You’ve probably heard that an upgrade can bring you some of the highest returns on your bathroom remodeling investment. From a modern, whisper-quiet bath fan to better lighting and efficient storage, the simplest of improvements can help you reap significant rewards. Another great way to add value is by replacing an existing tub with a walk-in shower.
The Benefits of a Walk-in Shower
Walk-in showers have become a sign of a modern bathroom and for good reason. They offer a lot of benefits. For starters, they:
- Create a real or illusionary feeling of more space. Tubs just naturally make a room feel smaller and more cramped. A walk-in shower, on the other hand, adds a beautiful design element to the room. And you can increase the open look by using glass on the side walls as well as the front.
- Are easier to clean as they have fewer corners and crevices where soap scum can build up.
- Can be the ideal universal design solution for someone in a wheelchair or with a disability that makes it difficult to get in and out of the tub.
- Are durable and built to withstand wear and tear for years. They’re also made up of fewer parts that a regular shower or tub which makes maintenance and repairs easier.
Whether it’s because your family simply prefers showers to baths or there’s someone who needs easier access, taking out an existing tub to replace it with a walk-in shower is one bathroom remodeling project that quickly pays off in comfort and enjoyment.
One thing to keep in mind: when you replace the tub with a shower, you’ll have to move the plumbing around a little bit, but it’s not a big deal and shouldn’t be the reason for not doing the work.
Before you Begin
If your family seldom uses the tub, it may be time to consider turning it into a large shower that is easier to access, looks great, and lasts a lifetime. Though many real estate pros suggest homeowners keep at least one tub in the house, that doesn’t mean you must. The goal is to create a space that works for the way your family lives today. Here are some questions to consider.
- Will the shower need to be relocated? It’s often the case, particularly in older homes, that a tub is installed under a window, which we don’t suggest you keep in a shower. Since it’s not usually a good idea to eliminate a window, it’s best to relocate the shower. It does involve changing pipes in the wall and under the floor, and the drainage will also need to be moved. It’s not difficult to do, but keep in mind that the closer you can stay to the existing water supply and drain lines, the lower your associated costs will be.
- Is there enough room for a new shower? Most municipal codes call for minimum dimensions of 30 x 30 inches, but many people prefer those recommended by the National Kitchen and Bath Association: 36×36 inches. If you go larger, the existing tub alcove will likely need some modification, such as adding a short section of wall, but that can be worked beautifully into the design. Other important dimensions include a minimum finished ceiling height of 80 inches, a minimum 15 inches from the center of the toilet to the wall, and 21 inches from the front of the toilet to the shower wall.
As this picture shows, you don’t always need a shower door, but if you install one, be sure to factor in the swing. The door should easily clear the sink, cabinetry, and toilet.
There are hundreds of ideas for your new walk-in shower. From stone mosaic tiles to built-in niches, shower benches, and spa-like fixtures, our designers will happily help you decide which solutions meet your family’s requirements, look great in your bathroom, and fit your budget!
A new walk-in shower can add years of enjoyment to your family’s life. When making the change, remember it can be worth investing a little extra now to get your dream shower rather than one that is merely functional. If you’re ready to talk about a bathroom remodeling project for your Greater St. Louis area home, or want to learn more about the ins and outs of converting a tub to a walk-in shower, drop us a line today. We look forward to meeting with you!