Curbless Shower

The Ultimate Guide: Zero Threshold, Curbless Showers

Shower Tile Installation - Ultimate Curbless Tile Guide

Curbless Shower Critique - Is the Spa-Like Design Worth it?

  • Is my bathroom big enough for a curbless shower?  Most cities plumbing codes require a minimum of 30 inches by 60 inches.  Some larger cities do allow exceptions so check with your cities planning department.
  • How much more expensive is a curbless shower?  Budget at least another $800 – $1500 for the removal of your floor in order to provide a slope for the drain.
  • Is a curbless shower cold?  It doesn’t have to be.  You can add a heated floor under your shower and/or a door to keep your shower warmer.
  • Will I regret adding a curbless shower? That depends on your families needs.  Do you like privacy?  Do you like taking a bath and have no other bathtubs?  Are beauty and design important to you?
  • Can I DIY a curbless shower?  If you were asking about installing a backsplash I would say go for it.  But a curbless shower is not a DIY project.
  • Can I have a curbless shower installed over concrete slab?  Yes, it is possible.  You should plan on paying more to break up some of that concrete to provide the required sloped.
  • Can a zero entry shower be installed in a basement?  It is possible but the same will be true for installing on a concrete slab.  It will likely cost quite a bit more.

Advantages -

  • It’s beautiful, sleek, and can make a small bathroom feel large and open.
    Functionality – everyone in that family can use it.  Can be wheelchair accessible.
  • Easy to clean. A daily shower cleaning spray and a squeegee are really all you need.  Adding a handheld showerhead can make cleaning every single inch a breeze.
  • Best use of space. Every square inch is utilized well.
  • No door is necessary. Glass shower doors are expensive and can be a pain to clean. Consider doing without one.
  • Spa-like feel.  The expansive, open design makes you feel like you have stepped into a spa.
  • Easy access.  No lip or curb to catch your toe on.  If necessary a wheelchair can be rolled right in.

Disadvantages -

  • Added cost due to changes in the slope of the floor.
  • Easier to get it wrong. We see a lot of leaky curb-less showers, so know that your tile contractor is certified to do this type of shower.
  • Possibly no door. Some people feel cold in a shower without a door.
  • No privacy.  Unless you think about that in the design stages.
  • Shower measurements are key when installing a curb-less shower.
  • May not work in a very small bathroom.
  • Must be done by someone who really knows what they are doing otherwise you will have issues. (I know I already mentioned this but I am mentioning this twice for emphasis:-)
Curbless shower tile installation and design

The sleek, beautiful design of a curbless shower is all the rage right now.  But, is it the right choice for you and your family?

Keep this in mind – since the floor at the entrance of the shower has to be even with the room floor, the larger the shower, the easier it is to slope the floor to the drain and not have any water issues.

Also, larger shower floors also make it easier for a person in a wheel chair to move around inside the shower. That doesn’t mean a small bathroom can’t have a curb-less shower. But it does mean your tile setter will probably have to change the slope of all or most of the bathroom floor to make it work in a small space. This then means the bathroom becomes more of a wet room – the entire bathroom essentially being a big shower.

See our post: Three of the most common curbless shower problems

The standard measurement that you will need at a minimum is 30 inches deep and 60 inches long.

We recommend that 36 inches should really be considered the minimum depth for any curbless shower.  If you are really limited in space and you don’t even have 36 inches then we would suggest that you look into the idea of a wet room.

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What is a "Wet Room" Bathroom?

The first time I ever saw and experienced a wet room was in Greece many years ago.  Seemed like everywhere we stayed had a different version of a wet room – small bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a handheld showerhead.  Each one with the drain smack dab in the middle of the floor.

All these years later I am actually getting requests fairly regularly for wet room designs.

For the tile installer, this basically means waterproofing the entire bathroom.  No matter where that water lands it needs to find its way to the drain.  That means that the entire floor must be sloped to accommodate the water so it can find it’s way to the drain.

There is no longer any need at all for an enclosure, door, or partition.  Though many people still do prefer to a glass divider so that water doesn’t always splash everywhere – it’s not necessary.  It really is an ideal solution for utilizing the space of a very small bathroom and keeping the look sleek and streamlined.

Don't Forget These Important Details

Shower head type and also the location of the shower head are important as well.

One of the biggest reasons a curb-less shower is not a do-it-yourself job is that the floor must be re-engineered and dropped. Additional framing must be added to account for the depth of the new shower. For a concrete slab, the concrete would need to be removed.

If you have any other questions about curb-less, zero threshold, or ADA showers please feel free to contact me now.

Need help with a DIY project?  Make sure you check out our DIY SOS services!

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