Tub-to-shower conversions have become a standard in the commercial building industry. As a matter of fact, owners can’t get rid of older bathtubs fast enough. Whether it’s a hotel or multi-family development, bathrooms are getting more spacious, and shower footprints are increasing. In 2021, the shower will take center stage, and because showers are gaining space, older built-in bathtubs are being removed. Eliminating the clunky bathtub also incorporates a lower profile curb to provide a safer enhanced experience for all.
It’s important to note that finding a cost-effective and efficient way to convert a large number of bathtubs remains an all too common challenge for commercial building contractors—not to mention finding a solution that isn’t harmful to the environment.
The key is to find a product that has on-site, versatile components that will adapt to nearly any shower enclosure’s size and conditions. The QuickDrain kit, for example, contains a site-customizable drain body with versatile accessories, a waterproofing system, on-site adjustable pre-sloped PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic foam shower panels, and design-matched drain covers.
Converting tubs to showers in commercial buildings can present a unique set of challenges. Here are several crucial aspects building owners and commercial contractors will want to consider when planning to convert tubs to showers.
1. On-site customization
More often than not, when contractors demo out tubs, they run into different plumbing and fixture layout conditions in practically every bathroom. Rarely will they take out a tub and have a space that is exactly 30 by 60 inches, as it says on the construction plans.
This was the case at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, where the construction team encountered numerous job-site irregularities. The team had to find a solution that would allow them to adapt to unexpected plumbing rough-in configurations and various shower enclosure sizes. What was needed was a tile-ready and site-sizable pan to contend with a full-range of rough-in configurations.
Made of extruded rigid PET plastic foam, QuickDrain’s pre-sloped shower panels can be easily cut and pieced together without costly customization.
QuickDrain linear drains bodies accommodate challenging changes in height (via stackable leveling spacers) and in width (via drain trough extensions). The drain trough extensions enable installers to move the drain body side-to-side to avoid any site-obstructions, while still providing wall-to-wall coverage recommended for efficient drainage.
2. Time savings
When tiling a shower, if the installer were to lay a mortar bed, they would have to let it cure, next install the waterproofing, and then finally come back the next day to perform the code required flood test—taking up to three days to complete one shower.
Solutions such as the QuickDrain PET shower panel subtracts an entire day from the equation. With an on-site customizable shower solution like the QuickDrain tub-to-shower conversion kit, contractors can convert a hotel floor’s worth of tubs in one day instead of two or three.
3. Avoid core drilling or x-raying
Oftentimes when removing older tubs, the drains are set at different positions and often off-center. But jack-hammering or core-drilling through the concrete to adjust drain positioning is usually not an option for multi-story buildings with structural flooring constraint. Since many commercial buildings are constructed with post-tensioned slabs, core-drilling would compromise the building’s integrity.
Therefore it is essential to find a solution that will accommodate off-center drains. Offset or off-center waste-outlet drain bodies are particularly helpful when working in buildings constructed with post-tensioned slabs. A solution like QuickDrain USA’s site-sizable linear drain bodies solves the “off-center drain” challenge because it can be customized to adapt to existing drain locations, while also covering the fact that the drain is off-center. Bypassing some of these costly preparation services can help a hotel get back into service with a fully renovated bathroom much quicker.
QuickDrain’s drain trough extensions enable installers to move the linear drain body from side-to-side to avoid any site obstructions, while still providing the wall-to-wall coverage recommended for efficient drainage.
4. Find an eco-friendly solution
Although contractors can use traditional, on-site, shower pan-construction techniques or opt for popular prefabricated options, there is an eco-friendly solution available. QuickDrain’s pre-sloped shower panels and waterproofing system is made of extruded rigid PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic foam. The lightweight and shatterproof panels are constructed from 100% recycled plastic water bottles.
The QuickDrain Tub-to-Shower Conversion Kit includes support frames and pre-sloped floor panels to create a variety of curbed or curbless (zero-entry) enclosures. Each foam component can be easily cut and pieced together without the need for costly customization, while eliminating the time and labor to float the typical pitched concrete shower base.
An advantage for architects and specifiers is that these recycled components may make an installation eligible for LEED certification points. The extruded PET foam panels are nonreactive and nondegradable, offering high performance even under the most demanding conditions.
5. Don’t forget about style and the latest design trends
In commercial developments the ultimate goal is to create upscale, luxurious, spa-like bathrooms that provide universal design for all.
One of the biggest trends of 2020—and one that is sticking around in 2021—is rose gold and matte black finishes for fixtures and shower drains. These finishes made a big comeback in 2020 and have taken a new direction, adding a luxurious look to showers. QuickDrain offers a range of linear drain covers in various finishes, including brushed stainless steel, matte black, rose gold, and oil rubbed bronze.
From modern designs to shabby chic trends, a drain can take a bathroom design to the next level. QuickDrain’s decorative drain covers can match trending styles, including contemporary design, mid-century modern, modern farmhouse, and industrial.
A wall-to-wall linear drain, from a design perspective, maximizes drainage and offers a clean look that enhances the shower experience.
In addition, bath designers appreciate not being handcuffed to certain tile sizes that best work with a center-point drain that slopes in all directions. In sharp contrast, linear drains open up new tile opportunities, especially large-format tile or even mosaic tile sheets.
A cost-effective, efficient, and versatile shower solution like QuickDrain’s linear drain system helps contractors adapt to common commercial jobsite irregularities—unexpected plumbing configurations and structural constraints—when converting conventional tubs into spa-like, curbless or curbed shower retreats.