The Shower Solution

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: BathInterior

Many people are becoming interested in easy-access showers and, in particular, converting existing bathtubs into showers. This can be relatively simple to do in most houses with a raised wooden floor, but there are several options and conditions that can make the project more or less complicated. Waialae Plumbing and Construction is aware of how to overcome any complications to ensure a hassle-free installation.

Here are several things to be aware of:

• The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), which Honolulu follows, requires that a shower receptor drain be connected to a 2-inch drain, whereas a bathtub only requires a 1-1/2-inch drain. This means that the drain piping will need to be up-sized to conform to code. Most of the time this is a relatively simple matter for a plumber to accomplish because many tubs are plumbed with a larger sized pipe connected to the p-trap. There are also many different shower receptors being made now that are designed to replace bathtubs, with the drain connection aligned on either side to line up with the existing plumbing.

• Fiberglass and acrylic shower receptors are cost-effective solutions that are ready “right out of the box.” As long as they are properly set in a mortar bed, they are a solid, cost-effective solution.

Cultured marble receptors are manufactured locally and are the next step up. They can also be custom-made in many different sizes and/or with different drain locations, so they can be used in many applications where pre-manufactured units won’t work. Higher end surface units, such as Corian and Staron, can also be customized.

• All shower bases can be installed with different types of wall units, or surrounds, including tile. One popular solution is to use matching cultured marble or solid surface material for the shower base and countertop and then covering the shower walls and bathroom floor with the same tile or stone. The contrast is appealing while still tying everything together visually. For those looking to spend as little as possible, a fiberglass base and surround is the best solution, assuming that a standard unit will fit the floor and walls. Many bathrooms have windows or vents on the side wall of the shower area, and fiberglass units cannot be easily cut and modified.

It is important to note that an easy access Shower is not the same as an ADA-accessibility shower. A true ADA-compliant shower can have no more than a 1/2-inch curb to facilitate the entrance of a wheelchair. The shower also tends to be more expensive because of the modifications necessary to lower the shower base. It’s also more difficult to use a shower curtain without a curb.

Whether you need an easy access shower, an ADA-compliant shower, or any other type of bathroom modification, Waialae Plumbing and Construction can help you achieve your goal. With many years of experience in bathrooms and licensing in general building, plumbing and electrical classifications, Waialae Plumbing can handle all aspects of your bathroom renovation.

Free estimates are available by calling 735-8595.