Can You Convert A Bathtub to A Walk-In Shower?
When making the design choices in your home, you likely thought a bathtub would serve its purpose by giving you a space to sneak away for some downtime. Alternatively, maybe you bought your home with this feature already installed, so you didn’t get much of a say in the matter. While bathtubs can be nice if they are big and lush, the average bathtub isn’t used nearly as much as you’d think it is. A solution--convert it into a walk-in shower. The luxuries of having a walk-in shower can provide you with many benefits. Unlike ordinary showers or shower/bathtub combinations, a walk-in is surrounded by 3 walls and contains no door or a simple glass door. This is an instant way to modernize your home while providing yourself with an enjoyable showering experience.
What Are the Benefits?
● More Space: Unlike having a bathtub, having a walk-in shower means that you will be free to move around more. Having this space is nice for when you are in the shower, but it can also look nice for the bathroom exterior. A walk-in shower tends to open up your bathroom and allow it to feel more spacious, overall.
● Easy to Clean: Since a walk-in shower normally only contains tile walls and a simple door, cleaning is very easy. If you have ever been bent over and scrubbing your bathtub due to soap scum, you can forget about having to do this with a walk-in shower. Since there are fewer crevices, the shower will automatically stay cleaner.
● Wheelchair Accessible: If you have someone in your home who is handicapped, a walk-in shower provides easier access to hygiene. Since there is a wider opening, a standard wheelchair can easily roll into the shower without the dangers of trying to get the individual into the bathtub. It also provides them with more of an independent showering experience.
● Very Durable: Walk-in showers are known for being tough and durable. In fact, they are known to last for several years. Since they have fewer parts than a bathtub, there are fewer chances that things will break. With less hardware and more durable materials, you won’t have to worry about repairs as frequently.
● Fewer Clogs: There is nothing worse than having a clogged bathtub drain. Not only is it an inconvenience, but it takes a long time to unclog it and snake the curvature of the drain. If you decide to convert to a walk-in, there won’t be any sitting water, meaning there will be fewer clogs. All of the water will instantly drain, therefore allowing for less debris to get trapped.
Can it Be Done?
Something to consider before making your final decision is if this bathtub that you want to convert is your only bathtub in the house. While any home renovation is possible, think long and hard before deciding to get rid of what is potentially your only bathtub. If you decide to go through with it or have another bathtub that you intend on keeping, you can purchase a kit. Shower stall kits are great options if you intend on making this a DIY project. As long as your tub is an alcove, you have a space that is around 30-34 inches deep with 5 feet of space to work with. These kits are meant to fit in old bathtub alcoves fairly easily. Of course, hiring a professional is also an option. This will get you a custom walk-in, and it will also cost you more money.
If you have a window above your bathtub, it is highly recommended that you do not build your walk-in shower around it. There are too many opportunities for water to seep through your walls, causing problems. There are also obvious privacy concerns. You need to choose the right size for your current space. It wouldn’t make sense to buy a car that doesn’t fit in your garage, so use the same logic with your walk-in. A contractor can help you measure the area and show you what your options are. When considering the flooring, you have two basic options--curbed or uncurbed. If you have a curbed floor, this provides a raised lip to keep any overflow inside of the shower. Going uncurbed can put you in a potential situation where you will have leaks or overflow.
Is it Expensive?
While the pricing can vary due to your location, the type of shower you choose, and how hard it is going to be to get rid of your bathtub, there are some estimates of how much you can expect to pay. If you decide to go with an acrylic walk-in, the average cost is around $6,000-$7,000. An onyx shower will put you at a slightly higher price point, totaling about $7,000-$8,5000. For something that is completely customized, you can expect to pay upwards of $8,500.
Since it is a fairly costly project, you are going to need to settle on your design choices before you hire a contractor or purchase a kit. The design that you choose is going to have a major impact on the price that you will pay. Many homeowners have to save up for several months or years before completing a project like this. There is one thing that they all have in common, though--they all believe that having a walk-in shower is worth it.