Senior homeowners will extend the time they can stay living in their own homes by replacing a bathtub with an accessible shower. Custom tiles will give you a stylish bathroom to enjoy safely. Tile showers can be created with a variety of products that save time and money and provide a safe, attractive bathing area.

The first decision to make is if you want a custom tiled shower floor or a pre-molded product. The cost of materials used in a hand-crafted base is about the same as the cost of a pre-molded shower floor, also called a “pan.” Unless you do the work yourself, you will incur labor costs for about two days of work. To prepare a waterproof shower base you will need to form and tamp two layers of mortar, and create a slope for the drain, and install a vinyl membrane liner. Poorly installed shower pans will leak, and the only way to fix a faulty installation is to rip out the base and also the shower walls.

A wide range of Shower pan options

Pre-fabricated base

Freedom Shower pans are pre-fabricated with a slope towards the drain. Available in many color options including a granite style solid surface, these are popular for their easy installation. Once this pan is installed customers can tile their shower walls to suit their style preferences. This is the easiest and quickest option for creating a mostly tiled shower.

The pre-fabricated pans are easy to clean and won’t have any grout lines to worry about. Available with a roll in threshold so wheelchairs can roll into the shower without having to navigate a hump, or curbed shower pans with a 3- or 4-inch lip make stepping into the shower safe and easy for people who find climbing into a bathtub difficult, dangerous, or impossible.

Pre-molded tile over shower pans

Tile over shower pans are pre-molded with a slope towards the drain and are completely water-proof. The pan needs a mortor bed, but it’s still relatively easy to set into place. Our Tile ready pans come with an apoxy to use to adhere tiles to the surface. After installing the pan, you can completely tile the entire shower with your choice of tiles to suit your preference. Tile over pans are still much easier than forming the sloped shower base manually. There are many sizes and configurations available in this category, including pans with a trench style drain for an ultra modern choice.

Level Entry Shower Kit

For the most an eye-appealing decorator touch, you can create a “wet room” shower with a level entry shower kit. This product requires more skilled labor as you need to recess this into the existing sub-floor in order to create a flush shower floor and of course the custom tiling. However the end result is a beautiful, magazine worthy bathroom. Customers often finish these custom tile showers with a glass wall. Use the level entry kit to create any size or shape shower that you want. It comes with all the materials you need include a pre-sloped shower pan and the water-proofing needed.

Safety first

Safety should be the top consideration, but it is possible to find stylish tiles that are best for slip resistance and injury prevention:

  • Ceramic tiles are one of the most popular options because it is easy to clean, wears well, and is resistant to scratching and mold. However, ceramic is slippery. Be sure to get the widely available anti-slip ceramic tiles. These have a honed marble or stone matt finish which is less slippery and much safer;
  • Porcelain tiles are also slippery, but an etching treatment by the manufacturer mimics the rough look and texture of stone and is more resistant to slipping;
  • Non-slip vinyl tiles are cost-effective, easy to install, and durable. They provide great traction when wet, and their under layer can help reduce the impact of a fall.
  • Wood and cork tiles have great traction, but they are prone to water damage. Cork tiles with a rough finish are inexpensive and offer the greatest protection against slips.

Age in Place gives vinyl tile and cork bathroom tile an 8/10 safety rating. The highest rated bathroom tiling is rubber (10/10), but rubber tiling is very expensive and not attractive. Glass is extremely hazardous for seniors with a 3/10 rating. Although stylish and attractive, it has no place in a senior household.

Be sure to add extra backing behind walls so you can reinforce grab bars and, if desired, a wall mounted shower seat. Some seniors choose a removable shower chair. These work well as long as they are slip resistant.

Learn more

Safe bathing products continue to be developed as our population ages, requiring more affordable home safety features. We are on the cutting edge of home safety fixtures and materials. Please visit our website to see the numerous shower pan and tiling options for a Universal design shower. Through this online catalog, we aspire to give you the most comprehensive information about our accessible bathroom products. However, we know that your situation is unique.

Speak to a real person who can answer all of your questions. We may have a solution you have not thought of. Our customer service representatives are professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and located in North America. Please contact us at our toll-free number or email your questions to us. We are proud that our best asset is our customer service. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you decide exactly what you need.