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Enlarging ensuite

Posted by troff (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 12:26

Hello everyone,

We are enlarging our ensuite, using what used to be closet space for a new shower and double vanity. We're replacing the tub as well.

This is the new plan, and while I'm happy there IS a shower, I wonder if we're using the space properly. I'd really like a longer, wider tub/shower (at least ONE of the two) while we're at it. We really wouldn't use the sinks at the same time. The tub and shower along the same wall look cramped to me, at least on paper.

The bay window/tub configuration is a bother. Could we/should we switch the toilet and shower, losing the linen closet and second sink? Would the aisle be too tight? Would it look funny? Our builder is reluctant to change again, but what must be must be ....

Thanks for your help and advice. I really wish I'd discovered GW sooner!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Enlarging ensuite

Just some thoughts - the tub deck takes up a lot of space. I would do a free standing tub.

I would not reduce the size of the vanity nor eliminate the linen tower even if you do not keep them in their current location. One or two sinks is personal for every couple.

I know that the linen tower is shielding the toilet - but are you sure you don't want a separate toilet closet.

The builder has taken away valuable space from the shower by framing the wall out for a ready made shower pan. A lot of builders will use an acrylic pan and build a bench on one side of the pan. Either do something like that or go with a tile shower mud bed to grab every inch you can. This is the time to specify tile niches to get good storage.

If you aren't a tub person, then eliminate the tub. Move the shower to where the tub is. Move the toilet to where the shower is and build it a closet. Having a shower there would be spectacular - it could even be doorless.

I like the pocket door. Do one for the toilet closet too.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 14:33

RE: Enlarging ensuite

Thanks, Anna ... lots of intriguing ideas.

Somehow I thought the tub HAD to be a drop-in with a deck ... couldn't be freestanding in that space. The condo was built in the mid-80s, so maybe this is just 80s thinking that no one has ever questioned (including me). Would a larger tub fit if the deck were eliminated? What about all the space around the tub -- too inaccessible for cleaning?

Moving the shower to the bay window would be wonderful ... but our builder nixed that early on. Said we couldn't incorporate the windows into a shower. Was he just being dismissive? Can it really be done? (As he also says when I propose a change: "Anything's possible ... it just costs money.") Would it be very tricky or expensive construction-wise?

Thanks again for your perspective. It really helps.

This post was edited by troff on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:19

RE: Enlarging ensuite

I have the typical 80's tract home bath too. Same large window above the same huge tub as yours. It is common now to convert the tub to a shower and incorporate the existing window. Moisture proofing technology and products have dramatically improved the last 15 years. Since I saw that your gm is planning on using an acrylic shower pan, I think he may not be up on the latest technology or may be trying to avoid the cost of a custom shower floor. Either way, you need to quickly bone up on the current technology yourself and demand that it be used - Schluter Kerdi offers a 25 year and Laticrete Hydro Ban a lifetime warranty on their products if installed following their method. It would be best if the windows are not wood. You also plan the shower to where the windows will not get any direct spray.

A freestanding tub would sit on the tiled floor. Floor faucets are expensive so another option is to build a tile ledge beside or along the tub and mount a roman faucet. Some tubs are designed to have the faucet mounted on the deck and the side of the tub hides the plumbing.

Another trend is to enlarge the shower and go to a regular alcove tub. Regular sized tubs have really improved and are designed for deep soaking, so you can get a lot of tub for a 60 x 32 space. Folks are reducing the tub deck and installing them as a drop in or installing the alcove version. So the trend is to switch the emphasis - more shower, less tub. When you start researching tubs, you get into a whole "fit" thing since the basin sizes can vary so much.

You need to go to and browse for ideas. Look at free standing tubs. Look how smaller tubs are incorporated into the deck/bench of the shower, ett or just installed beside the shower. Look at double vanities, vanity towers, linen towers, sinks, faucets, lighting, etc. Houzz quickly becomes addictive.

This forum is wonderful - it has a lot of great ideas and how to's with great people. You can search for tubs, faucets, toilets, shower systems, tile, lighting, construction techniques, etc. Their is information on using Kerdi and Hydro Ban products too. I would certainly specify either one of those 2 methods on your remodel. You can search them on this forum also.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:53

RE: Enlarging ensuite

Thanks so much, Anna. I am printing out your post to pore over ... and to arm myself with knowledge for our builder's meeting tomorrow. (And he thought it was just going to be about light switches....)

This post was edited by troff on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 17:32

RE: Enlarging ensuite

If you want to keep the same plan, at least reposition the tub so you can enlarge the shower. Set the tub at more of an angle and use the tub deck as a shower bench. Or reduce the size of the tub deck. Or go to a drop in rectangular tub that is not so wide. Oval tubs are notoriously wide. You can look for a racetrack shaped tub too.

Your GM may not want to do a shower with the windows - he may not want to guarantee it. A large shower around those windows will cost more.

A freestanding tub will cost more too.

Don't be surprised by the cost of shower enclosures these days.

RE: Enlarging ensuite

If you don't use the tub much but don't want to eliminate it, you could go for a soaking tub. They have a smaller footprint but are deeper.

RE: Enlarging ensuite

The tub I've chosen is a soaker -- the Neptune Tao 3260. It's supposed to give you 17 inches of bathing depth. Are there others of this size (32"x60") that are deeper? I've been Googling and Houzzing ....

RE: Enlarging ensuite

Freestanding tubs look nice, but they are more expensive and the plumbing fixtures are more expensive too. Just something to consider when figuring your budget. And, in my opinion, depending on the size of the tub and the size of the alcove, it could be difficult to clean around one.

RE: Enlarging ensuite

Thanks, dekeoboe.

Thinking rationally about it (a stretch for me), I believe we are too far into the project to switch to a freestanding, angled tub. So a drop-in it must be. I do wish I'd found GW a year ago... Houzz is wonderful to look at (I've got 40 Ideabooks going) but I appreciate the way the practicalities are addressed and analyzed here.

RE: Enlarging ensuite

If you keep the plan you have...

You have chosen a very nice tub. No I don't think that you can find many more tubs deeper than that unless you go for a Japanese soaker type. And it's a racetrack shape too and not an oval that takes up more room.

Your plan shows an oval tub with a 72 x 50 deck. Get rid of the tile step - it is a major safety hazard and, in my opinion, dates the bathroom. Push the tub closer to the windows and reduce that tub deck. Build a deck just large enough to frame the tub. That should give you more floor space and make getting into the tub much more easier.

Open up the framed in right side of the shower to get a few more inches. The recommendation from this forum is to not build a tiled bench, but to use a stand alone shower bench for more flexibility.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 0:40

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