replace tub with whoweer

billie1928December 3, 2013

Our master bath has a fiberglass built in tub with shower.I would like to replace this with just a shower. The unit is over 30 years old. My husband and I are both in our 80's and a shower at this time in our life I feel is much safer. My question is will we be able to to have a shower in the same space that the tub now occupies? Thanks for any input. We don't want a walk in tub/shower combination.

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I have just had a Kohler cast iron shower pan put in a 5' space. They come in 4' lengths as well. The width of mine is 3' but I think there is one that is 32". Kohler also has many other shower pan options that are made of acrylic or fiberglass. There are cultured marble products too that can be made any size. Do you have a plumbing supply shop near by to look at options and get help?

In my shower I will have a grab bar vertically positioned at the entry way for in and out stability. Then the long wall I will have a horizontal bar the length of that wall at about 42". I think a shower chair will fit in my set up easily. The broad based kind that wont tip. I will have to get a glass shower door, because the threshold is so low I don't think a shower curtain would work. I plan to get a sliding type shower door so I wont have swinging doors in the way as my room is modest sized.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:28PM
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We have a neighbor who is a contactor. I haven't talked with him about this. I'm hoping he will be able to come up with a solution. I think the biggest hurdle will be getting the old unit out without without some major remolding. I am hoping for a shower that will fill the same space as the tub/shower does now. This will have to be a custom built shower, I want to have a glass shower door.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:27PM
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How large is your tub? There are some different sizes of large shower stalls; seems like one of them could be used to replace your tub without *too* much work.

Have you seen the thread about the shower doors versus shower curtains? Unless you've really made up your mind about having a door, you might want to read that thread (I'm a shower curtain girl myself!).

You are very wise to swap the tub for a shower. Showers are so much safer, but many people aren't willing to make that change. Good for you! And - do check out the grab rail and shower seat options. Many of them are very attractive and also very useful at the same time.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:57PM
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I was going to post a picture of the tub/shower unit, but couldn't find a good picture online and I'm not the greatest with a camera. I downloaded a video online showing the procedure involved in removing the present unit and it involves a lot of work, The unit we now have was put in during the construction of our home and to take it out involves cutting the unit into at least two pieces to get it out...grrrr!
We do have a step-in shower in another bathroom and seeing what all is involved in removing the present unit; I'm not sure I want to go through the mess that would be involved in this project. I will get advice from our contractor friend. Has anyone had anything done like this?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:24PM
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You aren't going to be doing the removal are you? If you want this done, the remodelers can do it. Taking out a fiberglass unit isn't a big deal. My 22 year old son and I did it this spring. We just pried and cut and pulled. We put up plastic to keep the dust from the rest of the house. We demo'd the whole room while we were at it :)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:41PM
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No, we would not do it ourselves. Why did you remove your unit? just curious. Maybe I will have to rethink getting this done after reading your last post.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Our 70's style tub with surround that was fiberglass was separating at the corners from the tub to the upper walls. At one time they were caulked but that was gone. So water was getting behind the unit. When we took it out there was some moisture getting into the wall but the studs did not need removal. It was on an outside wall. So I re-insulated and had the area drywalls. I designed the shower pan to go into the new alcove I had designed, and the carpenter built.

Old layout 5x8':

New layout 10x8':

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Billie, We did exactly what you describe in our last house but hired a contractor to remove our shower/tub unit and replace it with a shower pictured here. In the new house we just built we have the same amount of space but ditched the corner seat. I also went with a hinged door where the previous shower just had rigid glass about 1/2 across. I thought that would be easier for getting in and out but it allowed water to splash out occasionally. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:25AM
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This is the new shower (same amount of space) with the hinged door which I like so much better. The teak bench is much warmer than the tiled seat!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:34AM
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We just had a 5' tub and tile surround removed and a shower built in the same space. We didn't do the physical labor, but it wasn't really difficult work. The only thing unusual in our case is that with a concrete floor (industrial loft building), we had to place the drain above the existing floor and build it up -- in order to have the drain/floor not be too high, we opted to use a lower-profile linear drain. The waterproofing, backer board and drain are now in and the tiling is in progress. We expect to put in a hinged shower door, but will use a curtain temporarily.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Since you will be hiring someone to demo and rebuild a new shower, cutting the old fibreglass unit into two is NOT a big deal. Really, it's a job that requires just a few minutes, my husband and I did it ourselves. There are lots of shower units available specifically designed to replace old tub units. We bought one from Costco with sliding glass doors for a very reasonable price. We didn't use the shower pan it came with, as we wanted a wider 36" shower base. But, if you have a Costco in your town, I'd look there if your contractor is willing to buy it and pick it up from there, you could save quite a bit.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 1:27PM
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(Sorry to hijack your post, Billie, but maybe you'd like to know this too...:>)

I see you have a teak shower bench, I've bought one for our shower (still not finished). I have been wondering how to maintain it. I don't want it going grey like my teak outdoor furniture.

And, secondly, do you have a post showing your complete BR, I would love to see more pics.

Thanks, Rae

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Hi Rae, Since I have a lot of grey going on in there, I want mine to turn. In fact, I kept it outside for weeks when we got it and watered it with the hose.
I have not posted any pictures of the completed room but will figure out how to post multiples and add some later.
Thanks for the interest!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Darn, the only person so far with a teak stool...! LOL Anyhow, it looks like you have the same floor tile as shower wall tile. We do too, would like to see a pic (if you have one) showing the floor leading up to shower, still not certain how I'm going to line up floor tiles with shower...or whether or not to turn them 90 degrees.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Here is a basic Sterling Shower that would easily fit in the same space as your shower/tub. You would not have to move your drain.

Your contractor will have to make sure that the framing is very straight, plumb, etc. This shower is installed directly on the wooden framing. You need to decide where you want your handicap bars and your contractor needs to brace the framing to support them. He also needs to build the framing out to meet the backside of the shower wall directly behind where the bars will be screwed in so that the screws can dig into the framing. Or he can buy grab bars specifically made for fiberglass showers.

With my father, we installed grab bars on all 3 sides of the shower. We also found that he needed a vertical grab bar right outside the shower for him to hold on to as he stepped out of the shower. He did better with separate shower stool, instead of one attached to the wall, so that we could move around as needed. He also needed another bench right outside of the shower to sit on. We got 2 different sizes of teak benches.

We were concerned about my dad falling and hitting his head on a glass shower door. A door would also keep us from assisting him with bathing. And if he were to fall, it would keep emergency personnel from getting into the shower to help him. We bought a curved shower rod and curtain.

There are very expensive shower units out there that include the whole package. But if you have a good contractor you can get a more custom situation for less money.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sterling Shower

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 6:53PM
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If you can afford to move the drain and you have the extra width, here is another Sterling shower that has a seat and bracing in the walls for handicap bars.

Also, as far as plumbing fixtures, we found it cheaper to just have a handshower on a bar that can be adjusted up and down as a shower head and then detached and used as a hand shower. It was also more simpler for my dad to control instead of a separate handshower with a diverter.

At this time in your life, I wouldn't spend the money on a custom shower. A shower unit will also be easier for the contractor, will take less time, and will be less stressful for you.

If you go with a glass enclosure, pay attention if you get a swing type door to where it will not block a grab bar on the wall outside of the shower. Also research if the handles on the door just don't look pretty and will support your full weight in case of a potential fall. When we fall, we just tend to automatically reach out and grab anything without thinking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sterling shower

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 7:13PM
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I would like to thank everyone that responded to my post. First I apologize for the misspelling...what is a whoweer? I will be talking with our contractor friend to get an idea of cost etc. Off is terrible rain, sleet and now snow. Hopefully we will not have a power outage, which usually happens when we have weather like this.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 2:27PM
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If you do a tile shower, Kohler also makes a seated 60 x 32 acrylic shower pan that replaces a standard tub. They also have both acrylic and cast iron pans like Enduring mentioned above.

If you peruse the Sterling shower website and search on 60" showers, you will see a lot of options, including versions with just brackers for handcap bars (you install the bars yourself), seats fixed and moveable, and even the bars. Drill down to the specifications to see the location of the backers - where the bars will be installed. You can always add more bracing for bars in locations other than the backers. Handicap bars have come down in price and there are more decorative options. It may be cheaper to install your own versus buying the complete shower kit. You will need to price them out and see - or at least mention this option to your contractor.

I am remodeling my bathroom this year and will be installing bars for the tub because it is set down in the foundation. I put in bracing for the shower and when the time comes, it will be ready to add bars.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler shower bases

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 23:33

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 7:58PM
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This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 23:29

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 8:01PM
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accidently posted multiple times and can't delete

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 23:28

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 8:02PM
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Best wishes with your Whoweer project! :)
Keep up posted ok? and I hope your weather is favorable to maintaining electricity for all in your neighborhood.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 8:41PM
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As has been mentioned, it's fairly easy to install a whoweer within the same footprint of a tub.

Several companies make shower receptors, but they can be used for shower bases or whoweer bases. They're pretty much interchangeable.

Just using Kohler as a reference, they have receptors that have the new whoweer drain located where the old tub drain was, to minimize changes to plumbing:

Their Tresham model has a built-in bench:

I do have to say, I always recommend not having a built-in bench and instead using a moveable bench or stool in your whoweer instead. It's simply more versatile. Especially as you age. And a moveable seat is more functional should you ever need assistance in the whoweer.

I do like the cast iron receptors. Durable. Attractive. They really look nice in person and feel good underfoot. The Salient comes in a 30" by 60" with an end drain...

...and if you prefer a center drain, there's also a Salient model that's a little wider, 36" by 60" with a center drain:

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:11PM
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We replaced both of our fiberglass tub/showers with tile showers and used fiberglass shower pans aka "receptors." Shower pans weren't really installed properly but I won't go into that. If I did it over, think I'd go with cast iron shower pan, but it's quite a bit more expensive. We did one sliding glass door and one curtained shower. Personally, I hate the glass doors. Getting in and out is actually more difficult. Shower curtain hangs fine inside lip on shower pan. Grab bars are essential, imo. One thing I didn't really want and now think is the greatest thing since sliced bread is the new shower valve with two controls. One controls the water temp and one is for the pressure. Basically, I leave the temperature one the same and only have to turn on the water. Built in seats are not recommended by people that work with elderly and handicapped. We had double "niches" put in opposite the shower head, one low enough to put your foot up on--for those leg shavers among us. Also enough height in niche for large pump-style shampoo bottle from Costco. Works great.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 12:37PM
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I am bringing this current as we are about to do a tub to shower conversion in anticipation of elderly (90 plus!!) parent moving in. It's a first floor guest bedroom with a full bathroom attached. The house is 25 years old and we were planning to update the bathroom anyway. Now I realize that the tub to shower conversion really makes sense as it will not get any easier to get in and out of the tub. I also though that a movable seat seems preferable to a fixed bench, so I guess I am happy to see confirmation on that.
We are debating about glass door vs shower curtain. do you really find that there is not much water on the floor with a shower curtain? (It sure would save $$ but I don't want to be hasty with this.) I appreciate any feedback.
thank you

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 7:59AM
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I always thought that a shower curtain was nice because I never needed to clean it as I would a shower door: I bought very inexpensive shower curtains - for about $4 or so. I hung them just inside the shower/tub wall so they could drain easily - rinse them off after a shower. When they got in need of a cleaning, for that price, it was easy to replace them.

Oh - I used shower curtain liners - those hung so they dripped on the shower floor, not the bathroom floor. I used a nice shower curtain on a separate rod - that looked nice, hung just outside the shower, and never got replaced.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 9:46AM
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I really want the dual controls, one for temp and one for pressure. What are they called (so I can do a better search), and are they salways really expensive?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 6:10PM
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