News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

9 Mistakes with a Barrier Free Shower System You Don’t Want to Make

9 mistakes with a barrier free shower system you don't want to make | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPanel #LaminatePanels #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 24, 2019

Perhaps you find yourself in one of these situations and are kicking around a barrier free shower system:

  • Mom is not moving around so well. You’re considering having her live with you. You’re not sure how to make your home and bathroom safe.
  • Your spouse got hurt at work. Climbing over the tub to take a shower is an accident waiting to happen.
  • Your son was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He’s now in a wheelchair. Life won’t be the same. You need to design a shower which works for him and won’t add to his (already) frustrated state of mind.

In my years helping people with one level, walk in and barrier free showers, I’ve experienced all 3 situations above.

Life happens. Reduced mobility gets in the way of living the way you’d like. Showers and bathrooms by their nature (as wet spaces) can be dangerous to people with (and without) problems getting around.

When you’re faced with mobility challenges – whether it’s a natural part of the aging process, an accident, or a temporary health bump in the road – figuring out the perfect shower system can be a hassle. You may be asking questions like these:

  • What do I need to know about safe shower systems? More importantly, how can I get up to speed QUICKLY?
  • Should I trust my contractor? They ‘seem’ like they know what they’re doing, but they’re also in a big rush to get to the next appointment. They only offered me one option. Is it the right one?
  • Do I have to cut into the structure of the home (i.e. the joists below the floor) to make a barrier free shower?

My goal with this article is simple. I want to get you up to speed quickly, not only on barrier free shower pans, but more importantly I’d like you to view one level showers as a system of products (not just a single component that slapped into the bottom of your bathroom floor) which makes showering for someone with limited mobility simpler. I’d like to give you a deeper level of insight beyond the the ‘old-school-methods’ (used by too many contractors IMHO) of dropping the floor and pouring concrete.

Simply, I want to make sure you don’t make the 9 mistakes I’ve seen people end up ‘living with’ after it’s too late when a barrier free shower is done wrong. Let’s check out the 9 mistakes so you don’t fall into them. I’ll start with the shower pan and work my way up.

Mistake #1 (the floor)– You don’t know there are multiple options in barrier free shower pans

Just because your builder or contractor provides you with one solution for your project doesn’t mean it’s the only one (or the right one). If you think about it do you take everything your local or national politicians say as the gospel, just because they’re in a position of authority? I rather doubt it (especially in today’s day and age!). So, don’t stop at one solution because it’s what your contractor recommends. I’ve listed 4 popular options for barrier free shower bases:

Ramped solid surface or stone shower panWith this pan there is a ramp which slopes up when you enter and slopes down to the drain. It installs like a traditional shower pan on top the subfloor. These units are available in multiple colors, are sturdy and waterproof since they are a man-made stone (they are also referred to as cultured granite or cultured marble bases), and have textured bottoms so they are safe.

Ramped roll in stone solid surface pan | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerBase #StoneBase #ShowerRemodel

Ramped acrylic or fiberglass shower pan – This pan is the same as the one above except it’s made of lesser cost materials (acrylic and fiberglass) and (usually) is installed into a mortar bed. This base will flex some as it’s walked or rolled into (not a good thing). If you choose to use this type of base I would recommend one which is designed to be a ‘no-sag acrylic shower pan.’ If you’re not sure about that I get it. A no-sag acrylic base has been built on top a layer of MDF. It’s far more sturdy than the cheap unit you grab and go at your local home center store. The base below used a no-sag acrylic shower pan.

Low profile acrylic shower pan with a concealed drain | Innovate Building Solutions
This is a low profile contemporary acrylic shower pan is built on an MDF core below so it won’t sag when you enter it

Drop the floor framing – With this method the framing of the floor is dropped 4” below the rest of the subfloor so you have 2 x 8 joists under the shower floor vs. 2” x 12” framing underneath the rest of the bathroom floor. This 4” drop is then lined with a waterproof member and concrete is poured and sloped to the drain. This system is simpler to do in new construction than in a renovation project.

One level pre-engineered wet room systemsThese systems are commonplace in Europe and Asia. Since it uses a reinforced plastic base (which is the same material which is used on aircrafts because it’s light, and strong) and is only 7/8” tall, it can be set directly on the joists and sloped to a drain. This system is simple to put in new construction and remodeling projects.

Mistake #2 (the floor) – You don’t pay attention to types and location of the shower drain in the system you purchase  

Where your drain is located in your wood or concrete floor can be a pain in your drain (‘er that would be your wallet) if you buy a barrier free shower pan with a drain hole which doesn’t match up to what you have. Moving the drain in a concrete floor will involve a lot of cost (cutting the floor is time consuming) and dust. Moving the drain in a wood floor is less of a hassle – but if the joists run in the wrong direction, your time and cost goes up significantly.

Another reason you want to pay attention to drains is for long term maintenance. A curbless shower system which uses a linear drain can be finished with large format tiles. They are not only in style for sleek, contemporary bathrooms – but will save you time cleaning grout joints down the road.

Curbless shower system with a linear drain | Innovate Building Solutions | #RollinShower #ShowerBase #CurblessShower

Mistake #3 (the walls and enclosure) – You let your builder guide you on the best type of shower wall surround

There are many materials you can use on the walls inside your shower. They can be tile walls. They can be stone walls. They can be made of fiberglass, acrylic or PVC composites to name a few. There is one thing you can take to the bank as 100% truth with all these systems. Here it is:

In all cases your remodeler or builder WILL NOT be coming over your house to help you maintain them.

Yes, you heard that correct. I’ve never heard of a builder who offers to take away from their family time and come over to a previous customer’s house to help scrub dirt and mold off tile grout joints. They also don’t research cleaning solutions for the nasty brown dirt you can’t get off the bottom of your fiberglass shower pan.

Shower Base Basics cover page

Get Our Ultimate Shower Base Guide!

Step Up Your Bathroom by Stepping Down Your Shower Pan!

Here’s what I know. As I get older I want to enjoy life more, maintain my house less (and if you talk to my wife you’d KNOW that’s true!). Especially when you’re looking for wall surrounds for a barrier free shower (where the people using them have a hard-enough time getting around) – low maintenance walls are super-important. For that reason, I recommend three products (2 of which are on the market now, 1 of which is coming in the Fall of this year). Here are my recommendations:

  • Decorative faux stone PVC composite walls (available today) – they are lightweight, simple to install and look just like natural stone.


  • Cultured granite wall panels (available today) – This material is 3/8” thick, available in 51 colors and not difficult to cut (that surprises a lot of people).


  • Tile-looking laminate wall panels  – While these panels may be new to the United States they are not new to the rest of the world (and have been sold in Europe for over 30 years). They look and feel like tile but are simply a high-pressure laminate shower wall panels which is applied over plywood. They are installed direct to the studs.
Tile looking laminate shower panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminatePanels #ShowerSysterm #DIYShowerPanels
Laminated – direct to stud- shower wall panels which are made in simple to install 2′ x 8′ sections

Mistake #4 (the walls and enclosure) – You assume a barrier free shower must be an open walk in shower

Some people don’t like a walk in or roll in shower.

Some people don’t like their butt exposed to the cold.

Some people don’t like their butt exposed. Period.

Let’s be real – walk in showers aren’t for everyone. Yes, it is simpler for a barrier free shower to be a walk in shower. With certain bases (the ramped versions discussed above) invariably a roll in shower is an open shower.

Glass enclosure with a flat floor barrier free shower system | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerSystem #BathroomRemodeling #TiledShowerBase

However, with a one level wet room shower or a dropped floor system, it’s not a problem to have a glass enclosure (or even a steam shower) which has a flat floor entry and is entirely enclosed.

Mistake #5 (the walls and enclosure) – You don’t plan for seating – or think you can’t get it if you have a small shower

Bringing a shower chair in and out of the shower daily is a pain (besides where do you put the doggone chair when it’s not in use?). No matter how large (or small) your shower is, don’t put up with this chair hassle.

If you’ve got a small shower (say 36” x 36”) a fold down bench seat can be put down when you need, it’s in the upright position when you don’t.

If you’ve got a moderate sized shower, corner bench seats (a 14” x 14” works well) are space-efficient and a sound decision.

For larger showers (60” wide and above) bench seats are a luxurious amenity.

If you’re not sure you want to put in seating today, add plywood backing behind your shower surround walls, so you have the support to install it later if you’d like.

Mistake #6 (the walls and enclosure) – You buy butt-ugly grab bars

Do you want to build a bathroom which will make it hard to sell your home later? A guaranteed way to make this happen is to install ‘grandma-special’ grab bars. You know what they look like from your last hospital stay.

Grab Bars for Shower Design | Innovate Building Solutions | #GrabBars #ShowerDesign #DreamShower

Today’s stylish grab bars can support someone who needs to transfer from a wheelchair to a seat, or just needs extra support, yet they look like decorative towel bars.

Safety and style are no longer mutually exclusive.

Mistake #7 (the walls and enclosure) – You don’t plan for product storage

I don’t mean to be a male chauvinist here, but the reality is most showers are ‘designed’ (I’ll use this term loosely here) by remodeling contractors and builders who are men (for the most part). When you look at shower enclosures shared by men and women (like my master shower), the amount of product ‘the dude’ has is limited to a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap. On the other hand, ‘the dudess’ knows A LOT OF PRODUCT IS CRITICAL.

As my wife Rose says, “the journey from wakeup to pretty keeps getting longer and longer as you age.” For me, I don’t worry about the need to ‘get pretty.’ I’ve accepted the fate of all the guys in my family. We are living with a dreaded disease you – known as U.M.D.. Don’t know what U.M.D. is? It stands for Ugly Man Disease. My sons and I are perfectly fine accepting that pretty ‘ain’t happening’ for us.

With this need to ‘get pretty’ a barrier free shower (or any shower for that matter) needs more places for storage than ever before (it’s kind of like your home’s need for better closets!). If you have small shower use recessed soap and shampoo niches which fits snuggly into the wall. If you’ve got more space, put towel and soap storage under a bench seat or inside large expanses niches in the wall.

Storage options are better (and more important) than ever.

Niche storage around a multi size glass block bathroom window | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomStorage #GlassBlock #ShowerDesign

Mistake #8 (the overall design) – Splish, splash, your bathroom floor is taking a bath!

You know your shower floor pan is going to get wet (if it doesn’t’ you’ve got other problems). However, you don’t want the floor in the bathroom to be a sopping mess. If that’s the case, and the bathroom floor isn’t properly waterproofed (and most of them aren’t waterproofed as well as the shower), you may get a leak into the floors below. That would not be a good day.

Leakage onto the bathroom floor is often caused by barrier walk in showers which are not designed properly. The cause of these errors is either (A) the glass enclosure is the wrong size/shape or (B) the location or type of shower head used is wrong. Let’s first look at the shape and size of the glass enclosure.

Glass enclosures which work in open barrier free showers

If you’ve got a small shower (60” wide or smaller) and want a doorless design, you’ll want to make sure you either have a pivoting door which you can pull in towards the shower (to bounce water back to the drain) or use a system like a curved glass block shower. These glass systems help keep water contained, even in smaller spaces.

Curved glass block shower base | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassBlockBase #ShowerBase #GlassBlockShowerWall

Shower heads which work in open barrier free showers

Wall mounted shower heads which shoot water directly at you are likely to spray water beyond the confines of the shower in a small space. One simple solution to rid yourself of this problem is to use a rain head. Rain heads come out of the ceiling and keep water directed down on your head in a tighter area. In addition, the water pressure in rain heads has improved dramatically in the last few years.

Mistake #9 (the overall design) – Designing for Mom or Grandma today can mean not selling your home without ripping out this shower tomorrow

A shower which is safe…. but looks like ‘grandma’ lives here will not be a hot seller. An effective ‘universal design’ (i.e. a universal design which will work for anyone) is not only safe, it’s stylish.

Who wants an ugly shower which reminds them of a hospital room? ‘Er, that would be NOBODY!

If you put in an ugly ramped fiberglass shower with ‘grandma grab bars,’ use a plastic shampoo holder over the shower head for soap and shampoo storage, prepare for your home to sit on the market. Worse yet a potential buyer may try to negotiate the pants off you, or make you replace the shower before they will buy your house.

An effective roll in, or barrier free shower is ‘tricked out.’ It looks contemporary and stylish…but will work for anyone. It’s not the impossible design dream. It can become your reality – with the right design.

Contemporary one level barrier free shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #OneLevelShower #Rollinshower #BarrierFreeShower


I hope you can see now a barrier free shower is about more than just the shower pan. An effective barrier free shower is a system which is stylish, functional and a place you (or a loved one) will (safely) enjoy showering in.

I know dealing with a family member who needs a barrier free shower is already stressful, without worrying about these construction and design decisions. That’s why I (and my company) would love to help you. Call the numbers below. Email us your questions. Comment below with more advice you need.

We’re here to help you!

How can I (or a member of my team) help you?

For assistance and factory-direct product supply of grout free shower wall panels, barrier free shower bases and glass enclosures nationwide contact Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. For a bathroom remodeling project in Northeast Ohio call Cleveland Design and Remodeling at 216-658-1270 or The Bath Doctor in Columbus at 614-252-3242.

If you’re a remodeler or builder and want practical advice on remodeling products, industry trends, marketing and sales tips to grow your business (and cut day to day hassles), start reading my newest blog – Innovate Builders Blog. It’s packed with ideas you can use now. Click here to Sign Up for the Innovate Builders Blog.

If you want to connect with me and/or learn more about remodeling, but don’t want to put up with my wacky humor (I get it). Follow me on Twitter @Mike Foti, or my companies @InnovateBuild or @InnovateHomeOrg.

Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (41)

  • Danielle – thanks for your feedback. You’re right – it would be a better world if all homes had a ‘universal/accessible’ bathroom – this way everyone could use it and the home would be safer. I think more builders and remodelers are embracing universal design concepts – but we still have a long way to go (there’s a lot to learn, but fortunately more products and companies are entering this portion of the market).

    Sure I’d always be open to someone editing my articles. I’m sure there’s always things which could be polished up. In reality – I’m a guy who focuses on running a business and writing as a way to educate others (and hopefully draw some people to our business) – but an English major – I’m not – ha! ha! And BTW I was a business major – which means I love working a calculator as well.

    Thanks for reading and sharing your input – Mike

  • Hi Mike,
    Thank you for your article. You provided a lot of useful information and you did it with a levity I enjoyed. My initial thought was that you missed an opportunity to include people with lifelong disabilities. I then reasoned that lifelong members of the disability community do not need to be convinced of the benefits of an accessible bathroom. I imagine your intent is to get people who don’t see the benefit of universal design to understand the benefits and how best to execute it, and I think you did that admirably. I also think it couldn’t hurt to include people with disabilities that aren’t the result of age or injury in your pitch. You provide a valuable and much needed service from which PWD benefit. Why not lean into that fully in recognition of the fact that standard design and construction ignores them entirely? If everyone had at least one accessible bathroom, the world would be a far better place.
    My other note is that the article is well written and (as all articles do) would benefit from the services of a rigorous editor. Writing, like shower doors, can never be too clean or too polished when used in a professional context. If you would like a complimentary edit of this article for your website, please feel free to reach out.

  • Berta – thanks for reaching out. We would be glad to assist you with your project – feel free to call 877-668-5888 – I may have you start by talking to Georgia. Mike

  • Mike, I stumble across your website as a result of looking for ideas for an addition to be added on to my existing townhouse that my husband and I live in. Without going into my background details; we are looking to have this work accomplish this spring. I live in Northern Virginia, Fairfax County, Alexandria, VA 22303 in a 2 bedrooms, two bathroom 3-levels attached townhouse. My husband, former Vietnam Veteran has handicaps issues and his symptoms are not improving. We don’t want to move & have decided to add on a Master Bedroom and bathroom off the 1st floor level. Your blog is very inspiring & I concur with a lot of the constractors’ workmenship you elaborated on. I will call your office tomorrow. My contact information is being provided a 2nd time during this visit of your website.

  • Patricia – thanks for your email. I’d be glad to talk to you to get more specific (you can call our office at 877-668-5888 and ask for Mike if you’d like) but here are a few thoughts

    1) Use a waterproof one level wet room system with a ‘linear drain.’ The linear drains move water away quicker than standard drains and the wet rooms will make sure your don’t get leaks in the levels below the bathroom floor.
    2) Consider using wall hung cabinets. These cabinets then won’t get wet if any water comes out of the shower area and onto the ‘waterproof’ bathroom floor.
    3) Get rid of the tile and go with stylish grout free shower wall panels. These panels can look like tile without the hassle associated with tile.

    I hope these insights help you – call for more information – Mike

  • I have a small bathroom (5×8) and want a curbless shower with a bench in it. I definitely need the grab bars bc I am a clutz and fall a lot. Presently this bathtub gets clogged every month and I am afraid if I go with the curbless shower that I will have floods throughout my house. My bathroom has a lot of cabinets bc we have no storage downstairs for towels. So as you enter my bathroom, there is the tall storage cabinet, my vanity w/a storage cabinet, the toilet w/ a cabinet above it and then my tub and shower go across the back of my bathroom. There is a window in the shower too. I just don’t know how to design this to make it look nice, safe and most of all easy to clean. The previous owners tiled the ceiling which I cannot reach and it is filled with mildew. Can you give me some ideas? Tricia

  • Kathleen – sorry for your frustration with your bathroom remodeling project. While there are a lot of remodelers in the world, the ‘subset’ of qualified remodelers who are willing to try new products (and installation systems) AND do you project within many people’s budgets can be quite a bit smaller. However, with this being said here’s what I’d recommend. Since you’re trying to create a bathroom which will work with a ‘walker’ (which will likely mean what we call a ‘universal design’ you’ll want a contractor with this specific type of experience.

    One way to find this type of specialized contractor is to research ‘Age in Place’ contractors in your town. These are contractors (and people – I actually have this designation) who took classes to learn about designing bathrooms for people of all abilities.

    Second, you can reach out to your local chapter of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). These will likely be more reputable contractors (although – they’ll unlikely be the cheapest) who are working to educate themselves about new technologies and installation processes.

    If I can help you and/or your contractor with the systems you’ve read about (we actually wholesale them across the country) feel free to call 877-668-5888 and ask for Mike. I hope this gets you on the right path!

  • How do I find a contractor in my area who can remodel a modest master bathroom using your ideas? I want to take out the tub and expand the shower to create a roll in enclosed steam shower, I also want to make the entire floor waterproof so when I wash a very large service dog we don’t destroy the floor. Would it make sense to keep the existing tub and shower drain so there are two drains? I’ve had two companies out so far and neither came up with a good solution, a third company came out but their estimate was more then $70,000. My master bath is currently a tub, separate shower area, two sink vanity and toilet. I want to ditch the tub, enlarge the shower, have just one vanity (so I have more room for the walker) add some outlets (there is only one outlet now), put in an exhaust fan – and stay away from grout lines as much as possible! I am not moving any plumbing, just getting rid of one sink and the tub. Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions?
    Thank you

  • Renee – we would be glad to help you and even though the installation division of our business doesn’t service Michigan, we do have several installing dealers who do – who may be close enough to you to provide this service. I’ll send you an email with more articles and information. Feel free to call for more help – Mike 877-668-5888.

  • I am appreciative of your article. I will be building a modest yet modern looking bathroom in the Spring. I am in Michigan. Will you come this far? Also whatever info you have on innovative bathrooms in general is appreciated. I am using a bathtub in the design as well and I want a simple yet elegant look.


  • Suzanne – thanks for your question. Yes – you can most certainly use cultured marble or cultured granite shower wall panels. They’re durable and built like a rock (both literally and figuratively). However – I’ll give you an even better idea (IMHO). I’m very fond of laminate wall panels. This product looks much more realistic than any wall panel system on the market – in my opinion – and it’s much simpler to move around (a cultured stone 5′ x 8′ wall can weigh about 120 lbs. vs. these laminate panels which are 26 lbs. per piece for the 2′ x 8′ sheets and then click and lock together (like laminate flooring – although these units are 100% waterproof – like the cultured stone). I’ve included a link to this product below. Good luck with your project and if you need a supplier we can help with both the cultured stone shower pan and the laminate wall panels. Thanks for reading – Mike. Now – here’s the link….

  • Great info- thanks.
    We are considering a curbless entry shower reno from a fiberglass tub insert.
    I want to extend the bathroom into the garage by approximately 2’x5’ so the shower will be bigger- almost 5’ square (husband is tall and will eventually have to shower in a chair😔) There is a 4” drop from the slab to garage which will have to be built up. A horizontal drain would be my preference. I would love quartz slab sides but will have to go with cultured marble. I noticed that you mentioned a cultured marble shower floor but did not mention the sides is there a reason not to use them?
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,

  • Natalie – I”m glad you enjoyed the article. I think you’re SO right in the need to bring in an Occupational Therapist. They will be best able to assess how well someone will be able to use the space as they age. Thanks for sharing – Mike

  • Enjoyed reading this article, Mike. I would add that it is always advisable to consult with an Occupational Therapist (a health care professional who specializes in the performance of occupations, or activities of daily living) if there is a change in the health of a family member. The OT can work directly with the contractor to ensure that the needs of the family member are met now and into the future. Thanks!

  • Andrew – we supply a product from a company called KBRS which has much more customization (IMHO) than Tile Redi. You can get this base in a barrier free design and put your drain wherever you want it. If you want a quote – or more information about this product – feel free to call us at 877-668-5888. Mike

  • My wife and I are planning to install a barrier-free shower that is 34″ x 60″. We are hoping to use a pre-sloped, tileable base for the shower pan. Wondering if you have recommendation on product/brand? Seems the only thing I’m seeing that looks to fit our needs is Tile Redi. Have you ever heard of/used this product?

  • Will – I completely get your frustration with finding an entrance on the 48″ side. We have one product called a ‘flex pan’ (see the link below) where you can enter on any side – but the biggest size in this line is a 72″ x 36″ (where you could enter on the 36″ side). So – in order to do that you’d want to look at a custom made base for it (and I’ve included a link to a cultured stone base where you can specify where you want to enter. If you have more questions – or want pricing on these bases – feel free to call us at 877-668-5888. Now here are the links: Mike (flex pan contemporary acrylic pan with entry on any side) (custom cultured stone shower pan)

  • Mike,
    I have a few questions regarding shower pan selections. We’re remodeling our shower which has an entrance of 48”. We are extending the shower wall back away from the entrance. The pan size would need to be a 48”x72”, but can’t seem to find a pan with the entrance being at the 48”. Do you have any suggestions or product recommendations? It’s 1 entrance with 3 walls enclosure. Thank you!

  • Rebecca – I’m sorry to hear about the problem with the slope in your shower. Without seeing your project – here’s what I believe will be your options. The simplest option would be to install a ‘ramped barrier free shower pan) over the floor (after it’s leveled) so you don’t have to cut into the existing floor. The second option would be to rework your floor. Feel free to call us to let us know how we can assist you further. If you’d like to call you can reach us at 877-668-5888. Mike

  • Our barrier free shower we think is not sloped properly. When we turn the shower on, water floods the room. Water fills up in the closets and we have a river. Does it have to be ripped out to fix. I asked the contractor when he was breaking the concrete if he was going to us slope sticks, he said he didn’t need them. I am 87 and can’t use the shower unless we line the floor with every towel we own.

  • Thanks. I’ll wait for your call. I have shared your tuff shower base with him and he shared back a BIP Shower base. It looked like it needed a lot of blocking. Are these similar? Looking forward to your call.

  • OK Mary Grace – this system will also work in a 6′ x 8′ bathroom. As a matter of fact, many years ago when I was visiting the home my wife’s Grandfather lived in in Italy he had a wet room system in a bathroom I think was about 4′ x 6′ (boy that was tiny!). Mike

  • Mary Grace – I (or one on my team) will plan to call you. Yes – it is possible to have a one level ‘wet room’ system without dropping the floor. The system we recommend uses a 7/8″ thick base former which is put directly on the joist and then your tile backer board is brought up to it. Then the entire system is waterproofed. We will call you to discuss your project in greater detail. Mike 877-668-5888.

  • I just sent a question about my wet room bathroom remodel. I forgot to tell you that my bathroom is 6’ x 8’.

  • I am renovating my bathroom and plan on a one level wet room for accessibility. I am speaking to contractors who say I need to shave off on inch or two from the joists under the bathroom (unfinished basement down there). The tile man says my floor slopes from the outside wall towards the door and that we need to lower the floor to get the required slope. I have read your articles saying this may be a mistake. will the One Level preengineered wet room system you mentioned above help with this? Please call me at 772-713-5529.

  • Paige – thanks for your question. The best way to help her and stay (at least somewhat dry) is to use ‘caregiver doors.’ These approximately – half-height’ doors allow you to help someone else shower from outside the shower (and lean over the short doors. Let me know if we can help you further. Mike Foti

  • We’re planning to add an ensuite bathroom to our daughters bedroom, barrier free shower is a must. However, my husband or I need to do her showering. Any ideas how we can design so that WE stay dry in the p?rocess?

  • Laura – thanks for your nice comments. For a traditional narrow bathroom to have an accessible design usually the floor is done with a one level wet room system and it uses wall hung vanities. We would be glad to provide you more specific input if you’d like to call us. The best number is 877-668-5888. Mike

  • The examples are amazing! However, do you have any examples of the traditional narrow long bathroom that needs to become accessible. It almost seems impossible for a 5-6X 10 foot bathroom to be universal design.

  • Lonny – if you were pouring a slab in new construction you could either pour the slope right in the original slab and then tile over it. If you want a more exact pan we have ‘shower base former’ pans which you could use which also have standard drains or linear drains with them. Either option will work. Let us know if we can help further. Mike – 877-668-5888.

  • Mike, I appreciate all the advice you offer on your web site about barrier free shower systems. We plan to build on my sisters home a room large enough for our elderly Mom to live in. We will be pouring a slab for this extension and want to incorporate a barrier free pan design in the slab. How do you recommend this shower floor be formed and what products would you recommend we use to finish it out?

  • Tracy – thanks for your comment and desire for help with the barrier free shower. I will send you an email. If you want to call us the best number is 877-668-5888. Mike

  • Hi could you please help me. I live in Georgia and need a barrier free shower. 48×72 or 82. Please contact me. I need mucho help. My husband said it cant be done with out taking the floor out. Thanks.

  • Steve – you could most certainly cut out the concrete as you’ve mentioned here. The reason many people don’t like to go this route is it’s a time consuming and crazy-dirty job. Hope it goes well for you! Mike

  • Mike , i have a concrete slab floor, my shower is 6 ft. x 3 ft. was wondering why couldn’t i demo apx 3 – 4 inches in the center [ where the drain is ] outward stopping apx 6″ from existing level floor to get my gradiant to drain & re-tile along with the new drain cover ?

  • Vin – I would recommend finding a contractor who has worked with wall panels first – many have. Then if they have concerns about these materials have them call me and I’ll lead them through the install process. Mike 877-668-5888

  • My husband and I are adding a first floor master suite to our home in Clark PA, near Hermitage. We are to sign with the contractor tomorrow.

    Does your company work in this area? We are interested in a curbless entry, frameless rain glass doors, solid surface walls. Contractor doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Can you give us help? Thanks! Susan

  • Mike,
    I LOVE these examples, but how do I find a designer and/or a contractor in east Tennessee to do this kind of thing? The fellow we spoke about a couple months ago ran for the hills when I mentioned “solid surface”, and I didn’t even get as far as “barrier free”. Should I hire an architect first? Or keep trying to find a good contractor?

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