If you prefer the convenience of a shower to a time-consuming bath, converting a bathtub to a luxurious walk-in shower can dramatically enhance the beauty and functionality of your bathroom—and increase the value of your home. With these benefits in mind, it’s time to think about whether this is a DIY project or one for a professional bathroom remodeling company. We’ve compiled a handy list of 6 things to consider before you convert a tub to a shower.

DIY or Hire a Professional: Walk-In Showers

1. Get Inspired

Before anything else, take some time to look at walk-in shower ideas in magazines, bath showrooms, and home centers. Even if you’re considering a DIY walk-in shower conversion, it won’t hurt to meet with a professional bathroom designer or contractor to discuss your ideas and request a project estimate. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the level of industry knowledge a professional bathroom remodeler has to share!

2. Consider the Cost and Your Skills

Walk-in shower kits can be a viable option for DIYers who are comfortable working with plumbing and framing walls. If you’re planning a custom design, you’ll likely need the skills and expertise to:

  • Remove walls to access plumbing
  • Apply waterproof sheeting to walls and floors
  • Rebuild walls using moisture-resistant drywall
  • Install drains
  • Pour mortar to create a shower pan
  • Move plumbing pipes, if necessary
  • Tile or cover new walls with a waterproof surface

In the end, you can expect to spend between $200 and $2,000 on a shower kit, or $1,000 to $3,500 for a custom tile shower. At this point you might want to revisit the estimate you received when you met with a designer—or ask yourself if the time you’ll need to put into the project is worth it in the long run.

3. Choose the Right Size

Are you aware that the size of your shower must meet building codes? A professional bathroom remodeling company certainly does! Most building codes require the floor of a shower stall to be a minimum of 30-inches by 30-inches. However, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that the stall is 36-inches by 36-inches. If you’re planning to use the your old tub alcove, keep in mind that you’ll probably need to add short wall sections to increase the depth to 36-inches.

Other important measurements include:

  • A finished ceiling height of at least 80-inches
  • The distance from the side of a toilet to the shower wall to be at least 18-inches
  • The distance from the front of the toilet to the shower wall to be at least 30-inches
  • Hinged shower doors must open outward and require 30-inches of clearance

4. Think About Entry and Accessibility

One of the primary reasons homeowners decide to convert a tub to a shower is to create a safe bathing option for an older family member or a family member with mobility issues. If this is the case in your home, you’ll want choose a curbless or barrier-free shower to ensure that entering and exiting the shower doesn’t require stepping over the threshold of a shower pan. Plus, a barrier-free shower will allow for easy wheelchair access.

However, a barrier-free shower will require building the drainage slope of the floor below the level of the surround floor surface, so you need to raise the level of the surrounding floor or lower the shower pan. Lowering the shower plan into the floor might require a permit from your city’s building department in order to cut down the tops of the floor joists under the shower pan so it sits flush with the floor.

5. Contemplate Your Future Needs

Whether you decide to DIY your shower replacement or hire a professional, you’ll want to make the most out of your investment. Consider universal design features such as a wide entry, level threshold, slip-resistant floor, grab bars, a seat, and a handheld shower-head to ensure that your new shower will be a functional feature for years to come.

6. Examine Warranty Coverage

Many manufacturers only honor warranties if a certified professional installs their products. This should be an important factor in your decision as repairing or replacing a walk-in shower will be a costly endeavor that you can avoid simply by choosing an expert for the job rather than taking the DIY approach.

If you’ve decided that hiring a professional bathroom remodeling company is the right decision for you, Hometown Contractors, Inc. can install a walk-in shower quickly and affordably. Not only to can we guarantee that you’ll receive a high-quality walk-in shower with a wide range of customizable features, we back our showers with industry-leading manufacturer warranties and our own one-year Hometown Labor Warranty!

Call us today to schedule your in-home consultation, or submit our online contact for now to request a free, no-obligation project estimate.