How to Convert a Tub to a Shower

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Converting your tub to a shower is a practical and stylish upgrade to any bathroom. This conversion will help to make your bathroom look and feel bigger, while increasing the function and usability of your shower. This is especially important for homeowners who are older or have limited mobility.

With an extra hand or two, any homeowner with DIY experience can do this job without the help of a contractor.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking on a project like this, don’t worry. The cost to install a new shower is comparable to purchasing a shower kit to install yourself, which is around $2,000.

Tools and Materials

Before you get started, gather the following supplies:

  • Plywood
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Putty knife or utility knife
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Prybar
  • Jigsaw
  • Shower kit

Decide Whether You Want a Curbed or Curbless Shower

Before starting your project, you will want to decide what style of shower you want. A curbed shower has a pan-like floor that has low curbs that raise up to enclose the shower. A curbless shower has no low curbs, there is a shower pan that is flush with the rest of your shower. Curbed showers typically cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000, while a curbless shower is a little more expensive with the cost ranging from $1,800 to $3,000.

Along with deciding whether to go with a curbed or curbless shower, you will have to decide if you want to use a shower kit, or do a custom shower.

We recommend using a shower kit because they are inexpensive and the easiest DIY-able shower installation.

Map Out Your Shower Space

If your tub is an older model and made of alcove or any synthetic plastic, your removal will be easy and will leave you with a good space for your shower. About 30-inches to 35-inches and 5 feet wide.

Since this space used to house your bathtub, the plumbing is already in place and will require slight modifications. Moving your plumbing will increase the cost of your project and will require professional help.

Tear Out Tiles and Drywall

To start this project, you will need to start removing any tile and drywall around your tub so you can easily remove it.

  1. Cover your bathroom floor with plywood or tarp and turn off the water to the bathroom.
  2. Use your screwdriver and Allen wrench to remove the drain cover, shower curtain rod, faucet knobs and any other fixtures in the area.
  3. Next, disconnect the main and overflow drains by using your wrench. Turn counterclockwise to turn the locking nut.
  4. Remove any tile around your tub using your putty knife. Cut the grout and pry the tile off.
  5. Once the tile is removed, mark lines on the drywall around your tub. Cut and follow this line of your drywall. Be careful not to cut into any studs.
  6. Remove the drywall around your tub space. This should be three separate walls.

Remove Your Old Tub

Removing your tub should be an easy task once your tile and drywall are removed.

  1. Remove any nails or screws that may be attaching your tub to the surrounding walls.
  2. Using your utility knife, cut through any caulk around the tub and floors.
  1. With some help, use your prybar to lift one end of your tub and wiggle it out of place.
  2. If your tub is bigger and you don’t think it will fit through your door, use your saw and cut the tub in pieces that will fit through.
  3. Throw all materials out, but be sure to dispose properly. We recommend renting a dumpster for this part of your project. Most towns will not let you leave old materials on your curb for pickup.

Install Your Shower Kit

Depending on the shower floor style you chose, your shower kit will either have a curbed or curbless floor pan. If you chose the curbless floor pan, make sure your floor is low enough to allow the pan to fit properly and flush with your bathroom flooring.

The installation steps will be different for both, so pay special attention to the directions on the packaging.

Follow the instructions on your shower kit and you will be on your way to a brand-new shower conversion.