Tub to Shower Conversion: Cost, Before & After Pictures, How to

There are a few reasons why many homeowners are looking for information on the tub to shower conversion. But mainly, it’s because of their need and desire for improvement. They want to improve the look and feel of their bathroom. They’re right to assume that converting a tub into a shower will help do just that.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about this project. First of all, there’s a question that needs to be answered. It will answer the question, “why convert it in the first place?” This should push you towards doing it just in case you’re 50-50.

Tiled bathroom

A promising project such as this one can still end in a disaster. This is why we’ll also provide tips to go about the whole process. Following these tips can help improve the chances of a successful project.

Did you know that there are several options when converting a tub into a shower? It is the same way there are multiple plasma cutters or engine-driven welders. Yes, there are several of them. You must know them. This way, you can find the best option for you.

Many of our readers are also looking for a step-by-step guide on how to go about the whole process. Now, it’s important to note that this is a project that should be done by a professional. It requires a specialized set of skills and equipment. If you want the project to be successful, hire the best person for the job. It’s still a good idea to know about these steps for you to appreciate the tasks to be performed by the professional even more.

Of course, the most important information that you’re looking for – is the cost. How much does it cost to convert a tub to a shower? How much does it cost to get a walk-in shower? We will provide you with estimates. More importantly, we’ll provide you with a free service that can help you find the best and more specific quotes.

Make sure that you also read our article on adding a shower to a half bath. It’s one of our more recent articles, and it has been gaining a lot of attention. We have this article on the right gauge wire for those interested in welding. Our site’s most popular article is this one on oxy torch settings.

Why do it in the first place?

White, tiled bathroom

Why invest in a conversion? Here are some compelling reasons:

  • Change is good.

This is especially true if you’re already bored with what your bathroom looks like. You don’t have to change everything. In most cases, changing one aspect will do wonders.

It’s not just for aesthetic purposes. Imagine the improved experience. Most homeowners looking to do this project don’t have a shower. Having a new one will improve your experience.

  • It’s convenient.

Why do you think most people take a shower instead of a bath every morning? It’s because it’s more convenient. Most people don’t have the time and effort to prepare a bath every morning. Sure, a bath is very relaxing. What good will it do if you only have a few minutes to spare every morning?

Besides, taking a shower is also a relaxing experience. This is especially true with a brand new shower.

  • It’s safer.

Many homeowners have fallen into an accident stepping in and out of the tub. Generally speaking, stepping over the tub’s wall is more dangerous than stepping into the shower. That’s unless you choose to install a walk-in tub.

  • It will save you a lot of space.

In a perfect world, you have a lot of space in your bathroom. You can add a shower without worrying about how cramped it’s going to be. But in most people’s reality, doing so will make it feel like you’re in a closet.

If space has always been a problem, converting a tub into a shower can save you a lot of space. While beautiful, it takes up a lot of space. Convert it and watch as you turn the cramped space into a spacious one.

With how they’re both set up, it will feel way roomier than the tub. That is, even if it takes up the same space left behind by the tub.

Conversion Tips

Here are some tips to ensure a more successful project:

  • Keep one tub.

As mentioned, don’t convert all of the tubs in your home. If you only have one, don’t do this project. As mentioned, having one can help you maintain or even increase your home’s value. If you have several, keep one. Besides, a long hot bath is a luxury that you’d want to experience now and then.

  • Make sure that you have enough space.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a 36-inch by 36-inch space for the stall. However, a 30-inch 30 inches one should suffice.

The height should be considered as well. There should be at least 80 inches of vertical space.

You should also make sure that there’s enough room between the stall and the toilet. Measured from the center of the toilet, there should be at least 15 inches from the toilet’s side to the shower wall. The clearance from the front of the toilet should be longer at 21 inches at the very least.

You have to consider the door. Make sure that it doesn’t hit anything when you swing it out. Make sure it wouldn’t hit the toilet or vanity. Anything else should be in the clear as well. A sliding door or a curtain is the more logical option if it will.

  • Know your options.

It’s quite a shame if you’re going to spend money only to find out in the end that there are better options are there. Maybe they’re even more affordable as well. This is why you must do your research. Don’t worry, because we’ll provide you with the options later in this article.

This is also important because the right option will be case-to-case. For starters, the type of tub you have right now will play a huge determining factor in choosing the right option.

  • Don’t forget about the fixtures.

There’s no point in having a shower if it has poor fixtures. Feel free to mix and match different fixtures from different brands. You’re not an endorser of a specific brand. Consider function and aesthetics when choosing the fixtures.

Take time also to select the right flooring. Complement that with the right lighting choice, leading to a beautiful shower.

  • Hire a professional.

You might be tempted to do it DIY. After all, who wouldn’t want to save money? You’re under the impression that you’ll save a lot of money by not paying for a contractor. In most cases, you’ll end up spending more money in the end. If you’re a handy DIYer, you may be able to save money. It’s not guaranteed.

This is because you’re not a professional. You’ll make expensive mistakes. In the end, you might end up hiring someone to correct your mistakes. That will be more expensive than hiring from the get-go.

Besides, the only way for you to experience the benefits of this conversion is if it’s successful. Hiring a professional can ensure this.

You don’t have to worry because there are affordable options. More on these later.

  • Minimize the need for additional plumbing work.

This can help you save a lot of money. Make sure that you install it near the water supply and drain. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re installing it in the space where the tub currently is.

Speaking of minimizing, you should also minimize the risk of future problems. For example, don’t install a shower where a window is. Mold is going to be a real problem.

  • Check the plumbing.

Do this before installing the shower. Since you’re taking out the tub, take the chance to inspect the current plumbing. Repair the plumbing if needed. It will save you a lot of potential headaches and expenses later on if you’re going to take that chance to conduct the repairs.

Options when Converting a Tub into a Shower

Here are the options that you can choose from:

  • Stall kit.

This is the option for you if you’re on a budget. This is pre-built using fiberglass or acrylic. It does have pre-made sides, even if it’s a low-cost option. But the floor plan is light and feels cheap. It also comes with a drain hole and curbs. Surprisingly, it also comes with a quarter-inch hinged door.

  • Solid Surface Mosaic Tile

This is another pre-built kit that you can consider. It looks amazing since it’s made to look like natural stone with a mosaic design. Even if it should be installed on-site, it’s almost as easy to install as a stall kit.

It’s the safest choice, especially if you don’t want to splurge. It was not that expensive. It’s easy to install, especially if you hire someone. Installed right, it can look and feel like the most expensive option. As a bonus, it’s easier to clean!

  • Tiles/Stone

This is the option for you if the budget is not a concern. Expect to spend around $15,000 to install it by a competent contractor. This is because of the materials. It’s worth it, though. You get beautiful travertine or marble. The pan is hot-mopped. Its glass is customized, and it’s beautiful.

It’s a complicated task that’s best reserved for a professional. Even with the help of one, it may take several weeks.

How to Convert a Tub into a Shower

The best way to do so is to hire a professional. Suppose you want to save time and effort and want the best results. You’ll even save money.

Here’s how a professional will do it:

  • They will remove the faucet.
  • They will remove the tub.
  • They will install the base.
  • They will repair the wall if needed.
  • They will install the wall.
  • They will install the door.

It’s done! Sure, each of these steps has more complicated steps. They’re very basic to a professional since he’s been doing it for years.

If you fancy yourself as a DIYer, there are DIY kits. Maybe you understand and welcome the risks involved in doing this DIY project. However, this won’t make the project significantly easier. Sure, it’s going to be a bit easier. It’s still going to be a lot of work.

This project is considered to be for expert DIYers and professionals only. It may take up to 10 days. If you insist, here’s how to convert a tub into a shower:

Time needed: 10 days.

How to Convert a Tub into a Shower

  1. Get a permit.

    Yes, it would help if you got a permit. This is because you’ll be working on the plumbing. You can consult with the permits office for the requirements and process. This alone requires a lot of work.

  2. Turn off the water supply at the main.

    The last thing you’d want is to have water bursting. Check to see if yours has a shut-off valve. Suppose there’s none, turn off the main valve for your home.

  3. Remove the surround of your tub.

    You’ll need a prybar, hammer, and oscillating multi-tool. The process would depend on whether the material is ceramic or plastic. If it’s the former, you need a lot of patience to chip away using a prybar and hammer. You need to strip it off if it’s the latter first since the glue was probably used.

  4. Take out the tub.

    This is not a one-man job. Remove any nails or anything that secures it to the wall. Depending on how tight it is, you may need to remove part of the drywall.

    Clean the area once it has been removed. Make sure to remove the screws and nails. If some of the studs have been damaged, you need to fix them before moving to the next step.

  5. Plan how you’ll position the head and the controls.

    This will vary greatly on whether it’s a single or double valve. You can check the manufacturer’s directions for this.

  6. Check the drain.

    Fortunately, there are cases wherein you don’t need to move it. Although in most cases, you need to adjust its height.

  7. Install the pan and then the surround panels.

    Check the manufacturer if you still need to construct a mortar bed. Next up are the surround panels. You need to drill. The back panel is installed first before moving onto the side panel that doesn’t have controls. Last to be installed is the panel with the controls.

  8. Install the door.

    You will be installing it by following the manufacturer’s directions.

  9. Finish with the head and controls.

    You need to align them with the holes you’ve drilled.

  10. Test it.

    Turn on the main water valve to test it out.

Tub converted into a modern shower

Things to Consider

Generally speaking, losing a tub will lower your home’s resale value. For a lot of potential home buyers, they’re a deal-breaker. It’s the first one that they’re going to look for. Maybe you’re going to sell your home in the future and convert your only one into a shower. Expect potential home buyers to ask for a lower price.

Things to consider
Resale valueChildren
Keeping a tubStyle of the house

If you plan on selling your home in the future, make sure that you keep at least one tub. If you have it, keep the Master’s bathroom tub. You can convert the rest.

Do you have a toddler? You also have to consider that it’s easier to give them a bath in the tub. This is something that other parents know to turn off many potential home buyers.

There is some truth to the fact that you lower the resale value of your home when you are doing these types of remodeling. The situation isn’t quite that simple. Yes, it can be a good idea to keep one in the house. Suppose you are generally making a vast upgrade to the entire house. There is still the possibility that the overall house value goes up from you changing things up.

Tubs are great, and many people love entering one on a cold winter day. There is also a lot of merit to having a welcoming shower that you may not otherwise be getting. You cannot say you universally lose house value by removing a tub if you replace the entire bathroom with something significantly nicer.

Another thing you will need to know is whether it is a good financial decision because it can be hard to predict. It is hard to predict whether or not you will be showing your home to a potential buyer who loves them. They could not see themselves living in a house without one. You probably lost out on some money. Suppose you are living in a place where houses are selling at a pretty quick pace. You could also find a potential buyer who doesn’t mind not having a tub in the house. They might be prepared to pay the same amount of money in either situation. You are likely adding more value to the home by having a remodeled space for a potential buyer who isn’t too concerned about it. You now have something nice rather than the previous space that may have been very outdated.

FAQ

How Much does it Cost to Convert a Tub to a Shower?

There are a lot of factors to consider. It can cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 when converting a tub to a shower. Anywhere around $5,000 is a safe bet, especially if you’re going for the mid-range options.

The easiest way to make sure you pay less money is by doing a lot of the work yourself. There is likely tile that will need to be installed for the new shower. You might be able to lay that stuff yourself rather than having a pro do it. Should you choose to do it yourself, you must consider the various best practices.

Can you cut a tub to make it a walk-in shower?

A tub can easily be cut makeshift into a walk-in shower with the necessary modifications. However, the process is relatively straightforward for a professional and can be completed within a day.

How much does it cost to convert a tub to a shower?

It roughly costs around $2000 to $12000 on average. But the cost largely depends on the size of the tub and the style of the walk-in shower. Simply replacing a tub with a walk-in shower is cheaper than converting the tub into one. For replacement, the average cost is stated at $4500. For conversion, the average price is around $9250.

Do you have to move the drain in a tub to shower conversion?

If you install the shower directly in place of the tub, the drain lines can be aligned. This would also mean that the water supply can be used as before, without changing the bathroom layout. But if the drain position is not exact, you may need to move the drain lines and the water supply.

Is it cheaper to replace a bathtub with a shower?

It’s relatively more affordable to replace a bathtub with a shower because there is no additional cost of adjustment or configuration that comes with conversion. Only the cost of bathtub removal and shower installation is relevant.

Can you turn a tub into a walk-in shower?

A portion of the bathtub or the whole bathtub can be modified into a walk-in shower to increase space and function by a professional.

How long does a Bath Fitter last?

A bath fitter is guaranteed to last indefinitely if proper care is provided. Suppose you regularly clean your bath fitter with a diluted bleach solution. In that case, you reduce the risk of bacterial growth and silicone deterioration.  

While you can do tile installation yourself, there are also a bunch of pitfalls that you may run into if you do. For one, it is not easy to do the tile installation. The smallest mistakes may end up ruining the result to the point that you won’t be satisfied looking at it. On paper, the idea of tile installation may seem pretty straightforward. You have to ensure that all the surfaces have exactly the right alignment to do it well. Otherwise, they won’t have water running down them the way it’s supposed to happen.

When installing tiles, the easiest mistake that someone makes is that they aren’t careful. Suddenly all the water is not going into the drain as you had hoped. Rather, it stays in small puddles on top of the tile. Water does obey gravity, and with gravity comes the need for correctly installed tile!