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

How to avoid the 15 biggest problems with tub to shower conversions.

OPENING How to avoid the 15 biggest problems with tub to shower conversions. | Innovate Building Solutions | Bathroom Remodel | Home Improvement | home Design Ideas | Cleveland Bathroom Remodel

If you’ve ever done (or shopped for) a tub to shower conversion here’s one thing I’ll bet you learned……

It’s NOT as simple as you originally thought.

 First there’s A LOT of components in a tub to shower conversion. Including, but not limited to:

And this list could go on and on.

Then you have to determine if you’re going to DIY or find a contractor. And you certainly don’t want to overpay to get it done – or get a ‘quick and dirty’ installation with a substandard warranty which leaves you ‘holding the bag’ years down the road if the shower fails.

Then you need to make sure it’ll work well for you and your family now and in the future – especially if you want to age in place.

So, while converting a tub to shower seems simple, there’s more to it than meets the eye. And the last thing you want to do is make bad decisions and suffer the consequences.

The question becomes how can you avoid common mistakes, problems, pitfalls in a bathtub to shower conversion?

Well – I’d recommend reading the 15 common problems below so you can check them off your list as you’re deciding on materials, and companies to help you through this process. You’ll get tips (and money-saving ideas) to make sure these problems aren’t your problems.

Problem #1 with a tub to shower conversion– You overpay for the project or materials!

While you CAN cry over spilled milk, it doesn’t do you any good to do it. And when it comes to a bath remodel – making a bad purchase can set you back financially for years – especially if you’re financing the project.

So, how can you make sure you don’t get taken advantage of with your tub to shower conversion?

First, read A Comprehensive Guide to the Cost of an Installed Tub to Shower Conversion. If you’re looking for a professional contractor and to NOT overpay, this article is a must to read.

A comprehensive guide to the cost of an installed tub to shower | Innovate Building Solutions Blog | Bathroom Remodel Tips | Home Improvement Ideas | Shower Remodeling Tricks and Tips

Second, if you’re looking to DIY your tub to shower conversion make sure to compare the value of the systems on the market. ‘Cheap’ DIY systems – are just that. They’re cheap because they use flimsier materials with shorter warranties. Don’t get fooled by cheap imitations. Compare the specs, and if you can’t find any specs, follow the advice of the Gingerbread Man and ‘run, run, as fast as you can!’

And lastly, read 21 Sure-Fire Ideas to Save on a Tub to Shower Conversion (unless you’re independently wealthy, then there’s no need to read this article).

Ultimate Tub to Shower Conversion Guide

Get Our Tub to Shower Conversion Guide!

Clear Advice on how to transform your bathroom with a new shower system!

Problem #2 with a tub to shower conversion– Make sure the shower pan isn’t slippery

A large percentage of tub to shower conversions are done because people want to age in place. However, your goal to stay in your home can be as secure as a banana peel IF your shower pan is slippery.

Feel the texture of the shower base before buying. Does it feel safe? You don’t want to find out your shower pan is as slippery as an ice rink the first time you use it!  

Problem #3 with a tub to shower conversion– Buying a system which is a P.I.A. to clean

Most tub to shower conversions owners are sick of dirty, moldy, grout joints or not being able to get their fiberglass one-piece surround clean no matter what crazy chemicals they use. And if you’re the unlucky family member ‘elected’ (by process of elimination) to clean the tub/shower alcove, you KNOW it’s not FUN! So, how can you get this cleaning challenge in your rear view?

First, start with a grout free shower pan (which isn’t slippery) and grout free wall surround panels.

Problem 3 easy to clean bianco marble shower panels | Innovate Building Solutions | Bathroom Remodel | Cleveland Bathroom Contractors | Home Improvement Ideas | Grout free shower wall panels

Second, insist on a sliding glass shower door without the evil U-track at the bottom (which is disgusting to clean). And make sure you’re getting a shower door with glass surface protection (which is like Rain-X for shower doors).

Get Free Samples!

Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.

Problem #4 with a tub to shower conversion– It comes with a short glass shower door which would have been perfect for characters in the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids!

Being tall can be a blessing…reaching top shelves is no problem for you. However, being tall can be a curse…..ducking and/or banging your head on the top of a shower door rail, for example, is NOT the way to start your day.

And one common ‘trick’ ecommerce companies selling tub to shower kits use to give you a ‘cheap price’ is to supply shower doors which are shorter, have bulky frames on the side and bottom, and are thinner.

And it’s certainly a ‘caveat emptor’ (fancy Latin word for ‘let the buyer beware’) moment if you buy a tub to shower conversion kit and DO NOT pay attention to the height of a bypass glass shower door under the rail and have to live with a head-banging shower ‘experience’ for years to come.

Problem 4 bypass shower door in tub to shower conversion | Innovate Building Solutions | Bathroom Remodel | home improvement Ideas | Grout free wall panels With shower bypass door

Problem #5 with a tub to shower conversion– You get water on the floor when you don’t make a thoughtful glass door or shower curtain selection.

I hate wiping water off the bathroom floor. This is why I’m NOT a fan of shower curtains or pivoting glass doors (which drip water on the floor when you the door is opened into the bathroom).

And if you’re like me and are wondering what’s the best door for a tub to shower conversion to keep water off the floor, I’d use a two sided sliding glass shower door (AKA a bypass glass door).

Glass Shower Door Guide

The Ultimate Glass Door Shower Guide

A clear guide to making the best bath or shower glass shower door choice

Problem 5 brushed nickel bypass door tub to shower conversion | Innovate Building Solutions | Home Improvement in Cleveland Ohio | Remodeling companies in Lakewood | Home Design Ideas for shower doors

Problem #6 with a tub to shower conversion– A shower pan which is flimsy – or worse yet, cracks down the road.

Just like the foundation of your house, shower pans ARE NOT the sexiest feature in your home – or even in a bathroom remodel for that matter. However, if your shower pan squeaks, or worse yet – cracks, then you’ll be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And if your shower pan fails, you’ll need to remove the doors and the shower surrounds above it to install a new shower base. And that’s a big-dollar problem.

So, how can you be sure this ‘mayhem’ (like the Allstate commercial below details) doesn’t happen to you?

Use a solid surface shower pan or an upgraded reinforced acrylic shower base. A better base is ‘insurance’ against an expensive repair.

Problem #7 with a tub to shower conversion– If you ‘buy today,’ but forget you (or a member of your family) will be ‘aging tomorrow.’

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Old Man Time is undefeated. No amount of Rogaine, Botox, Peloton bike or pickleball keeps him at bay forever. Our bodies are a bunch of ‘wear parts.’ Age catches up with us sometime.

And if you’re buying a tub to shower conversion to age in place and you DO NOT make your new shower work well for your (hopefully many) ‘tomorrows,’ that’s just plain dumb!

And if you’re dreading the ‘institutional look’ of a ‘safe shower,’ I’m 100% with you. The question becomes how can you get a safe AND stylish shower? Here’s a few ideas:

Problem 7 shower pan with removable ramp kit | Innovate building Solutions | Bathroom Remodel | Home Improvement Ideas | Cleveland Bathroom Contractors

And for more ideas read How to NOT Decrease Resale Value with an Age In Place Shower.

Pinterest How to NOT DECREASE resale value with an age in place | Innovate Building Solutions | Bathroom Remodel | Home Remodeling Tips and Tricks | Glass Shower Door | Cleveland Remodeling

Problem #8 with a tub to shower conversion– You sacrifice quality for a ‘bath-in-a-day’ shower makeover.

As a guy who leads a Cleveland tub to shower contracting business, I understand homeowners want bathroom remodeling contractors in and out of their homes as quickly as possible. Contractors are an IMPOSITION to your daily routine. Let’s face it, you can’t run around in the ratty, holy sweatshirt you wear to bed each night when you have ‘strangers’ (‘er contractors) in your home.

So, given your desire to get the job done ASAP, you might choose the ‘quick fix’ bath remodel. Done in a day they say.

However, are you doing yourself any favors with this quick-fix approach? I’d argue you’re not.

Many bath-in-a-day companies simply put new acrylic materials (shower wall surrounds and shower pan liners) over old tiles which can have mold behind them!

Bath in a day companies cut corners. And while it is possible to do a quality 2 day bath to shower conversion (and remove old materials so you know you won’t have a mold problem), the companies who take a ‘slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am’ one day approach are padding their pocket with quicker profits but are doing YOU no favors.

Problem #9 with a tub to shower conversion– You buy a tub to shower conversion system which IS NOT space efficient.

Most owners doing tub to shower conversions are NOT doing them in the huge bathrooms you see in fancy interior design magazines. No, you’re cramped in a small bathroom where you need to use every inch efficiently.

That’s why I hate it when I see people buy bulky fiberglass shower replacement kits with a clunky corner seat(s) or shelves built into the design which eat up waaaay too much space in a 60” x 30” tub/shower alcove.

This isn’t efficient. This isn’t smart.

However, if you’re looking to maximize your tub to shower conversion space, I’ve got 3 tips for you:

  • Tip #1 – Use a fold down seat. A fiberglass unit with a seat built in, or a shower bench seat, take room you don’t have to give.
  • Tip #2 – Build recessed niches into the wall instead of shelves jutting out of the wall.
  • Tip #3 – Use a curved glass shower door and curved shower pan for more elbow room.
  • Ultimate Tub to Shower Conversion Guide

    Get Our Tub to Shower Conversion Guide!

    Clear Advice on how to transform your bathroom with a new shower system!

Problem #10 with a tub to shower conversion– Don’t settle for an unstylish tub to shower system.

Who wants white plastic shower walls which remind you of a hospital shower? ‘Er that’d be NO ONE (Ok, that’s unless you get a pair of those ‘fancy hospital socks’ thrown in for free with the deal!).

However, many fiberglass and acrylic shower surround alternatives are just that. They’re cheap. They’re plasticky. They’re ugly.

With today’s tub to shower replacement kits you can get decorative shower surrounds (which are grout free) you’d swear were tile, stone, marble, or concrete (except with these stylish options you don’t ‘get’ to clean dirty grout joints).

Get Free Samples!

Click here to request free samples of our Laminated Waterproof Shower Wall Panels.

Problem 10 fibo cracked cement wall panels white accent panel | Innovate building solutions | bathroom Remodel | Home Improvement Ideas | Waterproof Grout Free wall panels

Problem #11 with a tub to shower conversion– You choose tile and begin to feel you’re stuck in a rerun of Murphy Brown (a la Eldon the Painter) with a contractor who will NEVER leave your home.

For those of you not old enough (unlike me) to know this reference, Eldon the Painter was the character on the 1980’ sitcom Murphy Brown who seemingly was NEVER done painting her house. He was more than a contractor; he was a permanent FIXTURE in Murphy Brown’s home.

And if you’ve ever had a tile shower built you know your contractor/tile setter can also become a permanent fixture because it’s a time-consuming job (even for an experienced craftsman).

If you’re looking to get ‘back to your life’ sooner while getting your tub upgraded to a shower, don’t do the time-consuming tile job, instead use a higher-quality grout free shower system. They’re stylish (see #10 above) and can be completed quicker (this is why a grout free shower is often more cost-effective than tile showers which takes a long time to complete).

Problem #12 with a tub to shower conversion– You don’t know what the new alcove is going to look like until it’s too late.

Have you ever made a product selection based on a small sample chip only to think later, “What the heck WAS I thinking?”

Making selections based on small samples only is risky. And once they’re installed (and the contractor has your sign-off on their selection sheet) you’ll be living with this bad choice for years to come! Ouch.

However, there’s a way to eliminate this problem. Ask your contractor to see their bathroom presentation or 3D bathroom visualizer so you can see (in 3D – or actual photos) how your selections look together. This prevents ‘living with’ bad selection decisions.

Problem 12 before after bath pictures Innovate Bathroom presentation | Bathroom Wall Panels Home Improvement Ideas | Bathroom Remodeling Contractors | Cleveland Bathroom Remodel

Problem #13 with a tub to shower conversion– You buy the wrong products and are stuck with them or lose money on restock fees.

Being a ‘rookie’ at anything can be painful. When you’re doing something for the first time (let’s say a bathtub to shower conversion in this case) it can come with expensive ‘lessons’ which lighten your wallet.

Let’s say for instance you buy a shower pan with the drain on the wrong side or in the wrong location.

Or you buy a shower wall surround only to find the shower accessories won’t work with it.

Or you buy a glass door which bangs into your vanity or is too short.

And when you ‘go it alone’ (and you’re doing this for the first time), these errors are all too common.

However, there’s a better way (and it’s NOT buying from an ecommerce store who – while they have cheap prices – their ‘client success representative’ doesn’t know JACK about the products and the installation).

No, the way to not get ‘stuck’ is to work with a bathroom specialist who can coordinate ALL the components and offer you a tub to shower replacement kit which is GUARANTEED (and that’s a magic word) to work together.

Problem #14 with a tub to shower conversion– You forget how important lighting is, and cover your window.

Although I know a window in the middle of your shower isn’t optimal (unless you’re in a nudist colony and want to ‘show off’ your hot bod). However, the benefits of a window far outweigh the privacy challenge you’ll want to overcome. And why do I say that?

Well – windows – and natural light – make a room feel more cheerful. The bathroom won’t feel dark and depressing.

Windows also make the shower – and bathroom – safer because you can see better and are less likely to fall.

And while the window – especially in the shower – can be a privacy problem, there are options to eliminate this challenge.

First use a glass block window or a vinyl framed window with obscure glass. They’ll give you privacy (sorry, nudists out there), yet privacy.

Problem 14 glass block shower window tub to shower | Innovate Building Solutions | Home Improvement Ideas | Cleveland Bathroom Remodel | Akron Remodeling Ideas

Another smart idea to add light and color is to use a stained glass – or stained glass overlay window. It’ll add a unique feature, AND colored light – with privacy.

Problem #15 with a tub to shower conversion– You don’t plan for the right accessories (niches, seats, grab bars) until it’s too late.

Bottles of shampoo oozing liquids on the shower floor is an accident waiting to happen.

Shower chairs bought (after a health event) at the medical equipment supply store look like ‘grandma lives here!’

And a lack of grab bars can land you (or a loved one) on your keester – or worse yet, in the hospital, then an assisted living facility which drains your funds to the bare bones.

And these problems could have been eliminated IF someone had planned for the right accessories. For example,

  • Larger niches can be used to keep shampoo bottles and oozing liquids off the shower pan floor.

Problem 15 grab bar fold down seat in accessible bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | Bathroom Remodeling Tips | Shower Accessories | Black Bathroom Accessories

  • Stylish fold down seats can be used to shave your legs or shower – yet maximize room for other people (and you won’t have to worry about where you’re going to store the ugly medical-supply-store shower chair when it’s not in use also).
  • And decorative grab bars can look just like towel bars yet be there to support you if you get unsteady on your feet.

ACCESSORIES CAN BE NECESSITIES if you want to age in place AND stay out of expensive assisted living facilities.

Ultimate Shower Accessory Guide

Get Our Shower Accessory Guide!

Making the most out of your bathroom remodel

So, are you ready to tackle a tub to shower conversion? Can we help?

Do you now feel you have a handle on the common problems with tub to shower conversions and are ready to tackle this project? Or would you like more guidance and/or to get a recommendation for a qualified contractor who uses the right materials for the job?

If so – the bathroom specialists at Innovate Building Solutions would love to help. Call 877-668-5888 or click for a Free Design Consultation. You’ll find a wide range of products (including laminate shower wall panels, stone shower pans, glass shower doors, alcove tubs, and tub to shower replacement kits) for this job.

For a tub to shower contractor in Cleveland call 216-531-6085.

And if you’re looking for a local contractor to help with your project, ask for a referral to an installing tub to shower dealer in our network.

Thanks for reading and enduring my humor along the way,




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

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