What you need to know before converting your tub to a walk-in shower.
Thinking of putting in a walk-in shower? Maybe you want to replace a tub with a walk-in shower, or you want to turn a half bath into a full bath to increase your home value – or to fit the needs of a growing family. There’s a lot to consider. From what fixtures to choose and cost. Benefits of a walk-in versus a tub. Safety features for the elderly or people with limited mobility. Seats and storage options. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about installing a custom walk-in shower.
How much does it cost to put in a walk-in shower anyways?
Putting in a walk-in shower is not as difficult as you’d think, but it does need to be done properly. Unless you’re considering a prefabricated shower kit (mass-produced, usually plastic, fiberglass or acrylic), you’ll want to hire a professional.
According to Home Advisor(1), installing a custom walk-in shower costs anywhere from $1535 – $6819. This price range is for converting a tub+shower combo to a walk-in shower. If installing a shower somewhere in the home that doesn’t already have some plumbing installed, the cost can go up, on average by $1000.
Why such a large price range?
Well, there’s a lot of factors that will impact the cost to convert a tub into a walk-in shower, such as:
- Will you be changing the size or shape of the shower area?
- What material will you be using for the shower walls? Tile? Marble?
- What type of shower pan will you use?
- What fixtures will be installed?
- How many showerheads do you want? Style of showerhead?
- Upgrades for storage, or a built-in seat?
- Condition and location of existing plumbing?
These are just some of the things that will impact the price of your shower conversion. A licensed Handyman or General Contractor will be able to walk you through these decisions, and come up with the best options to work within your budget.
Should I replace my tub with a walk-in shower?
There are many reasons that people decide to replace their tub with a walk-in shower. And some reasons why people decided not to do it.
The most common reason that someone decides not to replace their tub is if it is the only tub in the house and they are concerned about the resale value of their home. This is a valid concern – if you’re thinking of selling your home in the future.
According to Bob Vila(2), the trusted home advice expert, 51% of homebuyers want a home with a tub. Having one full bathroom with a tub is all that’s needed – no tub may be a deal-breaker for some. This is important to keep in mind.
If you have more than one tub, or resale value is not something that’s big on your priorities, there are so many reasons to replace a tub with a walk-in shower. Such as:
Showers can take up less space.
Looking for more room in your bathroom? A single stall shower instead of a large bulky tub can add room for storage space, or simply a more open bathroom
Showers can use less water (if you keep them short).
A full bathtub can average around 40 gallons. According to Badeloft(3) showerheads put out (on average) 2.5 gallons per minute. That means if your shower is shorter than 16 minutes – you’re saving water
Walk-in Showers are easier (and safer) to access than a tub for the elderly or disabled.
For anyone who has a hard time getting around, it is much easier to walk into a shower (and safer) than trying to climb in and out of a tub. You can even roll a wheelchair directly into the shower. Install a few grab bars on the shower walls and you have a safe option for the whole family.
How do I convert my tub into a shower?
There are a few things you need to decide when you’re converting your tub to a walk-in shower. Knowing what you want your shower to look like will help to choose the best Handyman or Contractor to complete the job for you.
Shower Walls and Flooring
There are so many options now for shower floors and walls. Build Direct(4) has a great list of flooring and shower wall options. All come with their own list of pros and cons. The main thing to consider is the look and maintenance. The list below is in order of least to most maintenance needed to keep your shower sparkling clean.
- Cultured Marble or Granite – installed in single slab or large block tiles. No or very little grout to keep clean. Walls can be easily rinsed for quick and simple cleaning.
- Travertine – Commonly installed in large 2’x2’ squares. Easily cleaned and minimal grout.
- Wood “look” Tiles – Like travertine, these are installed in larger blocks, so there’s less grout to keep clean.
- Porcelain Tile/ Mosaic Tile/ Pebble Tile – Varying shapes and sizes, with lots of grout. This type of tile can turn a shower into a work of art, but tiny details require more cleaning and care.
The shower door you select can bring a bathroom look together. From a simple and sleek clear glass to a frosted design, don’t ignore the door when designing your new shower space. Shower Doors range in price from $300 to over $1000+.
The shower faucet is a feature that can make or break the look of your shower and also your shower experience. The part of the shower fixtures that are in the wall – the plumbing component that you cannot see – controls the temperature and water pressure for your shower.
They type of shower fixtures you choose will determine the type of valve installed in your new shower, so it’s very important to communicate with your contractor or licensed Handyman on what type of fixture you will use in your shower. Faucets Reviewed(5) has a great overview on the different types of valves needed for different faucets. A licensed plumber will be familiar with the proper type to install for the fixtures you select.
Common types of Shower Faucets:
- Fixed Shower Head – Mounted to the wall and comes in many varieties, including low flow and rainfall.
- Hand-Held Shower Head – Detachable showerhead, can be taken in-hand to rinse your body. Great for washing pets!
- Faucets with Single Knob Control – Single temperature control for ease in getting the perfect shower temperature
- Faucet with dual levers (one for hot, one for cold) – Control hot and cold water temperatures individually
- Body Sprayer – Jet Like Faucets installed into the wall at varying heights for direct spray onto your body
Handyman Network is your local expert for replacing your Tub with Walk-In Shower
At Handyman Network, we love doing what we do best, and what we do best is guiding you through the process of converting your Tub/Shower into the Walk-in shower you’ve been dreaming of.
Since 2006, we have averaged two bathroom remodels a month, with many of our clients choosing to ditch their tubs for an easily accessible walk-in shower. When you partner with us, we manage your project from start to finish – which takes on average only three to five days. Our team is a well-oiled machine, and we won’t pull off your project until it is done, and you are 100% in love with your new bathroom.
Call us today at (916) 989-7711 for your free estimate or fill out our project form. We can’t wait to get started on your walk-in shower transformation.
(1) Home Advisor: https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/install-a-shower/
(2) Bob Vila: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/tub-vs-shower/
(5) Faucets Reviewed: https://faucetsreviewed.com/types-of-shower-faucets/