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Ditching the Bubbles:
5 Tips to Help Transition Your
Bathroom from Bath to Shower

home equity articles and tips


There are plenty of easy ways to update an old bathroom, but sometimes getting new towels and a fancy shower curtain just isn’t enough. When looking to update your old bathroom, replacing your bathtub with a shower is a great way to increase the functionality and aesthetics of one of the busiest rooms in your home. Whether doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, there are a few tips that will help you make this a successful remodel.

Plan of Action

Before you do anything else, draw the floor plan of your bathroom on a piece of paper, labeled with its exact measurements. A shower will typically require more floor area than an existing bathtub does. It is also important to consider the space needed for the shower door to swing out as well as its proximity to the toilet. Ideally, there should be 32 to 34 inches from the back wall to the front of the shower. Some cities require bathroom renovations to be ADA compliant, so make sure you or your contractor are familiar with local codes before any work starts.

Have the Right Tools for the Job

This project involves multiple construction disciplines including demolition, plumbing, and tiling. You will need: wrenches, a sledgehammer, pry bar, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, keyhole and tile saws, gloves, safety glasses, floats and trowels. Rather than making an expensive purchase that you won't use again, contact your local home-improvement center to if they offer tool rentals. If you are hiring a contractor, you’ll pay more than if you do the work yourself because you’ll probably be paying for materials as well as labor. However, you should consider that the price of tools or costly mistakes could set you back if you are doing the work yourself.

Enlist Help

One of the first steps in this process is to get the old tub out of the bathroom. Do not remove the old tub by yourself—bathtubs can be very heavy, especially older cast iron models. According to the plumbers in Oakville of the Plugged Piper Drain Service, it may be necessary to break it into smaller pieces to safely remove it from the area. This is at least a two-person job, so be sure you have ample hands to make this transition a safe one.

Know Your Budget

While this project will provide an instant update to your bathroom, consider what you’ll be paying before any demolition happens. The average cost of replacing a tub with a shower is $8000-$12,000. This includes new plumbing, water-resistant drywall, tile installation, new fixtures and custom glass enclosures. Doing it yourself can reduce or eliminate labor costs, but as mentioned before, you’ll have to pay for tools, and if you make a mistake, it could be very costly to fix. If you have a projected budget before the project starts (with a little buffer room) there will be minimal surprises along the way. The last thing you want is to run out of money halfway through the project and be left with an unusable bathroom.

Consider the Resale Value

If you plan to stay in your home for five years or less, you need to factor in the effect this tub-to-shower project will have on your resale value. If this project removes the only bathtub in your home, it will hurt your ability to sell to families with younger children. If there is at least one other tub, it could actually increase the value by making an outdated bathroom more appealing to prospective buyers and adding versatility to the home.

This is a project that needs careful, detailed planning, especially if you plan to do the work yourself. Once you’ve measured the room and made plans, create a budget that balances your needs and wants, and consult the help of a professional before going forward. Plumbing mistakes can be extremely expensive to fix, so it is a good idea to hire professional help for the jobs that you aren’t 100% confident that you can do yourself. Once the project is complete, you’ll have an accessible bathroom with an updated look that will increase the value of your home.