to replace your tub with a shower, only to realize you didn’t install any accessibility features for yourself or your loved ones. This is not a mistake you want to make and have to correct later, possibly after an accident has already occurred.

Ditch The DIY And Hire A Contractor For Your Bathtub Remodel

Remodeling your tub into a shower by yourself is a long, hard challenge that you probably don’t have time for. You also don’t have the money for it if you have to go back and correct amateur mistakes. For your own physical and mental wellbeing, then, it’s best to ditch the DIY and hire a contractor.

A professional, licensed Greenville, SC contractor like Surface Bella will handle your entire bathtub remodel from start to finish. Every step of the way, Surface Bella will be there to listen to your wants and needs, make suggestions, and implement a comprehensive plan to install a shower in place of your tub, all with your approval. We’ll handle everything, from measurements to construction to cosmetics and making sure the water’s running smoothly at the end.

Take the easy route, and contact us today to discuss your tub remodel!

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