Remodeling a small bathroom and creating a functional and cool space can be tough. Quite frankly there are many products and options that just won’t fit into a small space. You might have assumed if you wanted to install a glass block shower wall in your small bathroom it was impossible – but think again. Even if you have a standard sized tub or small shower combined with a soaking tub – you can alter your space to include a glass block shower.
This article will provide 8 ½ steps to guide you on how to remodel a small bathroom and still have room for a block shower and base.
Step 1 – Measure the size of your bathroom, tub and shower area and make a drawing – Small space planning begins with planning and designing first – with no excess room to spare you’re got to make ever inch count. Measure the tub or shower, vanity, toilet and closet -put a tape measure on everything and then get some graph paper (or a computer program if you have it) and plot out what’s there now. The good news is if you have a standard tub (most common tubs range from 60″ x 30″ to 60″ x 34″) or a standard shower/soak tub combination (most showers range from 36″ x 36″ to 40″ x 40″) there will be a glass block shower enclosure option for you.
Step 2 – Determine if the existing layout, look and function of the bathroom works and develop a first cut drawing of your new design- Now is the time to get rid of anything that is big, bulky, seldom used, doesn’t work or is just plain ugly. Try to get more efficient with the space surrounding your existing tub/shower. Is the vanity too big? Could it be replaced with a pedestal sink? A bathroom remodeling project in Cleveland recently made this change with dramatic results. Could an existing closet be replaced with open shelving? Could you purchase a smaller toilet that sits closer to an existing wall?
Also look at the tub and/or shower areas to see if they’re located in the right place for you (if you can keep the drain and shower head in the same location it will save you money).
Make sure that the drains and the shower heads are working properly. If you need to replace a shower valve, head or drain assembly now will be the time to get this done.
Determine if you’d like to replace your tub with a walk in shower or a shower with a door. For a walk in design determine if you’d like to enter from the right side or the left side. (Note: for a door-less design you’ll generally need about 58″ wide or more to make this option work). Develop a new penciled drawing of what you’d like your space to look like and draw the approximate size and design (straight, curved, or angled) of the new glass block shower wall.
Make sure to consider what type of flooring and wall materials you’d like when you’re done. A tile shower floor and wall generally have a more luxurious feel than an acrylic wall and base for a block shower stall. Tile is usually more expensive, but there are far more sizing options with ready for tile bases than preformed acrylic block bases (which are only available in standard sizes and shapes).
Step 3 – Get input on your bathroom shower design, stay away from “Uncle Louie,” and finalize your design- Consult with a bathroom remodeling professional and/or block installation contractor about your design and try to get a rough feeling of project costs. Ask them for specific ideas to keep costs down while maintaining or improving your design. Make sure to think about what shower accessories you might like – shower caddies, bench seats, shampoo and soap niches, leg ledges etc.
Stay away from your well-intentioned “Uncle Louie” or any other friend or family member who claim to be a building expert because they’ve done 1 bathroom job a few years ago.
Consider your skill set and what facets of the project you might like to do yourself and where you need to contract out. For the shower you can order premade glass block walls and ready for tile shower bases to improve your finished quality, yet the assemblies still allow you to save money by doing your own field labor as a do it yourselfer or small contractor.