View Full Version : Doorless walk-in shower
01-25-2005, 09:46 PM
I am getting ready to design a doorless walk-in shower for a master bath remodel and am having trouble finding any information on shower dimensions (length x width) that would work best for this configuration. Any ideas or comments would be appreciated, especoially if you have any experience with such a design.
01-26-2005, 04:16 PM
Check out www.johnbridge.com
The best designs have a "labyrinth" entry so water cannot easily splash out through the doorway onto the bathroom floor.
01-26-2005, 08:11 PM
http://www.wedi.de has some interesting freestanding designs and some that can use existing walls. They have distributors in the US. Some neat designs, no clue what they cost.
01-27-2005, 10:49 AM
A guy at the www.johnbridge.com did a great walk in shower with a lot of pictures. You might have to muck around his forums to find it or ask it as a question. I couldn't find it right off the bat but spend a little time or ask you'll get it.
08-15-2011, 07:35 AM
Doorless Walk In Shower
In this picture above we built for our clients a doorless walk in shower. A walk in shower or doorless shower need not be a curbless shower as well. Below the towel warmer you can see a raised platform. This platform pitches back to the window and into the shower (hidden on the right). We call this section or platform a "Dry Off Zone" - as the shower is used a small degree of water does escape the shower but it hits this platform and drains back to the shower.
This is one of my favourite showers and as an added bonus my clients can dry their wet rain coats on the towel warmer. The heat from the towel warmer dries the coats out quickier and no mess on the floors!
I received three calls for Walk In Showers this weekend and every one of them requested a linear shower drain. The number one question I'm asked is is - "Is it possible to remove a tub and install a drain?" The simple answer is yes and it is not very hard at all.
The second most common question to me is "Do you work with the Schluter's Kerdi System?" - that is an easy question to answer. NO. Most clients ask me why and I tell them it is very hard to get permission to use modified thinsets and that most of the linear shower drain installations are paired up with large format tiles like 1'x2' or 1'x3' tile. The tile companies want you to use modified thin-sets and Kerdi wants you to use non-modified. This round and round usually nets a shower build with Hydro Ban, Aqua D or Nobel TS - Schluter is only one company that makes waterproofing products and it is the one that is pushed online the hardest. The folks at John Bridge tile forum really promote it and often try to get new posters to purchase an EBook for $10.00 - my thought here is the site is more about generating sales of EBooks than actually telling all the facts.
After a simple discussion we start every job the same. I like to build the bathroom backwards first on paper. I get my clients to open an account on Houzz.com and start making an Ideabook so I can see what type of designs they like. We look at things like glass panels, tile layout, plumbing fixture locations and such. Once we know what they want we send them shopping for tile and fixtures. This often can change the plan once they know what they like.
By this point we will know what tile we like and what fixtures we are going to use. Time to determine a time line and then it's 'Time for demo!' It is very important to understand that all shower fixtures, plumbing lines, vent lines and shower drains are to be installed by a ticketed plumber. Lots of tile men will tell you that it's OK to install a shower drain (like a Kerdi Drain for example) - the plumbing codes in both US and Canada are very clear and state that only a plumber can do this. Now if you own your own detached home and have pulled your own plumbing permit you can do this yourself but you need to check with city hall first. Your tile crew or Handy Andy is not allowed to install a shower drain for you unless they also have been to plumbing school and have a ticket.
If the shower is going to be a steam shower then most times we waterproof and use Nobel TS - it's the highest rated waterproofing product I know of on the market for steam showers. Every new shower we build we flood test. This is SO IMPORTANT - flood test your showers. This is code required and should be done for 24-72 hours. Showers are easy to flood with a temporary test plug and these are quite easy to find online or at your local plumbing wholesaler. After the flood test all the water should drain and no standing water should be present. To achieve this you need a pre-slope under your waterproofing.
If you decide to hire someone to build your new walk in shower make sure before they quote the job you inform them that a 24-72 hour flood test must be done and that no water shall be left after the removal of the test plug. This will weed out the hacks and the Wannabe shower builders for sure. This will insure your new walk in is built right and will serve you well for years to come.
Flood testing a barrier free walk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atHckvMT-44) in can be simply with a temporary dam and I advise my clients here in Vancouver to also incorporate a second emergency drain into the bathrooms design. Terry and the plumbing crew here on Terry Love's site can help with this.
I'm finding a huge spike in the number of homeowners who are acting as their own General Contractors and it is so important you understand the entire job before getting quotes. Unless you outline and spec the right process you are liable to get close to what you want but not exactly. Another good tip is to tell your builder, tile crew that you wish the shower to follow TTMAC or NTCA guidelines in regards to tile lippage and waterproofing options. This will not limit you to Hydro Ban or Kerdi or any one size tile but will outline very clearly things like floor deflection, slip joints, lippage criteria, expansion joints etc.
Often when I build a walk in shower we remove the curb or barrier completely or design a low curb. Wood has no business in your shower curb. Neither does styrofoam. If your going to install any kind of styrofoam or plastic in your shower make sure you are allowed to use a highly modified thinet before proceeding. If the requirements are for non-modified and you have a wood subfloor - RUN AWAY.
Take a look at these showers on my Houzz Account (http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24257/list/Curbless-Showers--Wet-Rooms--Level-Access-Bathroom-Renovations) - look for inspirations and post your question here on Terry's site. This is where the plumbers are.
08-15-2011, 05:39 PM
And again, this one is over 6-years old!
08-16-2011, 06:16 AM
And again, this one is over 6-years old!
How do you know which are the old threads and which are the new ones? I like to google search terms and this thread comes up. Seems silly to me to have such little info on an active thread. By active I mean high traffic. There is so much more information here on Terry's site than the other you love to send everyone to - I'm just filling in some blanks and offering up some of my insight.
Many of your local plumbing inspectors will require you to have an entry to your new barrier free shower of at least 36". It is so important to consider how the shower will be used and if a care giver will need to get inside the shower at bathing time. A shower designed for someone with limited mobility needs to consider their strong arm or strong leg. If the care giver is left or right handed. Do you need a transfer bench?
Often a shower can be designed with a large 5'x5' inside measurement to give options. Removing the glass doors completely and installing the toilet near the wet zone can make a more functional bathroom if personal washing is a problem.
Consider having a discussion with an Occupational Therapist before designing your new shower. Go in and see your local plumbing inspector to find out what is required. Many times the homes construction will dictate the design to some degree so seek out a skilled builder and tile crew once you begin the process.
There is no magic answer and everyone's needs should be considered. Planning for old age and care givers will increase the size of your dream shower and will cause a chain reaction of forethought in your new homes design.
Follow this link to my Ideabook on Houzz.com (http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24257/list/Curbless-Showers--Wet-Rooms--Level-Access-Bathroom-Renovations) for barrier free shower inspiration. There is over 100 shower designs in this one Ideabook.
11-18-2011, 11:57 AM
I'm a newcomer to this forum ... for a reason! Even this thread is "new" to me.
I've travelled a bit, and I really liked the places where the entire bathroom floor was, in effect, the shower pan. The idea that you 'must' have a plastic closet with a curb to serve as your shower is so ... American.
As a first-time homeowner, I bought a house that will have a complete-gut rebuild. One feature of my plan is that the bathroom will double in size. I'd really like to have BOTH a barrier-free shower and a separate walk-in tub. The usual toilet and (lavatory) sink will be joined by a hair-wash sink as well.
I appreciate the info here -and in the 'curbless shower' thread- regarding open showers. It looks like I might not be REQUIRED to have a curb ... or, if I must, I can place the curb at the entrance to the bathroom.
John, I appreciate the 'second drain' thought. Perhaps I can do this by having the sinks drain to a floor sink on the (you guessed it) floor? A straight tailpiece without any trap, letting the floor sinks provide both the air break and the trap? Sort of like what you see in restaurants?
11-20-2011, 08:43 AM
... John, I appreciate the 'second drain' thought. Perhaps I can do this by having the sinks drain to a floor sink on the (you guessed it) floor? A straight tailpiece without any trap, letting the floor sinks provide both the air break and the trap? Sort of like what you see in restaurants?
I would look into other options before going this route. There are many ways of piping a secondary drain into your home's plumbing system. The key is hiring a top setter (water proofer) and a skilled expeirenced plumber. I work with a lot of great plumbers here in Vancouver and am always learning new codes and restrictions. This and the fact that we build a lot of barrier free projects for Vancouver builders puts me in front on many inspectors in all the local neighborhoods and lets me talk theory with many inspectors. I would think a second drain would be better as you will not have your tooth paste and soap running across your floor tile.
Here is a look at our current barrier free bathroom in North Vancouver (Edgemont Village Area). It is not a true barrier free home as there will be roughly a 3/4" change in grade at hthe entrance to the bathroom.
If you just study the picture above it looks much like a flat floor. Here is a diagram that shows how we did the grading in this room.
This was a very tricky grading challenge since their is a tub going into the shower area. You can see how I chose to start off of the tub's center line for one of my primary grading lines. This will allow the tub to set steady on the tiled floor. The tub will be slightly out out of level but we can fix this with setting some small tile as feet where the claw feet meet grade. The curved curb will be the base for a glass block wall.
This home was plumbed before we arrived and where called in to do the waterproofing and no secondary drain was installed. Currently in Vancouver this back up drain is "Optional" where everywhere else in the world excluding the States it is required.
Placement for a back up drain is key and before plumbing rough in tile selection should be made. This helps in the back up drains location as grading changes can happen along tile grout joints.
11-21-2011, 04:04 PM
John, I cannot thank you enough for the time you're sharing!
I do intend on having 'pros' do the actual work. I spent too long learning my trade to not have respect for my fellow tradesmen!
Perhaps you misunderstood my description. I'll try to get a sketch scanned, but until then I'll try words (again).
Overseas I saw commercial kitchens that were plumbed so that the sinks had simple, straight pipes dropping straight down from the drain, to where they ended (maybe) 3" above the floor. Set in the floor was a trough with a grating over it; this trough often served several sinks, and typically came out from under the sink only at the end. At this end there was a much-enlarged cylinder dropping straight down, where it conected to the drain piping at the bottom. Into this cylinder sat an easily-removed basket for catching large materials (like vegetable peelings)
In short, with this arrangement you would not have the 'toothpaste flowing across the floor tiles.' You would give any overflow, or splashings, from the shower area, another place to drain. This would be in addition to a drain placed within the shower area proper. I had forgotten about these 'floor sinks' until I read your other remarks about wanting there to be a secondary drain.
For the moment, let me try to explain the proposed layout:
Bathroom is about 8ft. x 10ft. As you stand in the doorway, you are looking across the 8ft. dimension. The wall on the left is about 2ft. to the left of the doorway, and the wall on the right is more than 5ft. to the right of the doorway.
On the left wall is a bathroom sink, a hair wash sink, and the toilet. On the right, as you enter, is a shallow linen closet and a glass shower partition, perhaps 40" long. After the partition is aa 'aisle' between the shower area and the tub. The tub is set with the short end opposite the toilet, and the long side along the far wall. This arrangement gives you a shower area of about 40" x 4ft. "within" the partition, and 5ft x 4ft if you include the 'aisle' as part of the shower space.
11-21-2011, 08:35 PM
I think I have a handle on your design but have not seen this done in a residential setting before. ACO makes a wonderful linear drain with an optional hair strainer and currently they are the only linear drain with this feature.
I will ask my plumbing inspectors what they think about your design and if it is allowed to be done. If you email me some plans and some pictures we can post them here and see if the plumbers in house can offer up some ideas.
I know ACO has a new sink soon to be released that does drain to the floor and I have been waiting for it's release. It might be a European sink with and ACO drain now that I think about it.
You have me thinking and thinking outside the box. Give me a few weeks to ask around and make some inquires in the field. If it can be done I'm sure the crew here on Terry's site can get you pointed in the right direction. Like you my passion for these bathrooms stems from European travels and smart bathroom design. I married my wife on Santorini Island in Greece and almost every hotel we stayed at had a one room bathroom (toilet, sink and floor drain with the entire space the shower) I thought it was brilliant and have been building bathrooms as close to this as I can.
11-22-2011, 08:37 PM
In order to check my work and meet current building codes this doorless curbless shower we are building in North Vancouver needs to be flood tested. This procedure is one of the most common requests I get via email from builders and home owners alike.
02-25-2013, 05:38 PM
Just letting you know I have not fallen off the edge of the earth!
As we enter this Spring, I'm gearing up to get the framing done, and the plumbing started around the end of May. During the winter, my demolition revealed that the sub-flooring in both the kitchen and bath was shot. I can't say I'm surprised. The happy news is that, for my plans, the floor joists run the 'right way.'
I believe I have found a source for the drain I want to place under the sinks: http://www.stainlessdrains.com/trench.html Yup, the term I was looking for was 'trench drain.' I'd use this by having a ball valve on the sink discharge, and a tail piece that would end a few inches above the grating. Want to drain the sink? Turn the valve, and it all dumps into the trench- where the strainer basket catches anything that doesn't belong. At your convenience, pop the grate, pull out the basket, and dump into the nearest trash can.
Now I am looking for a flooring contractor. The quest never ends :D