There are hundreds of ways that you can remodel a bathroom into a Barrier Free or Roll In shower… well maybe only ONE real way but there are hundreds of products to choose from which can get very confusing. You could be in the position to need a project like this done to your own bathroom or even your folks and running around to multiple distributors can be hassle especially when they’re all trying to sell you different things, then it all becomes a blur. If you’re receiving a few estimates, the same thing can happen because less qualified contractors may not specialize in bathrooms or tile work and then of course try to promote lesser options from box stores that are cheap and may not support the wear and tear of equipment or years of usage.
Acrylic and Fiberglass curbless units can be ok in some situations but you will find that most times the size of your bathroom may limit options because they will generally be a stock size or fit better into a larger bathroom where there’s obviously more room to work with. Let’s face the facts because most bathrooms in the Harrisburg area are very small and a tile installation will bring more freedom to the table. Niches and Benches can be built exactly to comfortable locations and there won’t be any building around or building in walls to fill up space from a horribly sized shower unit… plus cases of tile fit easier through doorways and stair wells.
There are some ways to speed up the process as well. Since we do plenty of Swanstone Shower Installations in the area, a custom tile floor can be built throughout the bathroom… Mainly because of the drain configuration and having one full barrier free bathroom. After that, Swanstone products can be installed on the shower walls which will go quick and keep everyone from waiting for mortar and grout to dry. Swanstone is a great product to blend together with tile installations and will literally last a lifetime, or 3.
Choose some floor tile with Grip!
It’s very easy to find tile that is rated for handicapped installations. It will normally be noted on a selection board but for the most part they will have a rougher surface that will help prevent slips and falls on wet floors. If someone is assisting with the showering process, this will come in handy for them as well.
This depends on the type of installation or layout of the room. If you’re having a Linear Drain installation, you can definitely get a large format tile tile installed because the shower floor will have one flat slope to the channel drain. A standard center drain installation would be pitched and sloped just like a standard shower with a curb. It would be sloped 4 ways so that all water will run to the center of the floor (drain) and this is where a smaller mat tile is best to catch the multiple sloping of the shower floor.
Ceramic, Porcelain or Stone?
Ok, that narrowed down quick! Ceramic is very smooth and weaker than porcelain. Stone tile is also weak too but it also need to be sealed and cleaned more often which may become too much work for you. Porcelain tile is fired at much higher temperatures in the kiln, heavier, thicker and always more durable. A Color Body (or thru body) Porcelain will be the highest rated in the overall breakdown and can bring up the cost per square foot for the remodeling project. All that said, handicapped bathroom remodeling will always require better products and craftsmanship.
Overall, it’s important to keep your options open and work with a qualified contractor, like me, that understands how to do things like install tile without lippage, know what type of linear drain to install and be able to build a complete waterproof and mold proof shower for you. A great relationship is first and foremost and the rest of the project will be a pleasant one!