How To Turn A Shower Into A Bathtub

Here’s our guide on how to turn a shower into a bathtub including evaluation, construction, cost and tips for converting a shower into a bathtub.
Bathroom with framed glass shower door wooden cabinet recessed lights beige tile and light gray isIt’s quite common to see home upgrades wherein bathtubs are converted into shower areas but these days, it’s not quite so common for the opposite: converting their showers into bathtubs.

 If this is something that you’re looking into for a bathroom upgrade in the home, then you’ve definitely come to the right place.

There are some merits to opting for a bathtub instead of a shower.  For starters, it’s a safer alternative as standing in the shower can at times have the risk of you and the rest of your household members slipping while taking a bath. 

You may have children that prefer bathtubs over showering.  Also, bathtubs are considered to be more luxurious and relaxing after a long and hard day.

Can You Convert A Shower To A Bathtub?

The answer to this is a yes.  It’s usually more ideal for showers with bigger surface areas such as walk-in showers to be converted into a bathtub as opposed to showers with much smaller space. The reason behind this is that a standard bathtub stands with a measurement of 60 x 30 x 14 inches.

If the shower area doesn’t match up to this measurement, your new bathtub wouldn’t fit.  Measuring the shower area first is key to a successful transition. 

There are a number of ways for you to get this done.  You may start to demolish the entire shower area and start the process from there but there can be instances wherein you can keep whatever existing setup you have and move the tub there instead. 

In order for you to get this done, you will need to build a wall so that you can close off your shower area.  You’re going to need wood pieces, a drill, and some concrete backboard. 

It’s also important to note that you are going to need to close off the water supply while you’re getting work done in that area. 

Tub Alternatives

In the event that your shower area is too small for you to bring in a bathtub, you might need to bring in a jackhammer so that you can demolish the entire shower area first and bring down whatever pre-existing walls are there.

You will need to install new walls as well.  You can go about this in 2 ways: tile the entire area to form a tub or just purchase a ready-made one.  Bathtub kits usually have installation instructions and will have all the tools you need written down for you. Know more about bathtub dimensions on this page.

If you absolutely have no idea how to proceed in doing it yourself, the best option is for you to consult and hire a professional.

Remember that bathrooms have pipes and wirings and all sorts of plumbing hidden in the walls and you run the risk of bursting some of the pipes or worse, getting electrocuted.

Convert Shower To Tub Steps

Bathroom with bathtub and tub steps sliding glass window isConverting a shower into a tub steps is a process that is best handed off to the pros but even if that is the case, it’s still a good idea to acquaint yourself with the process. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect at every stage. For ideas see out gallery of bathtubs here.


In the evaluation stage, you need to hire out a contractor who will focus on figuring out the peculiarities of your bathroom and formulate a plan of action on how to convert it properly. 

They will usually take measurements and pay attention to the nitty gritty details such as the dimensions as well as keep an eye out for any special requirements that the home improvement project may need.


Contractor doing bathroom renovation isOne process may vary from the other in the construction stage because it is technically influenced by what the homeowner wants and needs. 

A partial conversion means that you won’t have to do away with your shower completely whereas a complete conversion means that it will have to be demolished and built up all over again. You can see the best types of shower floor tiles here if you need to remodel with new materials.

Construction starts with the contractor shutting off the water supply first to secure safety for the working area.  All of the fixtures in the bathroom will also be dismantled and removed. 

Depending on the specific requirements of the project, the contractor might get right down to installing the bathtub or may start working on the nearby walls first. 

The shower drain is always the focus as it may be moved to align with the position of the bathtub or completely replaced.  If there aren’t any specific difficulties, this should be done in a week or so.

Tub Steps

Shower area with tub and stainless spread fit faucet white tiles isTub steps mean that you basically have a walk in shower and bathtub in one.  It can exist along with the shower. Here’s how the contractor achieves the process.

Rectangular frame. The contractor starts off by putting a rectangular frame together that’s typically made up of 2 x 4 wood pieces. 

They’ll be installed either beside the existing shower or directly right in front of it.  Its interior is usually lined up with studs that will serve as support to the boards.

Once complete, it will then be attached to your shower wall and will have screws drilled into the wall and the floor to help keep it in place.

Cement backer. This comes next. This will work as the base for the tub steps as well as the surrounding wall tiles.  It will have shapes cut out within it to support the fixtures needed for the shower.

If you opted for wall tiles, this is the next step.  The contractor will be using a trowel for the board adhesive, applying it at a 45 degree angle.  It is usually applied in small patches so that it dries quickly.

Once the adhesive has been applied, the tiles are applied in rows. The tiles that don’t fit into the measurements on the outer parts are cut out to ensure that they all fit in snugly.  It goes on in sections until everything has been fully covered.

Grout and caulk. This is applied over the tiles and usually requires a few days to set.  Then the bathtub surrounds are glued to the surrounding wall with a special adhesive meant for it.

And of course, the last step is installing the actual tub. It will all be based on the kind of tub that you chose for your bathroom.  Then the fixtures go in and caulk is applied on the surrounding areas of the fixtures to seal them off.

Shower To Tub Conversion Cost

A typical shower to tub conversion for most homes would depend on the square footage of the area.  It would usually average out to around $125 per square foot.  This applies for a basic bathroom upgrade and does not include costs in the event that you have any special additions required.

Shower To Tub Conversion Tips

Bathroom shower with frameless shower doors free standing tub isSo just to round it up, here are some basic tips to remember when converting your shower to a tub:

Keep your measurements in mind all of the time. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if you do measurements of your own so that you can decide on the tub type that suits your bathroom. In addition, decide whether or not it is something that you can do yourself or something that you would need to hire out to a professional. Read more about bathroom sizes on this page.

Always have a mental approximation of your running costs. Budget is everything and bathroom upgrades certainly don’t come cheap so figure out what your budget is or up to what extent you are willing to shell out should you go a little bit out of it.

Consider your handyman tips. If it is something that you can do yourself, you’ll definitely be saving a lot of money.  Be honest with your assessment. 

Insisting to DIY something that you aren’t very skilled at could result in disastrous results that might end up with you spending more money than you should have if you just went ahead and hired a professional right from the get go.

For more related content visit how to choose the best bathtub here.

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Written by Kristel - Author

Kristel Coleongco is a published author and a professional leadership mentor with an MBA from the University of St. La Salle. She also sketches and paints, which stems from her interests in creative and fundamental interior design. She is skilled in feature writing and is recognized by the Philippine Information Agency as a national IWAG award recipient.

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