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curbless/low curb shower options?

Posted by fori (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 15:32

I'm putting in a small bathroom. It'll be ~8'7" long and 5'8" wide. The door will be at one narrow end and a shower at the other.

Currently it's sketched in as a 36" vanity by the door, then potty, and the 34" wide shower across the rear. The standard basic configuration for this type of space I think.

This will be used mainly my older guests so we'd planned on curbless with nice grab bars all over to make it more accessible (although we don't have space to go truly ADA compliant).

I think I'd like a cast iron shower base instead of tile which I think makes curbless impossible. Can a cast iron base be slightly sunken for a sort of curbless-ish installation? Would that be weird? Are there other options we should be looking at?

Tile for the shower walls main floor in the room are fine, but I think we should avoid using it on the shower base for easier cleaning.

Any suggestions on how to achieve a more accessible-than-standard shower with a cast iron base? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

You need a 2" minimum from the top of the drain to the top of the curb, or lip of the entry floor. If it's on slab, you'll have to bust out some concrete to lower it. If it's Post & beam or 2nd floor, you'll have to remove/lower the floor joists to get the required "fall."

Unless wheelchair bound, I generally just make the curb outta bricks....not a very high curb and a LOT less labor intensive.


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

Thanks Tech. This is (will be) a first floor addition on a crawl space. I believe the architect has already specced out the (please excuse my lack of terminology here) necessary low subfloor for a curbless tiled shower. But nothing is built yet so we are able to make some changes.

I'm just having second thoughts about the tiled floor. In the past my family has had better luck keeping up a smooth shower floor than tiled and I don't imagine anyone changing. :)

No need for wheel in access--it's not going to be big enough for that no matter how flat it is!


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

If you are building this you can drop the joists under the shower pan. I wouldn't go much lower than having the shower floor be Level with the main floor. (Normal installation would put it higher than the main floor.

People seem to be accustomed to stepping slightly up Into a bath or shower and slightly down on the way out, but reversing this could cause some issues particularly for the older guest. But putting it level will lower the curb on the room side a bit which would be helpful.

Make sure that you can Get a cast iron shower pan in the dimensions you want, before you finalize your plans. Your options are limited. If you would be interested in solid surface there is a place near me that will make custom solid surface shower pans. That could be another option.


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

We have a low curb shower base in our MB. It is made from the same granite slab that we used for our counter top. There are some ridges cut into the stone to keep it from being slippery. The front outside part of the curb is just a little bit over an inch above the tile.
 photo edbbf997-d3c5-46b9-9cf4-682622c1e0b5_zps4dbb40ba.jpg

The fabricator normally just uses one drain in the basin and said they have never had an issue with draining or overflow but our plumber insisted that he wanted 2 drains so they did what the plumber wanted.

The link below gives some information, cross section pictures and specs about the basins.
Perhaps there is a fabricator in your area that does this type of basin.


Edited to correct the height of the curb. Decided I should measure it instead of guessing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Low profile stone basin

This post was edited by badgergal on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 23:57


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

I have the same question. I'm looking at shower bases for a 36x48" stall shower. It seems that most of the shower bases I've found are acrylic.

Kohler makes cast iron shower bases, but the curb is 4-5 inches high. Swanstone makes solid surface shower bases - I think these have a 5 inch curb as well.

I'm thinking about using a Wet Style shower receptacle - this is made from a composite material (soy and mineral based) and has a 1.5" curb.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wet Style Shower Base


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

We put in a low profile solid surface shower base made by a company in Kansas that our GC recommended. I think they have dealers in most states. We didn't want the upkeep of a tile floor, but do have subway tile walls. It blends very well.
It was installed 3-4 years ago and we are well pleased-still looks like new. It is so easy to keep clean and I love the low profile, so easy to get in and out of. If interested you can google their web-site. The company and product name is Onyx. (I have no affiliation with this company)


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

Thanks all. This has been very helpful! I'm *that* close to just dropping in a bath tub and calling it quits, but I really shouldn't. :)

I'm taking notes!


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

I would highly recommend the Onyx Collection shower pan! Extremely easy to install, clean, and has a threshold of about 1 1/2" tall off the subfloor. So after your tail is installed up to it you will be looking at about 3/4" tall. Check out the link below for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Onyx Collection Shower pan


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

lizbeth-gardener, are you by chance in the buckeye state?


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

I have a kohler cast iron shower pan. It is not more than 3" above my finished tile floor. I love it, but I love cast iron. I think that if your guest can walk, they can step over a curb. Walking requires lifting the feet up at least that far I would imagine. I have French doors on my shower in the event a wheel chair needed to go in there. I see no problem getting a wheel chair over a 3" curb. I've taken W/C over larger obstacles. I thing even more important will be strategically placed grab bars. One for use getting into the shower space, and another for use inside the shower on the surrounding walls. The shower head holder bar can be a grab bar too. If you look around you'll find them available.


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

Thanks, Enduring. Sure looks nice; I especially love that meganiche!


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RE: curbless/low curb shower options?

Fori, I liked it too, at least the concept of it. I didn't get to put it on the wall where the shower controls are so I had the carpenter install this big niche. But I would not do it again because when I wipe the shower down I have to remove everything from the shelf to wipe it too. So now I end up keeping every thing on a little plastic folding foot stool on the floor :( I have been looking for a narrow chrome or plastic tote for that space. One that I can load my bottles into and when it comes time to wipe the shelf down I just pick the works up and wipe, then put back. I don't have that many bottles so how I work now is ok. Just wished wiping down the shower wasn't part of my shower experience.


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