Convert Your Tub Space to a Shower — the Planning Phase
There are so many examples of large bathrooms, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us have bathrooms that are about 50 square feet (5 by 10 feet). A dream shower can often become a reality only if it fits into the footprint of a dated tub. But what’s the best way to go about this conversion?
The first step is to put everything down on paper. Before you start ripping out tile, bringing home sale items or searching for the perfect grout color, make sure you measure, plan and research.
Measure the bathroom exactly. [Or call Flooring Creations to set up an at home consult and we’ll measure it for you!] Draw the finished wall measurements, right down to the 1/8 inch. Most tubs are 60 inches wide, and this is a great width for a shower. The depth is the kicker. Aim for at least 32 to 34 inches from the finished tile wall to the future glass shower door.
You will also need to to have a finished ceiling height of 80 inches minimum and a shower that’s at least 30 by 30 inches to comply with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s guidelines for bathrooms. If you decide to plan for a bench, make sure it doesn’t crowd this space of 30 by 30 inches minimum.
Record the toilet location. A distance of 15 to 18 inches from the the center of the toilet to the glass on the new shower door tends to be comfortable.
Figure out the shower-door swing. Where will you put the door in your new shower so it does not interfere with the toilet or vanity? I like to use a large scrap of drywall to lay out the potential shower-door swing, and then check the distances of the drywall to the toilet and vanity.
Make sure you’ll still have plenty of space. When you replace a tub with a shower, the toilet can start to feel crowded. Make sure you pay attention to this so it feels right to you.
Try to keep at least 15 inches room from the center of the toilet to the new shower glass. If your shower ends up being on the smaller side, you can skimp on this measurement a bit.
Stand in the place where your shower will be. A shower depth of 32 inches feels small to me, but might work for you. A depth of 34 to 36 inches tends to be ideal, but again, don’t crowd the toilet. Make sure you check your local code for minimum distances, too.
Take out the door if it’s causing problems. Who says you need a door anyway? And look into heated floors if you decide not to have a shower door. Floor heat is very good at keeping the bathroom floor dry in addition to warm.
Tip: If you plan to have a doorless shower, you’ll need to be extra careful when using a handheld shower fixture. A fixed showerhead or rain head (such as the one in the above photo) will keep the water inside the new shower.
Take your time looking for fixtures. Shopping for fixtures can actually be fun! Research the options and look for specials and possible combos. Don’t feel like you have to use all the same brand — I often use fixtures from two separate companies that still look great together.
Decide what additions you’ll need. Purpose is key here. How will you use the shower? If you want to be able to sit, add a bench. If you need somewhere to put your shampoo, add a niche. And what about a window? All of these extras are important to the renovation and help narrow down a construction plan.