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What Makes a Shower Safer than a Tub?

Just like every home is unique, every shower conversion is different too. There are a number of aspects that influence the process. Some, like the floor plan of your bathroom, are out of your control, but there are many that you can control.

For example, you can choose whether or not you use a contractor, and you can decide which materials and designs you use.

Factors to Consider

No matter your situation, you want to ensure you make informed decisions leading up to and during your conversion process. Here are some things to consider.

DIY vs. Contractor

The average cost of repairing water damage from plumbing leaks is $1,000 to $4,000— and it can be even higher if the leak goes unnoticed for a long time and causes damage to:

• Framing
• Insulation
• Subfloor

One of the first things to decide is whether you will use a contractor or go the DIY route. Before deciding, there are a few things to take into consideration.

• Cost
• Time
• Expertise
• Access to Materials

Cost

At first glance, doing it yourself seems to be cheaper, but it’s important to look at all the costs. If something goes wrong, it may cost more to fix it later. 

For example, imagine the potential damage caused by leaks in adjusted plumbing. Once you decide it all looks good and seal it up there’s no way to fix it.

With a wall and tile over top, it could be a long time before you discover the leak behind the shower wall. No matter how much you enjoy your new shower, it won’t last long in those conditions.

Shower DIYs deliver the satisfaction of seeing your own handiwork, but there are downsides. DIY work means no warranty, no guarantees, and no expert to identify necessary repairs. This often makes hiring a professional cheaper in the long run.

Unforeseen problems can be reduced or eliminated by a certified Five Star Bath Solutions technician by your side. They are trained, certified, and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to give you the best product possible. Additionally, Five Star Bath Solutions provides you with a lifetime warranty.

Time

Before you decide to do it yourself, it’s also important to take an honest look at your calendar, schedule, and lifestyle. Do you have the time to put in the work? The amount of free time you have can be the difference between your project taking a few days or a few weeks—or longer.

Things to consider:

  • How long can you go without this bathroom?
  • How long will your water need to be shut off?
  • How long can you live in a construction zone?

Additionally, take a look at the tools and materials you will need for your conversion. Are they currently available?

With the current supply-chain crisis resulting in so many products on backorder, this will certainly influence your timeline—even before you start your project.  When exploring the range of materials available, a contractor may have tips, tricks, and industry contacts that will allow you to get the right products at the right time.

Expertise

If You Have Prior Experience

The end result of your shower conversion will also be directly influenced by your level of expertise. If you have previous experience, the DIY route may be a great choice for you.

If You Don’t Have Prior Experience

If you have little to no experience, the final product of your shower may be lacking if you

choose to do it yourself. Many homeowners go DIY only to get halfway in and realize they’re in over their head. Worse yet, they realize too late they’ve done something wrong.

Just like your level of expertise will affect your DIY project, a contractor’s expertise will affect the final outcome as well. That’s why it’s crucial to choose someone who has the skills and experience to deliver the results you’re looking for.

Contractor Benefits

Although doing it yourself can definitely save you money in some areas, there are also many benefits you can only get with a contractor. Things like…

  • High-end products unavailable to regular consumers
  • Luxury shower space
  • Design suggestions and 3D renderings
  • Warranties on labor and materials

High-End Products

Contractors often have access to high-end products you can’t get at your local home improvement store. 

When you hire a contractor, their professional suppliers offer quality materials and products that will help your dream bathroom last for years. Five Star Bath Solutions provides bathrooms made with exclusive materials that are waterproof for life.

Warranties

Warranties are another huge benefit of hiring someone. Good contractors guarantee their work and offer you protection with warranties, like the lifetime warranty from Five Star Bath Solutions.

In case of any mishaps or unforeseen circumstances, you can get your bathroom fixed and perfected at no extra cost. You can’t get that when you do it yourself!

Design Consulting

Additionally, contractors can help you visualize how all of your choices will come together when you’re planning your shower conversion end result.

Some contractors bring material samples, textures, and catalogs. Seeing them in real life helps visualize what the product will look like.

Even better but more rare, some contractors use 3D design programs to show you exactly what your bathroom will look like once finished, no guessing involved.

Luxury Shower Space

For a high-end luxury finish, the professional products and expertise that contractors offer

may be what you need. Hiring trained and experienced experts certainly costs more upfront than doing it yourself, but it also ensures your bathroom benefits from premium craftsmanship.

Finding Problems During Take Down

There’s also the reality that DIY projects often run into issues once the walls come down:

  • Plumbing needs to be adjusted
  • Rot you didn’t expect
  • Mold
  • Severe water damage

Problems always popup that complicate even simple projects. A team of trained professionals would be ready for anything, as opposed to the DIY route where you may find yourself in over your head.

Steps to Take

If you decide to hire a contractor and accept all the benefits that come with that, here’s what you need to do next:

  1. Get A Bid
  2. Establish Expectations
  3. Document Everything
  4. Check-In Regularly
  5. Give Feedback

Out-of-the-Box Solutions: Shower Kits

If you decide DIY is the best option in your shower conversion project, a shower kit will be the easiest way for you to do it yourself.

There are many companies, like Kohler or American Standard, that create DIY shower kits containing everything you’ll need for your shower conversion.

Some are simpler than others—it depends on the shower you want and the kit you buy. But no

matter where you buy a kit, the first step is choosing which shower kit best fits your needs.

Bathtub Base Conversion Kit

The simplest shower conversion kit deals only with the base wall of your existing tub. This is a great choice if safety is your reason for converting to a shower. These conversion kits allow you to cut out and create an entrance in your tub, lowering the threshold so the user only needs to lift their foot a few inches.

All you need to do is follow the instructions to cut out the right size before installing the new step-in.

Base & Door Kit

Base and door kits include the base, door, and some sort of glass enclosure. These kits vary—you can create a corner shower or transform your tub alcove into a glass shower. You can choose between:

  • Sliding doors
  • Bifold doors
  • Pivot shower doors

However, all base and door kits require you to have at least two tiled walls because these kits won’t provide you with them.

Know the Pros and Cons of Shower Kits

ProsCons
Quick off-the-shelf solution No design consultation
Minimizes decision-making Limited design choices
DIY-friendly No moisture-meter test
Generally costs less No warranties or guarantees
Cookie-cutter solution

Pro Tip: Get Accurate Measurements

Measure the space before you choose your shower kit.

  1. Measure the height, from the base to the top of the tiled wall or wall unit.
  2. Measure the depth from the back wall to the front of the alcove or enclosure.
  3. For corner showers, measure from the corner, moving outward on both walls.

For all measurements, measure in two places to ensure accuracy. In the case of measurement differences, use the larger number for your shower kit dimensions. It’s important to be thorough.

This is why the contractors’ mantra is measure twice, cut once!

Base & Wall Kit

Base and wall kits don’t require tiled walls or a premade alcove. With these kits, you have more freedom when it comes to where to put the shower. Like the base and door kits, these base and wall kits can create a corner or alcove shower.

Notably different, this kit doesn’t come with a door. Some customers like that they can have

a custom door or simple shower curtain.

Base, Wall, & Door Kit

Base, wall, and door kits have it all. Create a new shower or start fresh with your existing

bathing area with these shower kits.

These kits are more expensive than the others, but if you want everything you need with step-by-step instructions, this type of kit is the best option.

How Long Does a Shower Conversion Take?

One of the biggest questions you want to ask yourself is: How long does a shower conversion take?

It depends on your contractor (or you), the design, and the current bathroom situation. For example, some projects can take 2-3 days while some take 3-4 weeks, or even months. Some shower kits are simple enough to install in a day. Other more extensive projects will take longer.

While some contractors promise that your project will go off without a hitch, they’re often unavailable for weeks or months after you hire them.

Five Star Bath Solutions Can Start Sooner and Finish Faster

Fortunately, Five Star Bath Solutions has a solid answer for you! We specialize in 1-2 day shower conversions. We’re in and out so you can enjoy your new shower as soon as possible. Because we focus solely on bathroom conversions, your project will be underway far sooner than any competitor could promise.

The process of converting a tub to a shower involves various factors that need to be carefully considered. One of the key decisions is whether to go the DIY route or hire a contractor. While DIY may seem initially cost-effective, it's crucial to account for potential issues, lack of warranties, and the need for expertise. 

Hiring a contractor offers benefits like access to high-end products, design consulting, warranties on labor and materials, and professional craftsmanship. However, it's important to choose a reliable and experienced contractor. 

Alternatively, for those opting for a DIY approach, shower kits provide off-the-shelf solutions with different levels of complexity. 

Accurate measurements and thorough planning are essential when using shower kits. The duration of the conversion process can vary depending on the design, contractor availability, and the scope of the project. 

Ultimately, making informed decisions and considering individual circumstances will lead to a successful tub-to-shower conversion that meets your needs and preferences.

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