ADDING SPACE & ARTISTIC FLAIR TO BATHROOMS EVERYWHERE
If you’re preparing for a bathroom renovation, be sure to read this article first. We’re about to discuss a trend that has taken over modern, minimalist bathroom design … the curbless shower. If you think curbs are for roads only, you’re in for a surprise. Just like a road curb, the usual bathtub and shower each have a curb of different heights you must step over as you enter the space. No so for the curbless shower – you simply walk right in. A curbless shower makes the bathroom look larger and brighter. It can also be safer and more useful depending on the people who live in your household.
NO NEED TO GO OVERBOARD
If you’re renovating in hopes of selling your home, getting rid of all the tubs will exclude families with small children. If you’re not planning to sell to families, by all means, curbless showers for every bathroom!
But let’s say you have only one full bathroom in your home; then a shower/tub combo may work best. But be advised, the bathroom space needs to be large enough to add a stand-alone shower. If you have multiple bathrooms with bathtubs you can think about:
Replacing the tub in a guest bathroom with a shower-only unit.
If there’s a tub in your master bathroom, consider keeping it for resale purposes.
If you’re already living in your forever home, and you never use the bathtub, this is a great time to replace it with a curbless shower.
HOW MUCH SPACE DO YOU HAVE?
Psychological studies show that efficiently organized, modernized spaces have positive psychological benefits that can help people reduce anxiety. Psychology Today wrote about how excess clutter and other unnecessary stimuli make it difficult to relax physically and mentally. Other studies show that being in a more open environment helps people feel calmer, more positive, and rejuvenated than being in a cramped space.
If you have a small bathroom, a walk-in shower may be the right choice. Since a standard tub is about 15 square feet and a curbless shower is around 12 square feet of floor space. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but an additional three square feet of space can make a difference in a small bathroom.
WHO WILL USE IT?
Stepping over the curb of a bathtub or shower may not be a big deal to you. However, whether due to age or disability, others may not be able to perform this movement with ease. Also, they may need a bench to sit on once they get in and railings for safety.
Depending on the plan for the future of your house, whether selling or staying, think about either your potential buyers or the people in your household. Young, busy couples tend to prefer curbless (aka walk-in) showers to bathtubs; and older adults or people with mobility issues or other disabilities find a curbless shower much easier to enter.
PROS OF HAVING A CURBLESS SHOWER
You can use the same ceramic tile on your new shower floor surface and throughout the rest of the bathroom. This creates more visual design continuity throughout and makes the room appear larger.
Ceramic tile is an inorganic material so it’s naturally resistant to mold and bacteria. Eventually soap scum and other organic substances can build up on surfaces and grow in the moisture created by the humidity of a shower. Ensure there’s a vent or window you can open to lessen the moisture build-up. Also, clean the shower regularly. Water is often enough to clean ceramic tile, but if you need something stronger, use a neutral cleaner that’s formulated for tile and grout.
SHOWER CURTAIN BE GONE
The curbless shower will require waterproofing an area larger than the shower pan. That means you won’t need a shower curtain or a door. Some people install a glass partition, but you don’t really need one. Not if the waterproofing is done correctly.
As you’ve probably noticed, shower curtain liners collect water and soap scum that in turn create the perfect environment for bacteria, mildew, and mold. Glass shower doors become cloudy with mineral and soap deposits, and the door tracks are darn near impossible to keep clean. Getting rid of the shower curtain or glass shower door eliminates the extra cleaning – and everyone loves that!
FLAUNT YOUR STYLE
Curbless layouts are not limited to modern design alone. A wide variety of ceramic tile colors, textures, and shapes allow you to display your own creative style.
Without walls and shower curtains to create visual barriers, you can show off the artful details of the ceramic tile.
A LITTLE PAMPERING NEVER HURT ANYONE
If money is no object and luxury is your goal, radiant heat can be installed under a bathroom floor, and you can even go as far as adding it in the shower – both bench and flooring. Radiant heat costs more, but the comfort level (who doesn’t love going barefoot in the middle of winter?), energy savings, and your home’s higher resale value will be worth it in the long run. There are two options for radiant heating in bathrooms – electric and hydronic.
There are by far more pros than there are cons to having a curbless shower. However, you need to consider the cons before you make your decision.
If not installed correctly, water from a curbless shower can go everywhere. There are a few ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. The most important is to ensure you hire a tile specialist that knows what he/she is doing.
Here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
The shower floor should slope away from the entrance.
A rain showerhead fixture helps contain the water within a smaller space.
A curved shower wall can help guide the water to the drain as opposed to spraying it all over the room.
If you’re not used to people walking in on you while you’re in the bathroom, ensure you lock the door.
Adding a curbless shower to your remodeled bathroom space creates feelings of inclusivity, accessibility, and serenity, as well as meeting your physical needs as you age. Low-maintenance ceramic tile creates a healthier bathroom environment since regular, routine cleaning can be achieved using water only.