Tub To Shower Conversion

by | Last updated Nov 29, 2020 | Apartment Renovations, Interior Design, Renovations

Replacing a tub with a shower is a growing trend in bathroom renovations. In most cases you can easily do a bath to shower conversion in your existing bathroom. This work should be performed by a licensed plumber and conform with all local building codes.

One of the most surprising apartment renovation trends I have noticed in NYC is people removing their bathtubs and replacing them with showers. It seems that most people don’t take baths and this kind of makes sense. I have had many clients who removed bathtubs to convert a tub to a shower. Below I will review a few things to consider and some shower / bathroom interior design tips. The technical aspects of this post is focusing on New York City requirements and specifically apartment renovations in NY. There still may be helpful information for those of you not in NYC or working on a private house renovation.


Convert Tub To Shower

Mosaic Floors for Converting Bath to Shower

We usually do a mosaic tile floor in the shower. Mosaics are small tiles that come on sheets. A mosaic floor can be a nice modern look with an actual advantage. The mosaic floor provides traction so that you do not slip in the shower. The many small grout joints make mosaics an excellent non slip surface whit a nice design.

Concrete Shower Walls and Floor

Concrete Shower Walls and Floor


Linear drain

I really like the infinity drain. This drain gives a modern and clean look. The drain can be installed with tiles on top that align with the rest of the bathroom mosaic. All you see is a line around the perimeter of the drain.

Tub To Shower Conversion

Linear Shower Drain

Linear Shower Drain


Shower Niche

Storage is important. You need a place to keep soap, shampoo and all your bathroom products. A shower niche is an excellent shower design idea. The niche is a recess in your walls that is tiled with shelves out of stone, glass, or counter top material. These are a popular, modern, and convenient feature for bathrooms.

Bathroom Niche Ideas

Bathroom Niche Ideas

Adjustable Shower Slide Bar

In the picture above next to the shower niche you will see an adjustable shower head slide bar. This allows you to adjust the height of the hand held shower head. I love these because I am 6 feet tall and may want to raise the height of the shower head. If someone wants it lower they can easily slide it up and down.

Two Shower heads

If you have a large walk in shower you can have 2 shower heads with 2 sets of controls. If two people are showering at the same time they can each have the right temperature and not get in each others way. We get asked for this a lot when couples have a large shower and share the bathroom.

Shower Doors and Hardware

The last thing to be installed in a bathroom is a shower door but it should not be an after thought. You should look at lots of different door styles and hardware. The shower door is a critical piece in bathroom interior design.

Barn Door Style Shower Doors

Barn Door Style Shower Doors


Converting Tub To Shower Technical Considerations

Plumbing Requirements (Convert Tub To Shower)

Always work with licensed and insured professions. All plumbing work should be done by a licensed plumber no exceptions. If you replace a tub with a shower you may be renovating the entire bathroom or just doing this work. You will need to have a new drain for your walk in shower. Depending on the building construction this may require the shower floor to be elevated a few inches above the bathroom floor. If you have a curb shower this is not a big deal and will not be too noticeable.

Building Management Requirements (Tub Shower Conversion)

If you are in an apartment building you will need to get approval from your board or management company to perform this work. Make sure to read your alteration agreement and talk to your building agent about their regulations. Some buildings require replacing all branch piping and valves back to the main plumbing risers. We usually do this in bathroom renovations especially in older buildings.

Permits for Converting Bath to Shower

You will need a permit for converting a tub to a shower in NYC.

Waterproofing your Shower When Converting Bath to Shower

Waterproofing is very important. Aside from having a shower pan you should also install a water proof membrane floor to ceiling at the shower location. All materials in your walls should be mold resistant.

Bathroom ADA Requirements (Convert Tub To Shower)

If you are in an elevator building or on the ground floor of a walk up then your bathroom will need to be handicap accessible or adaptable in multifamily buildings. This is referred to as ADA, for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Consult with an architect like me before you begin any renovations in NYC. The Department Of Buildings has very specific requirements you want to make sure all work you do conforms with code and will pass inspection.


Bath to Shower Conversion

In this article we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to Tub Shower Conversions. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank You for reading our blog post on bath to shower conversions.

We wish you the best of luck with your bathroom renovation. If you would like to speak with an architect you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.