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Creating a curb-less shower, part 1

Andy the plumber starts things off by removing the existing shower drain assembly.
Andy the plumber starts things off by removing the existing shower drain assembly.
david getts

An indoor shower is an essential tool for the contemporary home. The alternative to showering is taking a bath, which is a great option, but only when you have the time to soak and enjoy it. Showers are also much more environmentally friendly because they use fewer gallons of water and require less energy to heat than traditional bathtubs.

Eliminating the curb enhances the showering experience.

You probably don't think too much about the inner workings of a shower since it is so common, but understanding that it is an open water source in the home goes a long way in appreciating their design. In order to keep the water contained, a shower must have a good drain system and a wall/floor surface that is impervious to the regular exposure of water. To help contain this water, showers are either located in a bathtub or have a dedicated pan for collection.

A more friendly shower experience eliminates the perimeter curb (or small wall) that keeps the water from getting outside of the containment area. Without a curb there is no tripping hazard and the space just feels less constrained. In order to build a shower without a curb, you've got to be able to slope the entire floor towards the drain. That way, any water that escapes the immediate bathing area will not flow outside of the bathroom itself. This requires engineering the entire bathroom floor as a watertight shower pan. Curb-less showers are gaining popularity as the quest for the best bathing experience continues. In the first of this multi-part series, we'll explore the initial preparation requirements for making this happen in a master bathroom remodel.