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Helpful hints: All about showers part 5

This is a 5 part article To skip to other parts use these links:
Part 1 - Types of showers
Part 2 - Shower flow rates
Part 3 - Water pressure and terminology
Part 4 - Selecting a shower
Part 5 - Changing a bath to a shower

5. Changing a bath to a shower

Taking out a bath and replacing it with a shower is common both in flats with limited space in a bathroom and for those of mature age who find the effort to get in and out of a bath a little challenging.
There are frequent adverts in weekend papers offering the service and implying that the work can be completed in one day. That's only the case in ideal circumstances and typically where the bath has a solid wall on three sides, a situation which is uncommon. Always get estimates for the work and consider the following points:
Do I need a 'walk in' shower with no step or can / will I be able to manage a step and if so to what height? This is an important point from three perspectives: (i) your use of the shower (ii) the drainage as often the bath waste is above floor level and if you have the shower tray at floor level a waste pump may be required (iii) the cost as waste alterations and waste pumps can add substantially to the cost.
Do other needs to help me with showering? If the answer is yes there are specific solutions which make provision of assistance easier. This includes cubicles with half doors and curtains. You may also need grab rails.
Will a non slip tray be helpful? If you are elderly then this is recommended as additional mats can be a trip hazard. 'Stick on' anti-slip grips are an alternative addition for smoother trays.
Is hot water a risk? Showers which restrict the maximum water temperature to safe levels are available and are recommended for the elderly.
What is the impact on the rest of the bathroom? A nice new shower with old basin and toilet fittings doesn't look great. Updating the other bathroom fittings doesn't cost that much more. Remember the floor is also likely to need replacing and other facilities such as the radiator / towel rail and decor may also need addressing.
And on the subject of towel rails and radiators we generally do not recommend replacing a radiator with a towel rail due to the loss of radiated heat. Consider a towel rail in addition to the radiator, thus getting the both of both worlds. Electric towel rails (always use a timer as well) are widely available and usually relatively straight forward to install.

For more on showers and illustrations read this.

And for more on shower repairs click here.

Ask 50plus for help if you are unsure. Only DIY if you are competent and understand the rules. Regulations apply to shower installations.

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