Enlarge or move shower?

hilltop_gwFebruary 19, 2013

We need a bigger shower in our master bath and have two options: The first option is to enlarge the current shower by extending it out into the room about 2' and possibly borrow 6" from the coat closet to make the shower a little bigger. It could be either rectangle shape or possibly have an angle door. If we do that, we'll either replace the tile around the existing jacuzzi tub or remove the tub entirely and replace it with storage of some type (possibly decorative dresser). In 15 years the jacuzzi has probably been used less than a dozen times.

Our other option is to remove the jacuzzi and put the shower there and turn the existing shower into a storage closet. The window (on the exterior wall of the jacuzzi) is glass block so we could probably just work around it. My concern with this is having a much more exposed shower and the glass door. We're in an area with hard water and getting hubby to squeegee it might be a challenge. Also, would that large of a shower seem too open and cold? I want to keep as much light from the glass block window as possible.

Any preferences, other floor plan options or suggestions? The floor plan is drawn pretty close to scale. We're not going for fancy, more for function.

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If it was mine and I had another tub in the house I would turn the tub into a shower. With hard water, don't choose natural stone (at least not marble). Too hard to clean and I squeegee every day.

I wouldn't make the new shower wall all glass either. CLR does clean it but it gets pretty yucky pretty quickly. My counter butts up to the shower wall so I needed to do a half wall and I'm glad I did and you will still get the light from your window with a half wall. Pic below

With a door, the shower isn't too cool once the water heats up.

Our house is very short of closets so I have to mention this. If you need more room in the closet in the hall, I would use some of the old shower space to expand that closet and put a shallow shelf inside the bathroom (deep enough to hold towels or whatever you need it for).

Here is a link that might be useful: shower with half wall

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Either one would work nicely, IMO. I will point out that if you use the current shower location, borrow 6-12" from the closet and extend out into the bathroom even with the 1/2 bath wall/end of the tub, you could probably go door-less and have a ~5' tall pony wall on the toilet side. That would eliminate any glass in the shower, allow the space to feel more open from both the shower side and the toilet side and give you a very nice size shower with plenty of room to maneuver. Best case scenario would be to put the shower head on the side wall nearest the toilet before the wall height decreases to the pony wall height. Here's a photo of what I'm suggesting:

If you go with removing the tub, you may be able to get away with installing a tiled wall/pony wall with glass on top from the wall shared by the sink all the way down to deadend at the shower entry and leave it door-less. Depends on how long the tub area is as you don't want splash out--I'm guessing the shower water access would be on the double vanity sink wall.

As far as squeegeeing, buy one and then hang it on a suction cup hook conveniently placed in the shower so DH can't not see it & be reminded. Have a discussion as you're picking out finishes about how nice this new shower is going to look and how you'd really like to keep it looking nice if you're going to spend all this money on it. Bring up that since hard water spots are an issue, suggest an agreement that the last one to shower in the morning/evening squeegees before getting out (assuming you shower in quick succession -- if one of you showers at 6 and the other after 7, then each will need to squeegee separately). If that doesn't work, or DH agrees now and reneges later, let him scrub the shower once or twice and I bet he'll change his tune on the squeegeeing. It's really not a big deal and takes less than a minute to do (our shower is 4'x7') and will greatly cut down on cleaning time, mold/mildew growth and hard water stains.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Thanks for the replies. You've both confirmed some of my thoughts and given me food for thought. I really like the pics you both posted.

Just to clarify, if we convert the tub to a shower, the shower head will be on the interior wall (butting up to the powder room) as that's where the current plumbing is all situated. The tub end by the vanity has the block glass window.

So if we go that route would I be better off with a hinged door (hinge on the wall on the right) or a slider? I really don't want to clean slider tracks either. The cleaning issue is what makes me like the plan posted by mydreamhome.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:25PM
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If you go with replacing the tub with a shower, a hinged door somewhere along the long wall is your best bet. I agree on not wanting to clean tracks--yuck!. Do keep in mind that depending on how far away from the powder room wall you can put the door, you will likely have to step through the shower spray immediately upon entering the shower if it's already running.This may or may not make a difference to you--it does to me & I would not like it. If the water is not already running, and you turn it on when you're in the shower, there will be some mighty cold water coming at you until it warms up. just some food for thought. With the other option (using the space where the shower currently resides and enlarging it) you likely won't have to worry about that.

Some other things to consider--How long do you plan to stay in this house? How old are you? Depending on those answers, you may want to opt for a larger shower door opening to allow better maneuverability as you age (i.e. walker, etc). In any case, I'd want at least a 30" if not a 36" or greater shower entry if at all possible.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:04AM
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Either location will work, and the sizes will be fairly similar.

The tub would give you a roughly 48" by 72" shower. The plumbing is already in place. The only possible negative could be the window. You are in zone5, so cold winters - but glass block, depending on it's thickness, can be a bit more insulative than a dual-pane window. Realize that a closed off shower with a window may be a little colder than the remainder of the bathroom on winter mornings.

Once the shower is running, it'll warm the space within a few minutes. But it is something to at least consider. FWIW, I'm not against windows in showers, and I usually discount the complaints about larger open showers being colder. Your shower will be enclosed, so the overnight winter "cold soaking" aspect of it is worthy of consideration.

Just have the shower controls located so you can open the shower door and turn on the shower without having to step into the shower.

Using the existing shower location you'll have to shift the closet walls, but it will give you a roughly 48" by 60" shower. Still spacious. As you wrote, a neo-type entry would give better access to the toilet. Or you can square the shower and shorten the wall between the toilet and the bathroom door. Or eliminate that wall completely. Or even eliminate that wall and and rotate the toilet 90-degrees counter-clockwise. But that's more construction and you'd have to have a "toilet use versus door swing" talk with your spouse.

A last thought and this probably makes zero sense based on the floorplan you posted, but I've seen some pretty weird things in my day so I'll toss it out anyway:

Do you need a guest shower? You could meld your existing shower with the half-bath adjacent to it:
-You could put your master shower where your tub is.
-Leave your existing shower foorprint "as is", but build a wall where the current entry is to close the shower off from your master bath. Add a storage closet in front of that wall for master bath storage.
- In the public powder room, open up that wall to get access to your current master shower. That would turn the existing half-bath into a 3/4 bath.

So going back to your original question, the question of taking over the tub space or enlarging your existing shower?

Both locations will give you an adequately-sized shower. Having the shower where the tub is now would likely give you a more attractive bathroom, with the shower being a focal point when you enter the bathroom. I understand that style is not particularly important to you. There is a chance however that a fully enclosed shower in the tub location could give you a cold-soaked shower space in wintertime due to the window.

If angst over your hard water, the fear of spotted glass, and maintaining what natural light you now have are most important, then I'd recommend enlarging the existing shower.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:35AM
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