Does a curbless, doorless shower look too modern?

genab55November 20, 2012

I love traditional and old world style but my husband stayed in a hotel with a walk-in shower and loved it. We are now trying to decide if we should do a walk-in shower in our master bath remodel.

My bathroom is not large - about 10x6 - a basic hallway size bath with vanity, toilet, and shower setup.

Can a walk-in shower work in a traditional or old world style? I plan to have a half wall topped in clear glass that does not go to the ceiling...and a floor that moved smoothly into the shower with no curb.

Any thoughts on this anyone?

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Typically these types of showers are done in Europe so I thing that would be perfect for an Old World style, just my .02 cents.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:46AM
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In the traditional "old world", they bathed in tin tubs with hot water brought up by servants. :)

It sounds like it would work well.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The materials can make or break the look more than the construction method. However, do remember that curbless requires extensive re-engineering in an existing bathroom and consequently is a LOT more expensive than having a standard curb that you just step over. If there is a good motivating factor like a progressive disability that will make stepping over a curb difficult or impossible, then it's probably worth doing. If it's a style thing, then the actual benefit may not be worth the cost to you.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 3:45PM
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I aimed for a contemporary look in my recent remodel with a curbless & doorless shower. I converted an existing half bath to a small full bath as part of my aging-in-place plan. The original idea was to have a shower with a curb, but that was changed to curbless during construction. The change order was around $500 to lower the floor and slope it towards the drain.

The bathroom is so small it's hard to get a good picture, but here are a couple showing the shower. From Downstairs Bath From Downstairs Bath

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:49PM
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annkathryn - how big is that shower? It looks like it is less that 36", and I am curious how you passed code. You need quite a bit of space to do a curbless shower. Code requires the drain opening be at least 2" lower than the curb location and the floor must slope a minimum of 1/4" per foot but no more than 1/2" per foot. That means you need at least 4 ft from the shower opening to the drain.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:24PM
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The shower measures 35" x 49". The slope was sufficient to pass inspection, I'm not sure what it was offhand.

A friend of mine has a more traditional look in her shower, built for aging in place with no curb.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Although both baths pictured are attractive, there is no way either of them REALLY passes code, even if they passed "inspection" from a city bureaucrat. They certainly wouldn't pass in any place I've ever designed accessible baths for, and that's in some of the least regulated communities around. There's simply not enough slope. If the drain ever becomes stopped up, it's a disaster waiting to happen, especially with the floor vent right there to easily carry the water down through the ductwork. Not to mention that even though they are "curbless" they are NOT ADA sized. If someone ever needs a wheelchair, neither bath will work for that situation. Designing for that possibility, but still having the bath work for everyone else too is what universal design is all about. It's a lot more than just going curbless.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:31AM
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The slope in my shower is 1/4" per linear foot, sloping towards the drain on 3 sides. The inspector measured everything in this bath and the other two that we remodeled at both the rough-in stage and during the subsequent plumbing inspection.

The intention for this shower wasn't so much to make it wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant as it was to allow for barrier free access and support via grab bars. We put additional blocking in the walls for future use if necessary. We don't plan to actually use the shower for another 20 years or so, or whenever we can no longer negotiate the stairs to the master bedroom, whichever comes first.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 3:10AM
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The slope in my shower is 1/4" per linear foot, sloping towards the drain on 3 sides.

Which means that if you get 3/4" of standing water in the shower (like from a clogged drain) the water will be flowing into the bathroom.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 10:43AM
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Thanks for pointing that out. And happy Thanksgiving!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 4:53PM
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