A bathroom can often only become modern and functional if you replace your outdated bathtub with a shower. But what is the best way to carry out such a conversion? The first step you can take to transform your shower area is to plan everything well first. So before you start ripping out tiles, bringing home sales items, or searching for the perfect grout color, make sure you measure, plan, and research well. In this article you will find useful tips and ideas that can help you with your bathroom renovation.
Replacing a bathtub with a shower in steps
Showers have a number of advantages over bathtubs and have a higher resale value when the apartment is sold. If you don’t bathe often, the large basin of the tub is completely unnecessary. However, tub to shower conversion can be a difficult project that involves many facets of bathroom remodeling: demolition, plumbing, flooring, drywall, insulation and general carpentry. While the conversion is a complex task, it pays off after the dust settles.
An element called a prefabricated shower set will help with the conversion. This kit is available in stock or to order at most hardware stores and provides you with a shower tray (floor), matching walls and a matching door. Prefabricated showers save a lot of time and smooth the learning curve by eliminating the tricky sub-project of laying tiles on vertical surfaces. However, one downside to prefab kits is that they tend to fetch less resale value than custom, well-tiled showers. But the positive for do-it-yourselfers is that prefabricated showers are quick and easy to create.
Measure the room
If you’re removing a bathtub, you can opt for a shower stall that’s about the same size. The width can vary. This avoids excessive repair work on the walls and floor as the shower tray and walls cover the old footprint. Most tubs are 150cm wide and this is perfect for a spacious shower. Depth is more important here. There should be a distance of at least 85 – 90 cm from the finished tiled wall to the future glass shower wall.
However, if you choose a square shower cubicle, you will have to renovate the floor and walls. The advantage in this case is that your bathroom will gain floor space if you replace your bathtub with a shower. Also note the location of the toilet. A distance of 40 – 45 cm from the center of the toilet to the glass of the new shower door is usually recommended.
Where will you place the door or partition in your new shower so that it doesn’t interfere with the toilet or vanity? Use a large scrap of drywall to lay out the potential shower door swing, then check the drywall’s clearances to the toilet and vanity. In a renovated bathroom, you can also replace a small bathtub with a walk-in and therefore rimless shower. In this case, the path from the sink to the shower cubicle can be too narrow for a swinging shower door, which is why you can opt for such a variant.
Enough space for yourself and assembly
Above all, make sure that you still have enough free space to move around after the conversion. Replacing a bathtub with a shower can make the bathroom seem crowded. So make sure you design the space correctly for your needs. Try to maintain a minimum distance of 40 cm from the center of the toilet to the new shower glass or shower niche. However, if your shower space is getting smaller, you can shorten this measurement slightly. Tip: Hold up a piece of drywall to mimic a pane of glass and sit on a bucket to mimic the position of the toilet. This can help you understand how close you are to the glass and how big you want your shower to be. Stand in the place where you will shower. A shower depth of 80cm is rather small for most people, but might work for you. Here, too, you should not overcrowd the room.
Take your time researching shower faucets. Jig shopping can be really fun. Explore the options and look for special offers and possible combinations. You don’t necessarily have to use the same brand for everything because often devices from two different companies can still look good together. For example, if you are installing a steam shower, you can consider shower fittings that match the design in your bathroom. However, also remember that a steam shower should be built by a person who has several years of experience in this field.
Consider lighting conditions
This is the key to a sparkling shower area. Make sure your shower has the appropriate lighting if there is not enough natural light. Depending on the shower size and design, two or four lights look best. If you’re removing your old tub along with the wall paneling to make room for the new shower, this is the perfect time to check whether you can install your lighting system as planned. Often the frame on the ceiling above a tub can be easily adjusted to accommodate indirect lighting, for example.
Do not tile the surfaces without first having the ready-made light sources. Without a light source, it’s difficult to know whether your walls or floors will look straight. In a shower, the lights are often quite close to the wall, showing every little mistake in tiling. Plan your floor plan early, using the ceiling height as a reference. Drawing the layout on paper helps, and once you’ve completed this, you can use your solid grout lines to align shower niches and other fixtures.
Shopping plan if you replace bathtub with shower
When replacing your old tub with a stylish new shower, the next thing you should do is determine your personal needs and purchase high-quality shower faucets. Before that, however, it is also important to understand the basics of shower control. What are the options? What suits your space and budget best? There are three basic systems for controlling water temperature and volume:
- Simple single levers or buttons that control both water temperature and flow.
- Temperature controllers in combination, which can include two or even three additional devices.
- A separate thermostatic valve, just for temperature and one just for water.
Regardless of which system you choose, the attachment consists of two parts. The screw fitting is the inside of the shower fitting and is usually made of brass. The fitting is connected to the water pipes. The second part is the trim for the tiles. Do it yourself or have your installer make the paneling before determining the depth of the attachment. This way you can see the finished look. Many levers or knobs extend too far into the shower, but you can figure this out in advance by adjusting them.
Choose the right cladding
First select the tiles or cladding you want and test them in your bathroom. Then you can also choose the color and type of your grout accordingly. The topic of tiles quickly comes up in every shower construction. What type of tiles should you choose? Where should you be able to get the model you want? What size is needed and what type of grout should you use? The flow of information can be a little overwhelming, and it’s difficult to accommodate a quick meeting with a potential conservator. So find out in advance. Knowing how to replace your bathtub with a shower, as well as how to properly build, waterproof, and tile will help you ask the right questions when interviewing your contractors.
Natural stone versus porcelain stoneware tiles
This choice is always difficult when it comes to new trends in bathroom design, but most people prefer porcelain stoneware. The shower area is logically the wettest place in the bathroom, and porcelain stoneware tiles are almost insensitive to moisture. However, if you decide to use natural stone, it makes sense to inspect this material for defects and then carry out a test. A simple soak test is the best option in this case. For example, if you plan to use white marble in your shower, purchase it from a supplier that has been using the same source for a few years. Additionally, also make sure you know how long the store has been purchasing stone from this source and whether there have been any problems with previous orders. Buy several pieces and place them in a bucket full of water for two days. Then take the material out and leave it for a few more days. If the stone looks different, the same changes could occur if you use it to replace your bathtub with a shower.
There are a lot of great tiles and natural stones out there, but you should avoid poor quality items. Once you’ve found the perfect tile or building material, you still need to decide on your grout. Should you use cement mortar, sanded or unsanded mortar, and even epoxy for this? There is a lot to consider. Sometimes tilers include grout in their price, but try to learn more about your construction project before choosing a grout. Tiles and grout are hard to come by. Far too many shower deposits can be damaged because the grout is poorly installed. So take a look at some beautiful showers and learn more about how to get the little details right.