Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 9/7/2011

We need help adapting our bathroom for my disabled husband. He needs rails and the bathtub/shower doesn't work anymore.

My husband can't step into the shower without slipping. He holds onto the closet. We don't know how to adapt it for handicapped. Do we take out the bathtub? Can we buy an enclosure with bars in it? Is this a big and expensive job? Is it a DIY job?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

7 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Barrier free shower pans and complete ADA compliant (American Disabilities Act) shower stalls are available through major plumbing and building supply outlets. A tile-ready, low threshold, fiberglass pan can be purchased for under $600.00. To the shower pan, a water-proof surround (tile, cultured marble or other water proof surface), a seat and robust grab bars must be installed. A complete shower stall assembly can be significantly more expensive. However, the assembly comes complete with grab rails and a built-in seat. In both cases, the conventional shower head can be replaced with a hand-held unit that can be easily used by a seated individual.

Converting a conventional bath tub to a handicap-friendly shower is no small task. Removing the existing tub means replacing the tub surround as well. It entails a certain degree of demolition, new plumbing connections, the installation of strong backing to support the grab bars and the installation of a new shower splash. Unless the remodeler is very handy, energetic and knowlegable of ADA standards, the project is best handled by a professional.

As with all construction projects, do your homework, be objective when interviewing contractors and pay for nothing until it is installed.

Answered 9 years ago by Larry


Angie always suggests knowing your abilities before attempting a DIY job. If you're not an avid DIY-er, I'd suggest staying away from a bathroom project, as a mistake could be extremely costly in the long run. Angie's List has many great contractors who can make your bathroom into a handicap-accessable space by making the changes that are right for your needs.

Answered 9 years ago by Cas


depending on the lay out of the bathroom, you may be able to put a bar accross the back wall so he can get in and out with bar. you should find a local cantracter to help, he will be able to fasten the bar to the studs for best results. if the lay out dosnt allow this then you will have to remodle the tub area so you can fasten to studs.

Answered 9 years ago by kevin


Hello: Sorry your husband is having such difficulty. Without seeing the space; without a drawing of where the shower is in comparison to other objects, it's impossible to advise you in this venue. You should hire a local designer to come take a look at the space and assess it for you. From that point, he/she will be able to give you an educated solution. If you'd like to send me a basic drawing (floor plan) with measurements of the area including the tub/shower, closet, toilet, sink, etc., I might be able to advise better. Do NOT attempt a a bath project by yourself and just throwing up bars will not address the situation. Baths are particular due to plumbing and electrical and should be addressed by a certified professional. Best of luck to you and let me know if I can be of further assistance. Maria Perron, ASID, NCIDQ #022820.

Answered 9 years ago by Maria


The answer to your question really depends on your needs. If you only need to install grab bars, you may be able to do it yourself or get a handy man to do it for you. If your needs go beyond that, I would recommend hiring a qualified contractor or remodeler.

Answered 9 years ago by BuildingConcepts LLC


As other have said, this is not an EASY, SIMPLE, Do It Yourself task. Even if you were very handy, and even if you had access to all the legal requirements for accessibility (ANSI and the Americans with Disabilities Act) you need to know how to appy these requirements/laws to your specific situation. Your husband has unique requirements related to HIS disability. It is of utmost importance to address HIS requirements, not those of the "average" persons (what ANSI and ADA do).

The best, quickest, and least expensive way to accomplish what you want is to hire a design professional with knoweldge and experience in the design, and remodeling of buildings for persons with disabilities. They have the training and experience to advise you on how to deal with your current situation. They also will be able to provide a design that can adapt or accommodate the future condition of your husband, and yourself.

Answered 9 years ago by Belles Architecture


Thank you all for your answers. Thank you Larry for your advice. We will check our local Home Depot and Lowes and also check with local contractors. Thanks for your help.

Answered 9 years ago by Sunbunny50


Many have answered this, and most are on track:

This is not a typical DIY project, it is a moderate to advanced job.

Buying an enclosure with grab bars, while an option, is not the only consideration; the enclosure (or the bars) must be secured to framing to ensure they are sturdy. This will typically require installing extra blocking between the studs at the correct location and installing proper bolts / anchorage for the support bars.

There are several options; if the shower is large enough, 'roll-in' showers with accessible features are available as a replacement to your current shower. If it is not large enough, the existing shower may be a candidate for modification; the adding of grab bars and textured flooring materials. If it is too old, out dated or not desired to modify, you then might consider having a custom shower built in the space, with tile or other finishes. This way you can use what space you have, install the grab bars, seat and floor material that will assist your husband.

If none of those options appeal, you can replace the tub with a roll-in shower or transfer-shower. Because you face options and you have a set space to work with, it might be worth your time to contact a local lisenced Architect. They can look at your existing fixtures, their layouts and their age, then direct you on suggestions that would solve your concerns and stay within budget. An architect will also be able to help you set a realistic budget and select a builder, and can even oversee the work to ensure you get what you paid for. The cost of the architect is negligible in return for the peace-of-mind and cost savings options they can recommend.


Answered 9 years ago by Kenny Johnson

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy