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PROS & CONS OF A CURBLESS SHOWER DESIGN


If you are designing a seamless, modern bathroom, a curbless shower is a fabulous design feature to consider! Below we share the key differences between a typical and a curbless shower, and some pros and cons to evaluate when considering a curbless design.

In a typical shower, the wet area is separated from the dry portion of the bathroom with a curb. The curb is created during framing and wrapped in tile or stone. The shower pan sits on top of the subfloor and is waterproofed and then tiled. The curb and the shower pan slope slightly toward the drain to keep water within the wet area.

The primary bathroom above (from our West Bellevue Modern project) features a typical curb. The bathroom floor tile is 12”x24” with a coordinating 2” mosaic on the shower floor. The curb is wrapped in floor tile with a quartz cap on top.

As the name indicates, a curbless shower eliminates the need for a curb. This is achieved by recessing the shower floor a few inches to accommodate the shower pan and waterproofing, allowing the finished floor to be level from the dry area into the wet area. This feature provides several benefits such as visually enlarging the feel of a bathroom and greater accessibility for those with mobility restrictions. Because the shower pan slopes toward the drain and the glass screen seals along the floor, there is no issue with water escaping the wet area!


The client at our Education Hill Retreat project selected curbless showers in their bathrooms. The primary bathroom (above left) features a large format tile on the floor with a coordinating mosaic in the wet area that slopes toward a linear drain. In the small basement bathroom (above right), we utilized the same tile on the entire floor and the shower wall to visually lengthen the space.

 

Curbless Shower Considerations

 

Pros:

  • Visually opens the room and can help a small bathroom feel larger.

  • The same floor tile can easily be used in the entire bathroom.

  • Either a center drain or linear drain at one end of the shower can be used.

  • These showers are more accessible for people who may be at risk of tripping over a curb or who require barrier free entry.

 

Cons:

  • A curbless shower requires input from a structural engineer to make sure the recessed portion of the floor does not compromise the integrity of the building.

  • Curbless showers may require excavating a concrete slab or reworking floor joists to accommodate the recessed pan in existing conditions. This may or may not be cost effective depending on the project scope and budget.

 

If you hope to include a curbless shower in your own project, be sure to mention this to your architect or builder as early as possible. Proper planning is essential and can make this innovative design feature a reality in your home! If you’re considering a bathroom renovation or addition in the Greater Seattle Area, book a complementary introduction call with us today.

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