The Basics of Tub to Shower Conversion
More and more people are now looking into the idea of implementing a tub to shower conversion. Perhaps the main reason behind this is the fact that it allows somebody with limited mobility the ability to bathe easily, after all, climbing into a tub isn’t the safest experience for them. In addition to this, many people are looking into a tub to shower conversion as showers generally save a lot more money when it comes to water bills, and of course they are much more convenient. Whatever your reason though, the conversion process is exactly the same. This is a job that can certainly be undertaken by somebody that has at least a bit of experience when it comes to DIY around the home. I am going to walk you through the process from start to finish.
The first thing that you are going to need to do is whip out that measuring tape and start to measure your old bathtub. Whilst they generally measure 60 inches by 30 inches, there could be some variations which is why it is always best to measure. You need to bear in mind that you will be adding an additional board to the shower, and thus you will want to add one inch to the final measurement for the length and ½ inch for the width. You will need to decide now whether this is going to be the final size of your shower or not as it will have a strong effect on the rest of your project, particularly when it comes to the installation of plumbing.
Removing Your Bathtub
The next step is to remove your old bathtub. You will be taking the tiles that surround it, and some of the old plumbing away at the same time. In some cases you may need to remove a part of the floor of the bathroom to assist you when it comes to removing the bath tub. You will need a friend to assist you with this as bathtubs can be incredibly heavy!
The next step is to remove any of the old material which surrounds the bathtub, particularly any damaged tiles. You should then give the area a good clean as the next stage will involve adding plumbing to the tub to shower conversion.
You have two options here. The most popular is to install just a showerhead for use in your new shower. For this you will need to remove the old valve from your bathtub and the tub spout. This will need to be replaced with a single-function shower valve. Some people instead of having a fixed showerhead have a hand shower, this is much easier to attach as it won’t require replacement of the old valve. However, you will need to maintain two water outlets, and this can be a lot of hassle for many people.
Installing Shower Floor Pan & Drain
The next step is installation of the shower floor pan and drain. Since we are carrying out a tub to shower conversion this is incredibly simple, providing you haven’t made any ‘size changes’ to your shower. There are plenty of shower pans which have been built expressly for this purpose and fit directly over the old drain hole, and that helps remove the need for any additional plumbing. Of course, if you need to add a new drain hole it may be worth calling in a plumber to assist you as this is not a project recommended for somebody inexperienced. Ideally you would want to choose a fiberglass pan as this will be pitched already towards the drainage hole. If you use a copper pan then you will need to build up the floor behind it gradually in order to increase the pitch and allow the water to drain correctly.
Installing the Backer of the Shower
Once the pan has been installed correctly you can start to finish up your tub to shower conversion. The first thing you will need to do is install the backer of the shower. This is a board which attaches to the studs within the bathroom and helps to protect the wall. It is generally cut down to size, so make sure you have those measurements that you had before! It will need to be cut in the places where your shower valve and head are located, although this shouldn’t be too difficult with ad rill or jigsaw.
Tiling The Shower
Once the backer is in place you can start to tile the shower. Start by tiling the floor of the tile if you wish, although some people are perfectly happy if they have a fiberglass pan as generally these won’t need additional tiling. If you are going to be adding handrails to the shower then you will want to do this before you start to tile the walls of the shower.
After this, you can start to tile the walls of the shower. There are plenty of guides out there on how to do this in the most effective way. Ensure that everything is sealed correctly as it is going to get very wet within that shower! Finally add your final pieces of plumbing; this includes your valve cover and the shower head.
Whilst for the most part this is a simple project, sometimes it may be worth calling in a specialist to carry out the tub to shower conversion for you, particularly if it is going to involve a lot of complex plumbing. This is a job which would take a day at the most with a professional, so you can be sure that you are going to be enjoying your brand new shower sooner rather than later!
Tub to Shower Conversion Conclusion
Hopefully this article on a tub to shower conversion has been of some use to you. As you can see, as long as you don’t need to change too much plumbing around, it is going to be a dreadfully simple task. One final point is to ensure that you understand every single stage before you engage in your tub to shower conversion, this is going to help minimize the chance that something is going to go wrong whilst you carry out the conversion.