Questions on replacing tub/shower with shower

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by JimT, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. JimT

    JimT New Member

    Messages:
    7
    We are preparing to get estimates on a bathroom remodel and we are thinking of replacing the tub/shower (steel tub with fiberglass wall surrounds) with a walk-in shower. Both my wife and I are in the mid-50's, and neither of us takes baths. We feel this will be easier for us down the road, especially if one of us becomes physically incapacitated. We are hoping to get assistance/recommendations from others with experience in this area. I realize that I am asking several different questions, but they are all tied to this one task - I thought it would be easier for everyone than if I created several new threads. Thanks in advance for any help/advice that you can give.

    1) What type of structure is preferable and available: the entire shower made completely of tile or one with a separate base and tile only for the walls?

    2) Is the new epoxy grout the best option for the tile part?

    3) We would like to have a shower set that allows us to control both the temperature and the water flow - does such a set still exist? If so, what model(s) are recommended?

    4) Concerning safety/grab bars, would you recommend installing them now during the remodeling process OR waiting until old age makes them more of a necessity?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,947
    Location:
    New England
    FIrst, I'm not a pro, and even those don't always agree!

    1. A properly made tiled shower will last longer than you and look good. The plastic, synthetic shower pans, especially those made of fiberglass, don't hold up well. Some are better than others, though.

    2. Epoxy grout works, is harder to install, but while useful, is not a requirement to keep things looking good. A good sealer can keep the grout looking good for a long time. The epoxy grout typically (not all) looks a little shinier than cement based grouts. It has the disadvantage, though, that it might be a little more slippery on the floor. Don't quote me on that! Grout lines on the floor make it easier to get a grip, as does smaller tile (more grout lines).

    3. Yes. Many manufacturers make them. They are more prevelant in thermostatic valves (one knob/lever for temp setting, the other and it can also be a knob or lever adjusts the volume). I've got a tub/shower filler by Grohe that does this (two knobs).

    4. Regardless of when you want to install them (and during the remodel is a good idea), you need to plan ahead and put in reinforcing blocks so that they can be anchored properly (unless you can get to the other side of the walls later and not tear out your tile).

    A really good resource on tiling things is www.johnbridge.com check them out - you'll probably get more (and quicker) opinions over there.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Grab bars: go for it!

    I put 3 in my tub: one long one, diagonal across the back wall. a short one (vertical) by the end inside the door, another short one ( also vertical) just outside the tub.

    I don't remember why I did this a few years ago; noticed the gray hairs, I guess. Anyway, since putting them in, I have sprained both knees on different occasions. Both times, totall crutch/wheel chair bound for 4 or 5 days. The bars enabled me to sit outside the tub, step in with good leg, and pull myself up and in, then sit on the shower chair. WIthout the grab bars, it would have been sponge bath city!
  4. JimT

    JimT New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Grab bars in fiberglass shower?

    Thanks for the info so far. Though we are looking to keep the budget relatively low on this remodel, we are leaning toward a tiled walk-in shower because we've been told that is the only way to go if we want to have grab bars installed. Is that correct? Has anyone installed grab bars in a fiberglass or synthetic shower? If so, were there any major problems during that installation? Thanks again for any advice/info.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Generally the manufaturers of one piece or two piece tub/shower modules prohibit grab bars, because it is almost impossible to properly block for them in advance, hence structural damage tio the fobreglas is inevitable.
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