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6 Tips for Bathtub to Walk-In Shower Conversions

A renovated walk-in shower with tan brushed tile and granite bench.

Modern bathrooms offer unparalleled luxury compared to the functional, minimalistic bathrooms in older homes. One of the most frequent requests we get during a bathroom remodeling project is to convert the existing bathtub or tub/shower combo into a walk-in shower.

As one of the room’s most critical features, a shower’s placement, size, and style are some of the considerations that can greatly impact the budget and results of your bathroom remodel. For instance, you can save significant time and money by positioning it to maximize square footage and make use of existing plumbing.

Given its significance in your bathroom renovation, it’s important to prioritize your new shower’s design and features, ensuring it serves as a practical yet luxurious centerpiece that you can enjoy for years to come. Meridian Construction has six tips to guide you through essential considerations to ensure your new walk-in shower enhances the looks of your bathroom and your daily routines.

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1. Ensure You Have Another Bathtub in the House

Many people love an occasional soak in the tub but often don’t have the time for it. This raises the question — does a house really need a bathtub if no one uses it?

Home appraisers often put a higher value, anywhere from 5% to 20% more, on bathrooms with a tub and shower. Bathtubs also make it easier to bathe kids and pets, making them a necessity for young families. Stylish soaking bathtubs can also add luxury and visual appeal when upgrading your primary bathroom.

However, bathtubs require more space, taking up 50% more than a corner shower. Getting in and out of a tub also risks serious falls, particularly for older adults. They can also harbor more bacteria, so they need to be cleaned more often.

It’s long been said that at least one bathtub is needed for the best return when selling your home, and it’s true. That’s why, even if you don’t use a tub, it’s often suggested you have one. If you don’t foresee selling your home, or if you don’t want a bathtub, think about where you or a future owner might be able to easily install one in the future.

2. Ensure There’s Enough Space for Your Shower

To ensure you have enough room, assess the entire bathroom and then determine the new shower’s footprint by:

  • Measuring the length and width of the space where the shower will go. Measure from wall to wall where the shower enclosure will be placed.
  • Add in the thickness of the shower walls, tiles, or additional materials.
  • If your shower includes a hinged door, check that there’s enough room for it to swing out.

Precise measuring before you choose the shower design and size facilitates a smoother remodeling process and helps you envision your perfect shower.

3. Consider the Shower Design

Shower design is central to a bathroom remodel, reflecting current trends and personal style:

  • Conventional walk-in showers include a showerhead, faucet, and simple wall-mounted fixture for temperature and pressure adjustments.
  • Enclosed walk-in showers typically feature glass doors or panels. They’re highly customizable in terms of doors, hardware, size, and shape.
  • Wet room walk-in showers typically include a free-standing tub and shower space that’s divided from the rest of the bathroom by a glass door. 
  • Barrier-free showers, also known as curbless showers, don’t have a traditional door, partition, or curtain. They’re also larger than other types of walk-in showers and are the most accessible option.

A crucial technical aspect to remember about a shower is its floor slope, which ensures adequate water drainage. Standard sloping is 1/4-inch per shower floor foot toward the drain.

4. Customize the Look of Your Shower With Tile

Customizing your shower with tile offers design versatility and allows for a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. Tiles now come in a variety of materials, colors, shapes, and patterns, meaning you can personalize your walk-in shower to reflect your style.

Keep in mind that when converting a bathtub to a walk-in shower, the old tile will need to be removed because it only goes as far down as the tub. New tiles must be installed in the new shower for a cohesive look.

5. Consider the Shower Door Type & Position

Enchanting rustic master bathroom with dark-tiled shower, rich wooden vanities, and stone accent wall

Depending on whether you prefer a sliding or hinged shower door, you must factor in its type and position to avoid blocking or hitting fixtures like towel racks. Choose a door that doesn’t hinder people’s ability to move about the room or reach essential amenities.

You’ll also need to determine whether you want a framed, semi-frameless, or frameless shower door. This will affect the look of your shower, the price, and how prone your shower is to leak.

6. Maximize Usability With Shower Features

Incorporating ledges, shelving, and detachable showerheads enhances organization, provides convenient access to bath essentials, and tailors the showering experience to individual preference.

Integrating universal design or aging-in-place features like grab bars and shower seating also helps you prepare for future needs, making the walk-in shower more accessible and safer.

Schedule a Bathroom Remodeling Consultation

Are you ready to move forward with a bathroom remodel? Meridian Construction’s in-house team and design/build process ensures results that add style, value, and function to your home.

We’ll help you design your dream bathroom complete with other features, like a double sink vanity, built-in storage, heated floors, recessed lighting, and more.

We’ll use computer-aided design to show you what your space will look like once it’s complete, and we’ll maintain transparent communication throughout the remodel.

Browse through our award-winning design projects to get inspiration for your bathroom remodel, and call 215-720-1863 to schedule an in-home consultation in Montgomery or Bucks County, PA.

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