- What is a Walk-in Shower?
- How Much Does a Walk-in Shower Cost to Install?
- Benefits of Walk-in Showers
- Installation and Size Factors to Consider
- Walk-in Showers for Home Accessibility Purposes
- Is a Walk in Shower Right for My Space?
- Other Points to Consider
- Getting Started and Choosing the Best Contractor
A walk-in shower is a great addition to any bathroom remodel project, whether the purpose is for home value, comfort, or safety. When choosing a walk-in shower, homeowners can enjoy the ease of entering the shower area without opening and closing doors, plus the look and feel of a more open, airy bathroom. These showers are also easier to clean, since scrubbing the doors is a non-issue. Added extras – such as built-in benches and shelving or decorative tiles – can truly take your shower remodel to the next level. Additionally, walk-in showers are a popular modification for the elderly or mobility challenged for better home accessibility. On this page, learn about the benefits and cost to install a walk-in shower in your home.
What is a Walk-in Shower?
A walk-in shower is exactly what it sounds like: a shower that you can simply walk into. There are no doors, curtains, or curbs. Most walk-in showers are designed with just a gentle slope at the entryway, making it easy for people with mobility challenges to access the shower area. Many feature a half glass shower wall to keep water inside efficiently.
Walk-in showers are popular choices for bathroom remodels because they are often spacious, modern, easy to clean, and provide home accessibility for elderly or mobility challenged users. These showers can provide the utmost in comfort and safety for anyone of any age.
How Much Does a Walk-in Shower Cost to Install?
Popular for homeowners who want to add a modern look and feel during a bathroom remodel
Opens up the bathroom
Can be used for home accessibility purposes
Custom options like built-in bench or shelves
Your choice of tile and fixtures
As you might imagine, prefabricated walk-in shower kits are the cheaper option. These can cost between $900 and $2,500, depending upon features and quality. Professional installation might double that cost, but it can be worth the price to ensure installation is done correctly.
Most homeowners completing a shower remodel will opt or a custom walk-in shower. With a custom walk-in shower, professionals will build the space from the ground up, adding in extra plumbing where needed, installing the tile and ensuring the shower pan is properly sloped, among other responsibilities. A custom walk-in shower can cost between $6,500 and $15,000, or even more, depending upon how luxurious you want to get.
Benefits of Walk-in Showers
Below you can find a list of the biggest benefits you will enjoy after installing a new walk-in shower in your bathroom.
Installation and Size Factors to Consider
In addition to cost and benefits, it’s also important to think about possible customizations and the size of the shower you need for your space, prior to choosing to install.
Prefabricated vs. Custom Installations
There are two options for walk-in showers: a prefabricated unit or a custom job. Many prefabricated units can be installed by someone who is rather handy with plumbing and construction. However, to ensure all building codes are met, hiring a contractor is the best idea. When creating a custom walk-in shower, a professional is a must.
The size of your walk-in shower will be limited by the size of your bathroom. The average size of a walk-in shower is 60″ x 30″, but walls can be made longer or shorter depending on your space.
Most showers can be placed in the existing footprint of the bathtub. Your contractor will demolish the old bathtub and install the new shower. However, installing the shower in a smaller space might not allow for proper slope for water drainage. Be sure to consult with a professional bathroom remodeler to see if a walk-in shower will work in your home.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a minimum of 36″ x 36″ for a walk-in shower, as well as a bench attached to one wall. If you need a walk-in shower that will accommodate a shower chair, the minimum is 30 by 60 inches. Grab bars in the shower are also highly recommended.
Walk-in Showers for Home Accessibility Purposes
Making the bathroom safer should be a top priority for homeowners who plan to age in place, or want to protect an elderly or mobility-challenged loved one from harm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for falls each year. 800,000 of those wind up hospitalized, most with a head injury or hip fracture. And in many cases, those falls happened in the bathroom.
A walk-in shower or walk-in tub can help solve these problems by making it more seamless to enter and exit the shower or bathtub safely. Those who use wheelchairs can easily transfer from the chair to a seat in the shower, and elderly users will not have to worry about stepping over that shower ledge. Walk-in showers can be equipped with safety features such as non-slip flooring, grab bars, non-slip seats, and more.
Is a Walk in Shower Right for My Space?
Despite the advantages of walk-in showers, there are a few potential disadvantages to consider. Though adding this type of shower in every bathroom in the home might seem like a wonderful idea, your real estate agent might not agree with you.
For example, in order to qualify as a “full bath,” a bathroom must have a bathtub. For resale purposes, it is helpful to ensure at least one bathroom in the home has a tub. Otherwise, it is considered a “three quarter bath.”
There are a few other reasons why walk-in showers might not be right for you:
- If you have small children, it can be tough to bathe them in a shower.
- The open concept can feel too cold and drafty during use.
- The lack of a door or curtain means less privacy.
- Going with a prefab shower kit might mean a small curb at the entry, which defeats the purpose of creating the safest environment.
Other Points to Consider
There have long been some misconceptions about walk-in showers. One of those is that without a door or curtain, water will get all over the floor. If the shower is not well-designed, that may happen. Good design, however, should include a gently sloping floor that directs water toward the drain, as well as showerheads placed in the proper areas.
Many opt for a rain shower head. It not only directs water straight down, but it also allows that water to cover more of the body, thus cutting down on the second misconception: that all walk-in showers are drafty.
Some walk-in showers may be slightly drafty, simply due to the shape and size of the room, the air flow throughout, and other factors. To help with this, a glass block shower wall or other style of wall can keep the shower open but give it enough “protection” from the outside elements that the draft issue subsides.
In short, good design matters. For proper design and installation, turn to the pros.
Getting Started and Choosing the Best Contractor
If you are considering a walk-in shower for home accessibility purposes, explore our helpful Home Accessibility Checklist before getting started.
When choosing a contractor to make your bathroom safer, look for someone who has a good reputation, plenty of references and a solid estimate. Let Modernize help with this contractor checklist.