There are 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 ft). A fantasy shower may frequently become a reality only if it fits to the footprint of a dated tub. But what’s the best method to go about this conversion?

The very first step to convert a bathtub to shower would be to put down everything on paper. Before you start ripping out tile, bringing home sale items or looking for the best grout color, be sure that you measure, plan and research.

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Measure the toilet exactly. Yank on the finished wall dimensions, right down into the 1/8 inch. Most bathtubs are 60 inches wide, which is a good width to get a shower. The depth is the kicker. Aim for at least 32 to 34 inches from the finished tile wall into the upcoming 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. In case you decide to plan to get a seat, be sure it doesn’t crowd this distance of 30 by 30 inches minimum.

Record the bathroom location. A distance of 15 to 18 inches from the the middle of the bathroom to the glass on the new shower door tends to be comfortable.

Work out the shower-door swing. Where will you set the door on your new shower so it does not interfere with the bathroom or vanity? I love to use a large scrap of drywall to put out the potential shower-door swing, and then check the distances of the drywall into the toilet and vanity.

From the renovated bathroom here, a little 1926 tub was replaced using a curbless shower. The walkway from the vanity into the shower has been too tight to get a whirlpool bathtub door, which explains precisely why this shower has two glass block walls instead.

Hint: In the event the toilet floor is going to become wet outside the shower, then pick a little tile or a different slip-resistant material.

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Make sure you’ll still have tons of space. When you substitute a bathtub with a shower, the bathroom can start to feel crowded. Make sure that you pay attention to this it seems right to you.

Try to keep at least 15 inches area from the middle of the bathroom to the new shower glass. If your shower ends up being on the side, you can skimp on this measurement a little.

Hint: Hold up a sheet of scrap drywall to function as a fake glass panel and also sit a 5-gallon bucket to mimic the toilet’s location. This could help you decide how close you like the glass and how large you’d like your shower.

Stand at the area where your shower will be. A shower depth of 32 inches feels little to me, however, might work for you. A depth of 34 to 36 inches tends to be perfect, but do not crowd the bathroom. Make sure that you check the local code for minimum distances, too.

Take out the door if it’s causing problems. Who says you require a door anyway? And start looking into heated floors if you decide not to have a shower door. Floor heat is quite good at keeping the toilet floor dry in addition to warm.

Hint: If you intend to get a doorless shower, then you’ll need to be extra careful when using a handheld shower fixture. A fixed showerhead or rain head (such as the one in this photograph) will continue to keep the water inside the new shower.

More tips on working with a doorless shower


Take your time looking for fittings. Shopping for fittings can actually be fun! Research the options and look for specials and potential combos. Do not feel like you need to use all the same brand — I frequently use fixtures from two separate companies that still look good together.

Hint: If you’re building a steam shower, then contemplate Dornbracht fixtures. Bear in mind that a steam shower should be constructed by someone with at least five years’ expertise in vaporproofing.

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Consider your tile and lighting layout from the start. This is essential to some polished-looking shower. Be certain you include lights on your shower, not just around it.

Depending on your shower size and cosmetics, yet, two or even four lights might look best. When you eliminate your old bathtub and tub surround to make room for the new shower, this is the ideal time to test that your light system can be installed like you had planned. Often the ceiling framing over a bathtub is easily adjusted to accommodate a lighting plan.

Do not tile with no finished light sources set up. Without a light source set up, it is hard to know how any lippage might look. At a shower the lights are often quite close to the wall, which will show every tiny flaw at a tile installation.

Hint: Organize your tile designs early, using the ceiling height as a reference. Attempt to avoid sliver reductions in tile designs. Drawing the layout on paper helps — once you have this finalized, you may use your vinyl grout lines to put out pulp market locations and shower fittings.

More ways to light up your shower

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Decide what developments you’re going to want. Goal is key here. How will you use the shower? Do you require a seat? Somewhere to place your shampoo? What about a window? All these extras are important to this renovation and help narrow down a construction plan.

Hint: If you’re building a shower that will consist of items like benches, windows and pulp niches, be certain the waterproofing is brought right up the walls and require extra care around the chimney. Kerdi Repair is a superb product for seaming the window into the bathtub’s waterproofing system.

Next: Step 2 — Choosing your new shower fittings

More: manuals to remodeling your shower

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