Adding luxury to your home with a new shower

If your bathroom could use a little love, it’s a smart place to spend money. Behind kitchens, bathrooms provide the second best return on investment when remodeling.

Bathroom remodeling contractor Dan Updike says many of his customers are choosing to ditch bulky tubs in favor of more luxurious showers.

“The bathing generation is kind of gone by the wayside,” said Updike. “So rather than have the bathtub that you lift your leg over that’s a confined space, if you put in a large shower it’s more of the spa–type shower.”

“The trend these days is to convert bathtubs into showers,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “There are so many choices when it comes to showers, and they potentially take up less space than the large garden tubs that have been historically in homes. Also, if you are a homeowner that wants to age in place – wants to grow old in your home – a shower can be a safer alternative for you.”

When it comes to walk–in showers, the design options are nearly endless. They can be customized to fit just about any size, shape or lifestyle.

“As far as options for the shower, with the older generation possibly, the grab bars, maybe some corner seats, hand held showers, things like that. Inside shampoo holders or corner shelves, we always have some type of shelving go into the unit. Frameless shower doors so it’s more glass, less metal, and then it’s a matter of what to put on the shower walls, whether it’s tile with accent trim tile or to go to the solid surface wall systems,” added Updike.

Updike says converting a standard five–foot tub into a shower typically starts around $4,500, but prices can quickly increase depending on the materials and options you choose.

“If you want to go tub to a shower, it’s very simple to do. You just need to move plumbing a little bit for the new setup,” Updike said. “Other than that they make shower bases the same size as bathtubs. We normally use solid surface bases rather than, say, plastic or fiberglass. They are very heavy duty and come in a variety of colors to coordinate whether it’s tile on the walls or solid surface wall panels.”

While nearly every bathtub can be converted into a shower, it’s not always the best idea.

“Replacing a tub for a shower is not for everyone. If you only have one bathroom in your house, you want to be sure you keep a tub, because what will end up happening is you’ll hurt your resale value, because families with kids, they like tubs and without one it could hurt you,” said Hicks.

Angie’s List says this is a job best left for the professionals, so make sure you hire a reputable contractor. If the company has a showroom, go check it out. Being able to visualize your project before it gets underway can help define your expectations and illustrate how design and layout choices will work.