Is your bathroom big enough for a separate shower?
Being able to take an invigorating shower to start your day off right can be one of life's great pleasures, but what if you don't have a shower in your bathroom? Many older homes have just a tub in a bathroom converted from another room many years ago. If that describes your house, there is often room to squeeze in a small shower enclosure.
Best showers for your home and budget
If you're adding a shower to your home, you basically have three types to consider. Each is available in numerous sizes, configurations and finishes. Here are the primary options:
- Prefab: These are normally made of fiberglass and can be purchased as a one-piece unit or in four sections consisting of a base and three shower walls. The sectional style can be much easier to work with in a remodeling project than trying to fit a one-piece shower up a staircase and through doorways. These showers are available in numerous standard sizes, but while some codes allow showers as small as 32 or 34 inches, 36 inches wide might be the smallest you want to consider.
- Fiberglass base: This style starts out with a prefab base, but you create your own walls, which can add a custom touch to your bathroom. Ceramic tile over wonderboard or similar waterproof material is a popular option, as the tile can be very attractive but also fairly easy to keep clean.
- Custom: If you want a unique shower and have a healthy budget, this style can be a great choice. It is similar to a fiberglass base shower, but you build a custom base out of mortar and a waterproof membrane. Custom showers can be any size. Materials such as ceramic tile, marble or even granite can be used for the base.
Costs can range across a wide spectrum depending on your choice of style, size, materials and the difficulty of connecting the plumbing. You may be able to have a small prefab unit installed for less than $1,000, but a large custom unit with a seat, several shower heads, and frameless doors could easily approach $5,000 or even higher.
Starting your project
Most home improvement stores, plumbing distributors, and kitchen and bath design centers sell shower enclosures, pans, and plumbing fixtures, including these products made by popular manufacturers:
- Fiberglass showers and pans--Aqua Glass, American Standard, Sterling, Swanstone
- Plumbing fixtures--Delta, Kohler, Sterling
- Ceramic tile--Daltile, American Olean, Florida Tile
Fiberglass showers and pans are normally available in white, beige and almond, but other colors may be available from some manufacturers.
Adding a shower can be a complicated project depending on where your plumbing lines are located and how much demolition is involved. If you are an experienced DIYer, you might attempt the job, but most homeowners would be wise to hire a contractor for the project. Filling out the form on this page can help you connect with a local contractor.