Need to Eliminate Your Shower Pan Threshold

You’re getting older

I would add the good news is we are living longer, but the bad news is we’re living longer. The aches and pains in the morning do stack up as those gray hairs start to mount. While growing older is a blessing, on some days it can also feel like a curse.

When we age, the unfortunate fact is our mobility goes the wrong direction. Stepping over a shower curb can be a dangerous thing. It is the cause of many expensive and challenging hospital stays. When you have a one level shower entry there is no curb to trip over. These zero clearance shower base designs are growing rapidly in the remodeling market -even though few new home builders (even construction companies who build in 55+ lifestyle communities) incorporate them in new home designs. If you want to stay safe the one level designs are increasingly important as you age.

Zero clearance shower pans look nice and are safer
You’ll save space.

For most people this tips doesn’t seem logical but if you’ve ever visited Europe or Asia and stayed in a hotel room (or a friend or relatives house) you’ll see lots of examples of one level bathroomswith open showers in small spaces. The reason curbless showers save space is they break down the barriers of the traditional “shower enclosure” where the space is defined by the shower pan and glass enclosure. With a waterproof curbless shower the shower and the bathroom are one continuous space. If you’ve got a small bathroom (possibly in an apartment, loft, tiny home, or micro-home) this can be a space-efficient way to get ‘er done would say.

You’ll show your cool, sleek and minimalist good taste.

Design trends have changed a ton from the super-sized mega-mansions of the 1890’s with expansive soaking tubs and ornate tile designs. What’s hot today is a contemporary, clean, sleek and minimalist bathroom. These spaces use large format tiles (or sleek grout free shower panels) and often have wall mounted cabinetry and open and airy designs. Curbless showers are a perfect contemporary fit with this design trend.

It’s never been easier to create a one level bathroom.

In the old days making a one level bathroom was a pain in the butt. Most contractors would scratch their heads trying to figure out what to do. In most cases, they would “drop the floor” of the bathroom. What this meant was cutting your subfloor, then cutting your joists and reframing the area so they could pour concrete into the new “hole” which they would level by hand (imagine how much you’re going to like have concrete poured inside your bathroom – it’s not like you’re doing a driveway and the concrete truck is going to have the material come down the chute!). This process is not only laborious and time-consuming to build– it’s not a great system because it can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Thank goodness there are new simple options. Today you can get a wet room kit. With these kits, you (or your contractor) cut the subfloor and install a product called a “shower base former” directly on your existing joists.

Once the base former is in and plumbing hooked up, cement board will be brought to the height of the base former. Finally, the bathroom floor will be waterproofed and tile installed on the finished surface. When the entire shower is done, it will look like the image above– cool, sleek, waterproof and safe!.

ditch the shower curb. You’ll have more flexibility.

I wish I could tell you getting rid of your shower with a threshold would give you more flexibility to climb stairs or jump as high as your cat (isn’t it amazing how high they can jump?). You’ll just have to enroll with your spouse in a few yoga classes (OK maybe more than a few) to make this happen. Where I do think one level wet room can help your flexibility is you will no longer have to have your space be “defined” by the shower pan and glass enclosure. So, if you decide you want to change out the glass enclosure to make the shower bigger, smaller or change its shape you can do it. How cool is that?

 

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