Glass doors vs. shower curtain over a whirlpool tub

rhododummyNovember 16, 2009

We are currently remodeling our master bathroom and have installed a new whirlpool bath in it. For the times when we'll use the handheld shower (we have a wall bracket for it), I wanted to have swinging tub doors (which I guess will need to be custom made/installed after tile is on), but our contractor is insisting on a shower curtain or sliding glass doors. He says "swinging doors always come out of the wall".

I like neither - our bathroom is very small and having shower curtains will make it look even smaller. I also don't like the sliding doors: I find the track hard to clean and the opening would be either on the right or on the left, while our roman faucet/showerhead combination is installed in the middle.

Can someone point me to the right decision? Advice form any contractors/DIY-ers would be really useful as I can't qualify how accurate is the reason our contractor gave us. Thanks!

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Handshowers that come with Roman tub faucets are not for use in a shower situation with a drop in tub. They are for cleaning the tub or rinsing shampoo out of the hair of a seated bather. If you wanted a tub/shower unit, you would have needed to have designed the installation as such from the beginning and used a tub that was designed with an integral tile flange and then used a wall mounted tub/shower type of faucet instead of a deck mounted Roman tub faucet. Those tub/shower types of whirlpools are usually designed for alcove installation where a glass door can work with them just fine.

But, since you've already put in what you have, the only way to use safely such a tub as a shower without setting yourself up for a lot of water damage is to do a "ring" shower curtain like you would for the old fashioned claw foot tubs. It's basically a rectangular suspended curtain rod that you use shower curtains with. A glass door of any variety will not work in your situation, as it will not keep the water off of the tub deck and walls, which is the big danger with using a drop in tub in such a situation. The water that splashes on to the walls and deck has no way to drain back into the tub because the lip of the drop in interferes. The water has to go somewhere, and that usually is your floor or into the walls and deck surround. This makes for a nasty moldy rotten mess in a few years.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Thanks for the follow-up. I think I wasn't clear - we *can* install a regular or curved shower curtain rod on the two opposing walls - the tub is surrounded by three walls (so it's an alcove). I just don't think it would work well with how small the bathroom is.

We did ask the retailer/designer about using the handshower on a wall-mounted bracket and nobody seemed to think it wouldn't work. Is there an inherent issue with this? I saw this combination in my trips to Europe, also in combination with folding glass doors. I couldn't find any retailer selling folding glass doors in US - at least not below $2K and with inconspicuous hinges. So I'm thinking about having glass doors custom made - actually, it would probably be two panels and a single swinging door in the middle - like this (, except shorter to go over the tub.

I will try to post a picture of the current status of the project as of now, but until then, I am not sure I understand why glass doors can't work with a 3-wall surround with our tub?... Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 6:32PM
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