Changing built in tub to stand alone tub

bahaccaJuly 22, 2013

My current bathroom has a built in tub that has a step up into it as well as a shower next to it that also has the step. I'm thinking for a remodel of getting rid of the step and making the floor level with the rest of the bathroom and doing a shower and stand alone tub. Is there a reason this wouldn't be possible? Our bathroom is on the 2nd story so my DH said that we may not be able to do this because of clearance for piping, etc, but I told him there HAD to be room under there as that is where the tub itself is sunken. Has anyone else done anything similar? Were there any issues with this?

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What is the relationship of the floor of the tub to the floor of the room? If it's higher, there's probably an issue. If not, probably not, unless the platform is hiding other plumbing.

Also, be aware that there are lovely stand-alone tubs with pedestal bases, which would raise the tub if necessary.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:46PM
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"It depends."

The catch-all answer, eh? But it does.

It's a case where you may need to open up some of the structure and do a little exploratory investigation.

The rough plumbing for your existing drain lines (traps and pitched drain lines) may very well already be contained within the depth of the floor's joists bays, and the added elevation of the tub/shower was simply for design. That would be a good thing.

If for whatever reason your traps and drain lines could not be placed in the joist bays and that is why the entire system is elevated, that could be an issue.

Unless this is a first floor (it's not) or on a slab (it's not) you should be able to accommodate your proposed changes.

Without doing any demolition, about the only thing I can offer is to go downstairs in the room underneath your bathroom. Check out that ceiling. If you have a stud finder, try to map out the joist pattern in the first floor ceiling. They will be the same as the floor joists in the bathroom floor under the tub and shower.

If you find a pattern or regularly sized and spaced joists, with the edges roughly 1-1/2" wide and with the joists spaced 16" or 19+" on-center, all should be well. If wood I-joists were used in teh framing, their flanges might be wider than the standard 1-1/2" width of the edge of a joist. If you find something substantially wider, say 4-1/2" or 6" wide, there may be a beam buried in there.

And as a remote guess, also look for air conditioning or heating registers. Perhaps there is a duct installed in one of the framing bays. That's a wild card though.

It's very common for tubs to be elevated on a platform pedestal, it can be for nothing more than design, or it can be for improved sight lines out a window when sitting in the tub. But it's not common to elevate a complete shower.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Thanks so much. The floor of the tub is level with the existing rest of the floor, so I'm thinking we'll be fine. We had our home repiped a couple years back, but I don't recall drains being redone, just the water lines themselves and I know those were run up the side of the house from the first story and up into the second story.
Thank you for mentioning the ac and heating registers. While not those, I think I have now figured that a tiled in area behind the tub that I HATE is actually housing the duct work for our hood in the kitchen:-/ I've been told it is hollow, but seeing where the output for the hood is on the outside of my house, I'm pretty convinced that is at least VERY NEAR that added "hump". If I cannot eliminate that, that mean a space I thought was useable of 8 square feet is gone:-( Good thing is at least I'm doing all of this research BEFORE designing. OYE!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 5:33PM
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