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Bath & Faucets

Converting tub to shower ?

Can anyone give me their experience in converting a basic tub-shower to a walk in shower please?  We are in need as my elderly mother will be living with us and I have mobility issues myself.  The bathroom is not overly large, but the bathtub is a normal sized tub.  I believe we can leave the plumbing alone, as it already has the shower head and am hoping we could install a shower pan with a side drain (have read this somewhere).  We are looking for a very basic setup, with or without shower door and maybe built in seat and handicap bar on wall.  My husband is very hesitant to attempt any of the remodel, even though he installed our kitchen cabinets (no plumbing change involved).  I think its because he has no plumbing experience, which I can understand.  But I do believe we could do some of the remodel, such as removing the tub, and installing the shower wall, if we  purchase a kits (?).  Can anyone tell us your experience, what to avoid doing, and even maybe the total cost?  This would be greatly appreciated.  I know there are specialized companies that do this sort of work, but believe we could save $$ by doing part of the work ourselves. Thank you. 

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Posted 2012-06-21T06:13:15+0000  by redrider3 redrider3

HI Redrider,

Shower kits are available; Sterling makes several models that would work fine in your bath room. As far as the demolition is concerned, removing a bath tub is best left to a plumber.


This is not an easy job and the drain will have to be modified to accept the shower pan, so have the plumber install the shower pan as well.

Shower pans with a left or right drain are available. This will minimize the plumbing work needed.

You and your husband can certainly do all of the demolition, moving the drywall and installing cement backer board on the wall. Installation of the shower walls is another job you can perform as well.

While you have the walls opened up, install additional 2 x 4 blocking to accept the hand safety bars when they are installed. Having these additional pieces will make installing the safety bars much easier, and makes them more secure.


It is recommended that you install one bar along the inside wall and one near the entrance to the shower to assist entry and exit of the shower.

This also is a good time to update the plumbing and replace the tub valve with a shower valve, as the tub spout will have to be removed.


Flooring is another consideration, what type do you have in the room now? And can it be saved or will it have to be removed and replaced?

I would seriously consider a shower door. This is a safer environment for an elderly person and gives them more security in the form of a solid structure to grab onto if they begin to lose balance.

A shower door also keeps the water inside the shower, a curtain will allow water to splash onto the floor creating a slip and fall hazard.

Before starting you project, visit your local Home Depot, our kitchen and bath designers can give some additional ideas and show you the shower enclosures and shower doors we sell.

Good Luck with your project!


Posted 2012-06-21T18:17:24+0000  by Mike_HD_OC
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