Figuring out the right shower pan to use can be a pain. Do you get a traditional shower base with a 4 to 5” step over curb? Would a low-profile curb (which is 1 ½” tall) be the ticket or would it allow water to spill out onto the bathroom floor? Could you ditch the shower curb entirely and choose a ramped entry or one level wet room?
I’ve talked to thousands of homeowners over the last 20 years (wow – has it been that long?) about shower pan options, and I’ll tell you the case for blowing up the shower curb (having no threshold at all) has never been stronger! In this article I’m determined to lay out 5 compelling reasons you should seriously consider going with a curbless shower for your next bathroom remodeling project. Let me know at the end of the article whether you agree with these reasons or whether I’m all wet (OK – that’s a bad attempt at bathroom humor).
You might have heard the saying “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” Sometimes a challenge can happen in our lives which not only affects us physically, but also emotionally. The key is to fight through life’s “lemons” (challenges) and to make some “lemonade” (personal victories).
An excellent example of making some “lemonade” is the story of Karen Lee Gast who suffered a stroke in November 2014. Not only was her physical mobility reduced (she now uses the assistance of a wheelchair) but she endured the mental challenge of seeing her independence reduced as a result of the stroke. Simple daily tasks (like showering on her own) – were no longer simple….and required the assistance of her daughter Julie (Morgan) who is of constant support to Karen.
While Karen is grateful for her daughter’s help (although Karen says she can be a wee-bit overprotective at times!) she wanted to regain more independence in her home and control over her life. This desire for independence led Karen to do an extensive bathroom remodeling in her home in Akron Ohio. Let’s take a look at why this remodel was necessary.
The old bathroom
After Karen’s stroke the existing master bathroom just didn’t work. Here were some of the problems with the old space:
The doorway was too small to comfortably roll the wheelchair in.
There were no grab bars to safely transfer from the chair into the shower.
The old stand up 3’ x 3’ fiberglass shower with a framed metal pivoting door was way too small and difficult to get into.
With these challenges Karen was not only not able to use the master bathroom (which is conveniently located right off her bedroom). She had to use a smaller bathroom in the home and could only shower on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when her daughter Julie could come over to help her. This showering process in this old bathroom took one hour of each of their time. The bottom line was there was no way to make the convenient master bathroom an accessible space without extensive modifications and a full remodel.
In the article below learn 3 critical steps which transformed Karen’s bathroom into an accessible, low maintenance, safe and stylish room she can use without being dependent on others. This now allows her and Julie to do other things (or just spend quality Mom and daughter time together).
I’m sure you’ve heard terms like kid-proofing, soundproofing, and waterproofing but you might be asking what the heck is “future-proofing” and why do I need to do it for my bathroom? When I had a recent conversation with the Operations Manager of Cleveland Design and Remodeling he said to me, “Mike – the key to a bathroom remodel which is built not only to last, but to work for its owners in the long run, is to future-proof the space.” I wasn’t 100% sure what John meant by “future-proofing” so I looked it up. Here’s the Wikipedia definition.
Futureproofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects and shocks and stresses of future events.
OK – you might say – while I’d like to anticipate the future most of us would admit we’re no Nostradamus and we don’t work for the Psychic Friends Hotline either! So how can you and I anticipate the future (and the “shocks” which come from it) to design a bathroom today we don’t have to re-remodel (is that even a word?) tomorrow? The key according to John is to focus on 2 ideas:
1) Learn to use specific construction techniques and products to win the battle vs. the elements (things like water penetration, air infiltration and home movement)
2) Either learn how to reverse the effects of aging (not sure we’re up to tackling the steps to do this) or use ideas to design a bathroom which allows you to stay in your home as you get older.
Let’s take a look at these two areas in more detail below.
When I told my potential customer Anne I was a “Certified Aging in Place Specialist” (this is an earned certification through the National Association of Home Builders to learn techniques and products to help people stay in their homes longer) she said to me, “Who the heck (I’ve changed the word here to keep it clean) wants to age in place? What do I look like some kind of rock?” I had to laugh and completely agree with Anne. She went on to say, “Mike I want a stylish bathroom which not only works for me today…..but for a good many tomorrows as well!”
I could not have said it better. Whether the aging process causes your abilities (the ability to move, ability to see and ability to sense) to not be what they used to be or a family member has had a challenging life event which has impacted them – everyone should be able to enjoy a luxury bathroom (assuming their budget allows).
The practical question is, how do you make this happen? What product and design considerations are important? In the article below I’ll give you 5 essential tips to get rid of common bathroom product and design barriers so you can get the luxury bathroom you deserve.
When most people think about a one level (curbless) shower the words which come to mind are – Grandma, wheelchair, roll in, walker and handicapped. While a curbless shower certainly can be a need for grandma in a wheelchair or a person with mobility challenges to safely enjoy their shower, it’s about much more than that. From my experience a one level shower can be cool, contemporary, stylish all while providing a functional design which will work for life. Let’s take a look at 7 myths about one level showers and bust them wide open.
Gabi Karpowicz was faced with a challenge – how to redesign her master bathroom (located in the Hilliard suburb of ColumbusOhio) to add style, make it easier to safely care for her mother in law and increase the total functionality of the space. Learn below how Gabi and her husband Joe (along with Columbus Glass Block division of Innovate Building Solutions) used 7 different space and product selection strategies to elevate the functionality, design and style of this master bathroom without having to totally redo the space.
A recent survey from Philips and Georgetown University reports that 96 percent of baby boomers place high priority on maintaining independence as they age, but more than one-third of those surveyed are unsure if they can afford the upgrades to support “aging in place” in their homes. Fortunately, Innovate Building Solutions offers a variety of products across a wide-range of price points that enhance safety, accessibility and style.
The need to ditch the bathtub has never been higher. With the desire of older homeowners to age in place, and fewer people having the time to take baths, the number of bathtub to shower conversions has been growing steadily. While tub to shower replacements are not a new concept you’ll learn in the video and article below 4 ½ new ideas to add both function and style to these projects.
Luxury roll in shower with a stationary shower screen
Physical mobility challenges should not prevent someone from having a stylish bathroom – no matter how big your bathroom is! If you, or a loved one, is in a wheelchair it is now possible to remodel a bathroom and design a roll in shower which is both stylish and functional. Learn below 3 steps to make a roll in shower really look sharp.
Barrier free shower pan from AKW for an accessible wet room
As people are looking to stay in their homes longer the need for accessible showers has never been greater. Since most people have not remodeled their bathrooms for accessibility they generally have a lot of questions going into the process. Some of these questions might include:
What is needed to make a showering space accessible? What is the difference between a zero threshold shower and one that is barrier free?
What options are available in zero threshold showers? Can they be used with various types of floors?
Who(m) can install this type of product? Is it something I can do myself?
Do I need to follow ADA guildelines?
Where can I get a shower base and the proper accessories to make my space accessible and also provide a way for a caregiver to assist in the showering process?
The article below will provide answers to these questions and also offer some information on what type of accessible showering system to consider: