Universal Design Solutions for Showers

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are coming! And those projects that you promised yourself you would start in January still aren’t complete (or even started!)

“Last year it was so hard to help grandma in and out of the tub,” “How am I going to keep grandpa safe in the bathroom?” “Oh my goodness, how is my pregnant sister going to feel in that tiny basement shower?”

These are just a few of the questions we run across this time of year, and oh by the way can I get it fixed before they come for a visit? Well, depending on your needs there are usually some small solutions that can help with accessibility, but if you are looking to fully remodel we probably should have started talking this summer…

There is a lot of buzz with all of the baby boomers talking about what the industry is calling “Aging in place”. What that means is that, although this population is retired or retiring, they don’t want to downsize, they like their neighborhood, they have some great memories in their home and they are just too comfortable to move away. How does this affect you if you are still fully engrossed in the workforce and nowhere near retirement? Well, in reference to the above paragraph, it could just be a holiday visit, it could be a wrong turn on your weekend warrior trip or it could be a car accident from the change in weather conditions this season. Either way it is nice to be able to use your home the best you can if you ever run into a situation like this.

Let’s just start with the bathroom.

This is the most inconvenient place to ask for help or to provide it when you have visitors.

We know you don’t like the traditional utilitarian grab bars, we know that the last time you splurged on that fancy hotel that they had a curb-less shower that you thought was amazing and we even know that when you have applied lotion and just want to open the bedroom door that you wish that you had switched out those knobs for lever handles so that you didn’t have to wipe off that lotion just to see why the house got so quiet with the kids home for fall break – Yup, we have absolutely been there!

Whether you are a tub soaker or a water conservationist with a record breaking timed shower every morning there is something to be said for taking out the 1970s shallow avocado green bathtub in your guest bathroom. It is always a personal preference and one to discuss with a Real Estate professional when deleting something so valuable to the sale of your home, but if you still have the option to bathe small children somewhere in the house and you are thinking of using the guest bath as your introduction to remodeling. Then you are in luck, here is a quick rundown for what you will need to think about before taking on this project…

There are several shower pans options that can fulfill your needs

  • A Fiberglass shower pan, offers a variety of styles, and shapes to create a seamless shower base for your remodel.
  • A Poured pan is created by pouring a base of concrete adding a rubber pan material, pouring a secondary concrete bed with a slope to drain and installing decorative tile to complete the look

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  • A high density foam base provides a similar structure for your decorative tile shower pan often trimming days from the install process
  • Solid Surface shower bases can provide either an easy retrofit or a custom coordinating shower pan that offers a grout free solid option for your remodel.

Each of these products offer the opportunity to provide a barrier free option for you or your guests. If you are looking for a recessed shower pan that is completely curb-less, it is important to speak with your contractor regarding the substructure of your shower and if trimming down your joists and reinforcing your floor is the right option for you.  

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