Walk-in showers are easy to clean, and most importantly, they are safer than large, deep bathtubs. Stand-alone showers are typically either custom enclosures or manufactured stalls. The prefabricated stalls are usually made of acrylic or fiberglass and consist of a base, door, and walls. They are available in many colors, sizes, and shapes.
Homeowners who prefer a shower over a bathtub can expect a tub-to-shower conversion project to be completed in about a day, depending on the layout of the existing space and any unanticipated complications. A bathtub that is already surrounded by walls can be replaced with a shower relatively simply. The installers may need to make some plumbing adjustments, but the necessary drains and water lines should already be in place.
Homeowners who prefer to relax and unwind while they get clean can also replace the shower with a bathtub. The shower-to-tub conversion process is similar to that of converting a bathtub to a shower—the shower stall is removed and a bathtub installed in its place. Shower-to-tub conversion projects normally take one or two days.
Mobility issues can make it difficult to safely enter, use, and exit showers and bathtubs that have not been modified to accommodate homeowners with disabilities. Such modifications include horizontal bars that provide handheld support; shower seats and benches that can reduce the risk of injury from falling; and handheld, low-mounted shower heads that allow homeowners—and their caretakers—to direct the flow of the shower rather than having to maneuver around beneath the stream.
Showers can also be built or modified to accommodate wheelchair users; these showers are wide-built and do not include a curb so that homeowners may enter by wheeling in. Residents who have trouble climbing into traditional bathtubs may want to consider installing a walk-in or slide-in tub, which can be accessed through a watertight, sealed door in the side of the bathtub wall.
Before any conversion or replacement work begins, your contractor should ensure that the existing plumbing is up to code and in good shape and that there is no evidence of mold, mildew, or any structural problems where your tub or shower will be installed. It is especially important to assess the structural integrity of your bathroom floor before replacing a shower with a tub. A bathtub full of water weighs much more than a shower stall, and the floor beneath it must be able to support that weight without causing structural damage. Make sure that your contractor clearly explains whether any additional construction will be required to safely replace your existing shower with a new bathtub.