Bathtub to Shower Conversion: What You Need to Know

Read Time (
August 18, 2023
Robern Design Solutions

Are you thinking about converting your bathtub into a shower? If so, you're not alone. More and more homeowners are making this switch every day. Converting a bathtub into a shower can potentially add to your home’s value and make your daily routines more convenient. Of course, a bathtub to shower conversion is an extensive project that requires careful planning and execution.

A hand holding a pencil appears to be drawing the last segment of a partially sketch-based, partially realistic 3D bathroom interior, with elements like a bathtub, shelves, and a shower transitioning from sketches to their realistic counterparts.
By ArchiVIZ

This article will cover everything you need to know about a bathtub conversion to a shower and when it may be a worthwhile investment.

Is a Bathtub to Shower Conversion Right for You?

When you're trying to decide whether to keep your bathtub or convert it into a shower, there are a few important factors to consider:

Budget and Cost

Although the average cost for a bathtub to shower conversion ranges anywhere from $1,800 to more than $4,500, the cost of your project will vary depending on several factors. The main ones include:

  • The size of your current bathtub and overall bathroom layout
  • The type of shower you're looking to install
  • The materials and fixtures used, such as tiling and shower heads
  • Plumbing and electrical modifications

If you're trying to stick to a budget, it's a good idea to start with a rough estimate for the overall project cost before you begin. That way, you can prioritize each step of the process and make sure that no part of the conversion is being overlooked.

DIY vs. Contractor

Once you have a budget in mind, you'll want to decide whether you should do it yourself or hire a professional. There are pros and cons to both options. If you decide to do it yourself, it will likely save you money so long as you know what you're doing. However, it's important to keep in mind that this is a big project. If you're not experienced in home improvement, it's probably best to hire a contractor, which could also ultimately save you money (and frustration) should something go wrong during a DIY installation.

Water Usage

Showers typically use less water than tubs because baths require more water for filling. In fact, most modern showers have lower water usage rates than tubs.

Space Limitations

Generally, tubs take up more space in the bathroom, which can be especially troublesome for compact rooms.

Style and Inspiration

One of the biggest considerations for any bathtub to shower conversion is your desired look. This will help determine many design elements and materials involved in the new shower setup. For example, your choice of materials for a rustic shower may differ from a minimalist approach.

You should consider any design inspiration you're looking to emulate, such as a certain type of shower or décor style. Explore bathroom design ideas online or visit a local showroom to get inspired.

Personal Preferences

Of course, it’s important to realize that showers don’t make sense in every situation. Some people prefer relaxing in a bathtub and unwitting from the day's stresses rather than standing in a shower. (If that’s the case, then converting to a shower may not be the right project to pursue, and you’ll save yourself some time and money.)

Functionality and Frequency of Use

Think about how much use the tub currently gets and consider what is best for your household. If your household includes a multi-generational family, a shower may be more accommodating than a tub. And if you never have time for baths or your tub is constantly cluttered with laundry or other household items, it might be time for a change.

End Goals

Is a bathtub to shower conversion going to be the only update you make, or is it part of a larger project? If you're planning on remodeling the rest of the bathroom, you'll want to keep your timelines design goals in mind. This will help streamline the process and ensure that everything matches in the end.

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Converting Your Bathtub Into a Shower: The Steps Involved 

If you've decided that converting your bathtub into a shower is the right decision, there are certain steps to help the project to run smoothly. Below is a general outline of what needs to be done:

Removing the Tub

First, you’ll need to remove all existing fixtures (e.g., faucets, handles) from the tub. This involves using a caulk remover or a putty knife around the edges of the tub. Then, it’s time to carefully remove the tub from the bathroom, as well as any remaining debris or old caulk.

Installing the Shower

A close-up of a round shower head lying on top of architectural blueprints, surrounded by various plumbing tools like wrenches and pipe cutters.
By Daisy Daisy

Next, you’ll need all the supplies necessary to create a bathtub to shower conversion kit. This may include fixtures such as showerheads, faucets, valves, and handles, as well as materials for the door, floor, walls, and ceiling. Another common option is to install a glass-enclosed shower. This step requires new plumbing and caulking.

This is, of course, a simplified overview of the steps involved in a bathtub to shower conversion. The actual process will vary depending on your specific bathroom setup and needs, as well as any modifications you decide to make along the way, or any issues you may encounter. It's important to either have the know-how or work with an experienced contractor who can help guide you through this process and ensure that everything is done properly.

When Is the Best Time for a Bathtub to Shower Conversion? 

If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, it may be a good idea to wait until the spring or summer months. This way, you can avoid any potential delays due to bad weather or frozen pipes.

The best time for a bathtub to shower conversion will also depend on your specific living situation. If you're in a two-bathroom home, you'll be able to use the other bathroom for daily routines. However, if you only have one bathroom, you'll have to take that into consideration when planning your project timeline, since your bathroom could be out of commission for a few days or even weeks.

Enjoy a Stylish Shower In Your Home

A modern bathroom interior with warm lighting, featuring a sleek vanity with a mirror above it, black-framed glass partition, and a small stool with towels on the side.

A bathtub to shower conversion can breathe new life into an old bathroom—and it might even add value to your home in the long run. By considering all the factors involved and taking care not to rush through the process, you can ensure that your newly converted shower will function beautifully and last for years to come.

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