Converting a bathtub to a shower is a stylish move for any home. The decision also becomes practical if the tub is being unused for some time already. Not only walk-in shower allows for a more comprehensive and modern feel, but it also makes the bathroom more accessible for people with mobility issues.
For homeowners who dream of a sophisticated shower, especially those who don’t know how to execute a DIY bathtub conversion – here’s a simple five-step guide to replace an old tub with a shower.
First Things First
Here are a few important considerations:
- The new shower design must be practical for your family’s lifestyle needs – a bathtub may be more efficient if you have kids (or planning to).
- Consider the layout of any other bathrooms in your home – most of the home buyers look for at least one bathtub in the house; thus, worth nothing if you plan to sell your home in the future.
- The shower style and fixtures must not only match your taste but must fit your budget as well.
- Allot budgets for associated costs, such as the shower kit itself and the materials and tools necessary for installation.
- Plan how you’re going to clean up and if you’re going to hire professionals along the way.
- Plywood for floor protection
- Wrench or Allen wrench
- Putty knife and utility knife
- Drywall saw or reciprocating saw
Perhaps you may want to consider renting a 10-yard dumpster to get rid of the old tub, drywall, tile, and any other project debris – most cities won’t accept these items for curbside pickup. Usually, ports that allow bathtubs and renovation waster require a month or year for collection day; thus, leaving an eyesore to your lawn or driveway.
1 – Determine Spacing and Placement
Ideally, it’s best to install the new shower in the space left behind by your bathtub – the drain lines and water supply are already be in place. Once you move the plumbing, it will require additional costs to the project. Plus, you’ll need to hire a plumber to do the work properly.
Required spacing for a Walk-In Shower:
- At least 30 inches by 30 inches of floor space
- At least 80 inches in height
- At least 15 inches between the side of the toilet and the shower wall
- Or at least 21 inches between the front of the bathroom and the shower wall
- Door-width space in the radius around the shower, if you plan to install a swinging door
2 – Decide on Walk-In Shower Design
Using shower stall kits is an appealing option for those who decide to take on the DIY route.
Kits are simple to install. Plus, they come in a range of styles, such as a square corner, round corner, and alcove showers. Not to mention, some options can be tiled to match the rest of your bathroom.
Also, it’s necessary to decide whether to go curbed or curbless.
3 – Remove Tiles and Wall Sections
Before replacing the tub with a walk-in shower, remove some of the tile and drywall around the bathtub to tear it free.
To prepare the area for your bathtub removal, you must:
- Cover the floor with plywood – prevents tile damage.
- Turn off the water to the bathroom at the main water shut-off valve.
- Unscrew the drain cover, overflow drain cover, and faucet knobs. Pull the faucet from the tub – use Allen wrench to loosen any screws.
- Disconnect the main and overflow drain from the access panel behind the tub, or the basement – use a wrench to turn the locking nuts counterclockwise.
- Remove the tile around the tub around 8 inches in height by scoring the grout with a utility knife, then prying the tiles off with a putty knife.
- Cut through the drywall with a drywall saw – be careful not to cut into any studs. If the wall is plaster, use a reciprocating saw for this step.
4 – Remove the Bathtub
Here are five simple steps to remove the bathtub and make room for your new shower.
- Eliminate any nails or screws attaching the tub to wall studs.
- Cut through any caulk between the tub and the floor – use a utility knife.
- Pry the tub a few inches away from the wall – use a prybar.
- Use the pry bar to pry up one end of the tub and maneuver it upright – work with a helper. Plus, make sure it will fit through the doors this way first. As an alternative, cut through the middle of the tub with a jigsaw to separate it into two pieces – pry each piece up and maneuver them until the tub can slide out of its space.
- Toss the old tub into your rented dumpster, then repair the drywall you cut away.
Once the tub is removed, the concrete backing board and subfloor underneath will be exposed; hence, it’s the perfect time to asses and fixes if there’s any damage. Typically, subfloor damage is brought by overexposure to moisture. Therefore, if the subfloor needs replacement, you’ll save a lot of time and stress by addressing the issue now.
5 – Install Your Walk-In Shower
Follow the specific instructions for your shower stall kit. For a curbless walk-in shower conversion, lower the floor of the shower area; hence, the shower pan will sit flush with the rest of the bathroom floor.
When the subfloor isn’t slab, get a permit from your city’s building department to cut down the tops of the floor joists beneath the shower pan until it sits level.
In case the bathroom has a slab subfloor, hire a contractor for this step. Luckily, this is a quick job that shouldn’t break your budget.
If you are looking for a bathroom remodeling service provider in Brea, California – DURACARE Baths is here to help! We offer the best prices and services – call us today on (800) 791-2538, and we’ll make sure to help you make your bathroom renovation a success!