How to Replace a Bathtub With a Shower
Views: 270 Author: China SUP Glass Hardware Publish Time: 07/25/2022 Origin: https://www.supglasshardware.com
How to Replace a Bathtub With a Shower
Replacing a bathtub with a shower is at the top of many homeowners’ remodeling lists—and for good reason. A shower takes up less space in the bathroom, allowing more space for other features. While a bathtub was once viewed as an essential feature of a full-featured bathroom, today’s real estate market often places greater value on a walk-in shower, which offers both quick convenience for younger adults and easier use for aging individuals.
Replacing a tub with a walk-in shower is an especially popular project for the age-in-place movement, which stresses barrier-free living. Most bathtub aprons are at least 30 inches high, so replacing the tub with a more accessible walk-in shower is extremely popular for older homeowners.
Before You Begin
Replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower is a major project that demands skills that not all homeowners possess. If a full-scale removal-and-replacement project is beyond your DIY comfort level, you can consider two alternatives.
Adding a Showerhead to an Existing Tub
Although it’s still a fairly advanced project, you can add a showerhead to an existing bathtub alcove rather than fully removing the bathtub. The process usually involves demolition of the “wet wall” where the plumbing is located in order to replace the plumbing array. With this wall exposed down to the studs, the old faucet valve is removed and replaced with a new unit that includes a shower riser and spray head mounted at showerhead height. Then, the wet wall is tiled over again (or covered with a new surround panel).
With the addition of a shower door or a shower curtain, the bathtub now can function as both a bathtub and a shower pan, making for a more versatile fixture. This project is considerably less time-consuming than a full removal of the tub, but it still requires good plumbing skills, as well as some basic carpentry and perhaps tile-setting skills.
However, because the tub apron remains in place, this configuration can still be difficult to use for people with limited mobility. This is not a good option if aging-in-place is the goal.
Adding a Handheld Shower
An even simpler way to add a functional shower to a bathtub is by replacing the bathtub spout with a special diverter spout that attaches to a handheld shower—a flexible hose and spray head that can be mounted by brackets to the wall at showerhead height. This approach is appropriate only where the wall is already waterproof, such as in a tub alcove with ceramic tile or with fiberglass or acrylic surround panels. Attach the new spout and wall brackets, then add a shower curtain or door, and your bathtub now includes a perfectly functional—if somewhat informal—shower.
This can be an excellent solution for apartment dwellers who are unable to perform the major renovation work required to replace a bathtub.
When to Call a Professional
Make no mistake—replacing a bathtub with a shower pushes the limits of what a do-it-yourselfer can easily accomplish. The project touches on just about all the elements that go into any major bathroom remodeling project, calling on a complete range of demolition, carpentry, plumbing, and finishing skills, as well as experience with a wide range of hand and power tools. If you don’t feel comfortable with any of these skills, you’re well-advised to consider hiring a pro for the job. And hiring a contractor is certainly recommended if you only have one bathroom, as this remodeling project can potentially render your bathroom unusable for several days. A project that takes a DIYer a week may take a professional team only a day or two.
If you do intend to hire a professional, make sure they’re licensed, get at least three estimates for the job, and check references to make sure you hire a qualified expert.
But one element can make the project a bit easier for DIYers: a prefabricated shower kit. Available in stock or by custom order at most home centers, a shower kit provides you with an acrylic shower pan, matching integral wall panels, and a shower door. Prefabricated (or prefab) shower kits save considerable time and eliminate a lot of tiling work normally required for a custom shower stall.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
· Cordless drill
· Reciprocating saw
· Eye and hearing protection
· Oscillating multi-tool
· Shop vacuum
· Basic plumbing tools
· Caulk gun
· Construction adhesive (if needed)
· Prefabricated shower kit
· Shower faucet set
· PEX or copper pipe and related fittings
· Silicone tub-and-tile caulk
· Screws or nails (as needed)
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