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The Inside Outside Guys: Tub-To-Shower Conversions Can Offer Safety, Style

From The Detroit News | By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, April 25, 2024 ~ One of the most difficult things we all come to terms with is diminished capacity as we age.

We grew older bounding up and down stairways, taking hot, soothing baths on cold, winter days and rising from chairs without thought.

Despite our best efforts to the contrary, most of us will see a cognitive decline that manifests in lowered physical ability, whether for multitasking as we negotiate those stairs, or simply bathing in our own bathroom.

Aging in place specialists have observed that a properly structured shower is a safer accommodation for most elderly people than the old tub we grew up with.

The bottoms of most bathtubs are slightly sloped to drain and, of course, we have to step over the unit sidewall to get in and out.

This makes for a potentially dangerous situation for the unaided senior adult.

The Guys have found a couple of great companies that can complete tub removal and replacement with safe and accessible showers. We asked Barrier Free Plus in Macomb County and Atlas Home Improvement in White Lake Township to assemble a list of shopping tips for those contemplating such a project.


April 21, 2024 ~ Chuck “The Inside Guy” Breidenstein and Ken “The Outside Guy” Calverly offer the knowledge and resources you need to make the home of your dreams a reality.


One of the early concerns with this type of installation is a potentially lowered value in the home if a buyer wants a conventional tub setup.

But the housing shortage has proven to us that homes with professional conversions may actually gain in value.

One interesting feature we have witnessed in the past few years is a doorless shower in the owner suite.

Eliminating the door can not only lower the cost but improve user access and safety.

Although products placed in single-family homes do not need to be Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, compliant, they offer a great guideline for designers.

One of these is a wide entryway that allows for easy access even if the user requires a wheelchair assist.

Many such units, when replacing a typical tub/shower, will have 5 feet available for the shower front.

This access can also be nearly or totally without a curb, which could not only inhibit use by a chair-bound user, but also create a trip hazard.

Strategically placed grab bars should also be considered.

In a single-family home, grab bars should be designed and installed to allow ease of use by the owner, including where they are placed on the walls, how easily they are grasped, and whether they blend with the décor.

Today’s product can be installed such that it does not give the room a “hospital” feel which many owners want to avoid.

As we have discussed in prior articles, contrasting colors can aid a user in determining where the bathroom floor ends, and the shower floor begins.

That floor should also have a comfortable, nonslip, surface embossed in it.

Good lighting that does not put the user or controls in shadow is essential as is a hand-held shower on a vertical sliding track. This allows for ease of use by a wide variety of people.

Make certain water valves can be easily accessed and used. They should also be pressure balanced with anti-scald technology.


For more advice, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon or contact them at InsideOutsideGuys.com.