This Guest Post is brought to you by Todd A. Stull, President of Alone Eagle Remodeling LLC. Alone Eagle Remodeling is a specialty Bathroom Remodeling Contractor in the Harrisburg, PA area.
A few months ago I received a unique phone call from a prospective client in Hershey Pennsylvania that was in a bind with multiple decisions on a bathroom remodeling project. JoAnne lives with her mother, Rose, and looks after her while the golden years are approaching. Ten years ago, they had a full bathroom update with a new cast iron bathtub, tile shower walls, tile floor and tile wainscoating. In recent times Rose has been facing the struggles of stepping over the bathtub skirt to shower which has become a frustrating task and clearly unsafe. There is a shower unit in the basement, however, the need for one floor living has pushed that option out of the way so I met up with JoAnne to scope the project and see what we could come up with.
The Tub to Shower Conversion part is easy (since I do tons of them…) but remodeling the whole bathroom was out of the equation because the budget was set for the shower area only. We agreed that a tile shower would be the best option because of the desire for precise placement of accessories. Here are some things that we discussed to pull off a successful installation:
• Safe removal of tub and shower walls (without disturbing the existing floor and tile wainscoating)
• Finding tile for the shower unit that would contrast with the existing space.
• Installing a bench for seating with a simple niche design and faucet configuration that would be within an arm’s reach.
• Mounting quality grab bars with a comfortable grip.
After product selections and contracts it was time to get down and dirty! We used drop clothes to cover the toilet and sink and used necessary floor protection during the demolition phase. The tub was removed without
damaging the floor and (although it was tedious) the tile walls were removed to the next grout line outside of the tub so we could butt the new tile/trim up to the existing. During the rebuild phase the plumbing valve was installed and sub floor blocked with an extra layer of plywood for added strength. Necessary framing was added to secure all grab bars and the seat.
I recommended a Better Bench which is a deep aluminum seat mould that’s mounted to the wall and filled with mortar. The Better Bench is engineered for a 400 lb. load capacity and a fairly easy product to install. Before installing the bench, I had a measure appointment with Rose! I had her stand up and measured from the floor to the back of her knees. We also found a chair that was comfortable for her to sit on and stand from so that we would have a definite measurement that would suite her needs. I also had her stand in the shower while blocking for the grab bars to ensure precise points of grab bar placement that would accommodate her.
The Moen Home Care grab bars added a nice touch. JoAnne selected the finger notch pattern which offers a better grip and mold to your hand. I think this feature is great especially since the bar is 1.25” in diameter. Most standard grab bars are 1.5” and hard to hold onto so kudos to Moen for a thoughtful design!
The shower faucet is a Delta Lahara 17 series which has a separate volume and temperature control. Rose needs a spray
wand so we used the Delta In2Ition shower head with attached spray wand that will mount to the head or to the wall mount bracket that we placed closer to the seating area. The spray wand also has a shut off button to stop water flow when desired. JoAnne upgraded to the Basco Infinity shower door for the frameless look and ¼” thick glass.
The rain glass pattern will show less water spotting in between cleaning and offers a bit more privacy than clear glass. Turning the keys back over was a great feeling because smiles and excitement were in the air. Friends and family were stopping by to see my work and I’m proud to give another inch in the world of accessibility.