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How to Convert Tub to Shower & What Does it Cost?

How to Convert Tub to Shower & What Does it Cost?

A tub to shower conversion, as the name suggests, consists of removing a bath tub and installing a standing shower.  

A walk-in shower is a great choice for helping small and tight NYC bathrooms feel more spacious.   With a sleek, clear panel of shower glass, your bathroom will instantly turn into a spacious oasis.

For homes with two or more bathrooms, the general rule of thumb is to convert the second bathroom into a shower. 

Golden Talon Construction has renovated over 50 bathrooms and we have never had a single dissatisfied customer. If you’re in the NYC area, contact us today to start planning your conversion!

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Thinking about prefabricated shower kits? Think again.

A prefabricated shower kit is  a shower unit that has been pre-manufactured such as bath fitter. 

They’re usually made of a combination of acrylic, fiberglass, and plastic. A standard prefab shower kit is equipped with a standard shower pan and two to three walls. 

There are some prefabricated kits that come as one solid piece (the walls and floor are connected).

Prefabricated Shower Kit
Photo Credit: Overstock.com

Many people may consider a prefabricated shower kit because of its cheaper price. But it’s not a long-term solution, and we do NOT recommend it for your bathroom. 

If installed incorrectly, you can run into some major issues – mold behind the wall as well as having the seams start to leak. If the material is fiberglass, they can even crack and turn yellow over time.

Prefabricated shower kits may cost less, but they can be an expensive mistake if not installed properly or if they’re low quality.

For example, with a prefab shower kit, all you get is an acrylic line over the tub, existing tiles, and finishing pieces. 

With a contractor at $10K, you will mostly get brand new water lines, new electrical, new drain system if needed, waterproofing, and new tiles.

Tub to Shower Conversion Process

The whole process takes between one to three weeks to complete, depending on the project scope, materials, and other underlying conditions. 

We highly recommend considering a full bathroom renovation if you are considering a tub-to-shower conversion. The reason is simple: would you want to have a half outdated, half-modern bathroom?

Pre-Construction

1. Design

Design your bathroom​

Planning is 50% of success.  There are so many details that go into a tub-to-shower conversion project.

 A good contractor will help you decide on size, shape, tiles, shower door/ curtain, showerhead if you’re not sure about what you want.

First, you need to figure out how large you want the shower to be. Consider who will be using it and how much total bathroom space you have to work with. You do not want to go over 33% of the bathroom with the shower pan because your toilet and vanity also need their own space. 

Decide whether a curbed or curbless shower is what you want. A curbed shower is more standard and common versus a curbless one. 

Curbless showers are more costly because  more complicated waterproofing systems and floor construction are needed.  

curbed and curbless shower stall comparison

Curbed Shower

Photo by: Coastal Shower Doors

Curbless Shower

Photo by: Homebunch.com

The type of shower body and shower head system depends on the overall design and use of the bathroom. A standard shower head will cost about $20-$50 versus $120-$150 for a high end waterfall shower head.

wallmounted luxury rainfall showerhead
Rainfall Showerhead Credit: WarmlyDecor.com

Shower doors are a beautiful finishing touch to the shower, whether it is a single glass piece or a sliding, pivot, and even barn style opening.  Cost of shower glass starts at around $300 but can easily cost up to $1,500 for higher end materials. Of course, the size of the glass itself is also an important factor of the price. 

Tile and stone shower walls are the most common ways to finish off the shower but are a bit expensive. Porcelain, ceramic and natural stones such as marble are commonly used on walls and mosaic on the shower floors.

The process required is long and labor intensive but the results are top notch. Bathroom renovation is a long-term investment for your home. It’s better to get it done right once, instead of constantly fixing it afterwards. 

2. Hire a contractor

Hire a contractor with a plumber

And hire an electrician if needed! 

A tub to shower conversion is a complicated project that requires a wide array of skills: demolition, plumbing, drywall, waterproofing, and tiling.  Hiring a qualified professional is a great long-term investment with low risk that saves time, hassle, and energy. 

3. Pull Permit

Pull proper work permits

Check with your local building department or reach out to a local licensed contractor to determine whether or not you need a permit. Sometimes you won’t need a work permit, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Construction

Demolition

The first step of the shower conversion is to remove the tub and faucet.  When demolishing,  we make sure that we don’t touch any water lines or the shower body inside the wall. This is what the plumber will take care of.

Plumbing

Next, the plumber will shut the water off to the bathroom. Sometimes bathrooms have their own shut off valves. Other times the main water to the house will have to be shut off.

The plumber will then install new shut off valves if you don’t already have them. New water lines are run to the shower as needed and a new shower body is installed as well as a new drain. 

Shower Pan Installation

Then we create a frame for the shower pan and cut out a drain hole for the plumber to install a new drain in. Once the drain is installed,  a vinyl liner is laid over the frame of the shower pan and is prepped for pan cement construction. The pan is created out of a sand mixed cement.

Waterproofing

After installing the shower pan, we waterproof everything to prevent mold. We install cement boards and waterproof the walls and cemented shower pan. Waterproofing is usually done with RedGard, although different scenarios may require different products. 

Tile Installation

Next up are the tiles. Once the tiles have had a chance to dry, we  grout them. 

Shower Glass Installation

Then we install the glass shower door and other fixtures.

Testing!

Last but not least is to test out the shower! Make sure it functions properly and looks beautiful. 

How much does it cost?

It costs on average between $5,000- $15,000 to replace a tub with a shower, depending on project scope and finishes. 

Most people decide on doing a complete bathroom reno in conjunction with a tub to shower conversion (which does cost more). 

One example of the finishes causing price differences is if you were to use simple subway tile instead of expensive large format tiles.

Why Choose Golden Talon Construction?

Hiring a qualified, reliable contractor may cost more upfront, but the overall look and quality of the work will save you from hassle for the next 10 years.   

Golden Talon Construction starts every project with an in-person consultation to review the size and state of your existing bathroom so we can make honest recommendations on how to proceed. 

From there, we can establish a timeline for completing the project and start working when you’re ready. 

Schedule your free consultation today and let Golden Talon Construction give you the bathroom you deserve!

Call us at (347) 549-3597 or fill out for the form below for your free quote today!

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