Curbless Shower: What You Need to Know

curbless shower

Curbless Shower: What You Need to Know

This past week I posted the following picture on my Facebook account with the words: “More and more of my clients seem to be requesting a curbless shower. One that has no step up into it. Would you be requesting one for your bathroom? “

curbless shower

Image source

It was very interesting the feedback that I received.  Here are a few of the responses:

  • “I wouldn’t like one I don’t think – I am too anal about water on the floor and cleaning and etc.”
  • “I love the look of these, but I really don’t understand how they could possibly keep the water out, even with a bit of a slope. Water outside would make me crazy.”
  • “Our bathroom at the resort has a curbless shower. I’ve flooded our bathroom twice because they didn’t slope it enough or make a drain close to the door …”
  • “Less of a trip factor, etc. for the boomers, including myself.”
  • “No. I like a dry floor outside of the shower.”

Did you notice that most of the responses involved some kind of worry about water on the floor? Since these type of showers are becoming more and more popular (with aging in place as well as with clients who enjoy a minimalist design), I thought I’d shed some light on a curbless shower.

Curbless Shower: The Prep Work

As a designer, it is important to know (at least I think so) what is involved in a curbless shower so that when you design one, you are aware of the labour and process involved in installing one.  I have had a curbless shower installed for one of my clients (final photos to be coming soon) and when speaking with the tile setter, it was important to know his process.  I really needed to know his timeline for installing this type of shower so that I could set aside the appropriate amount of time for the work to get done.  While every shower will be different (based on design), I have found there to be 2 ‘camps’ on installing a curbless shower.

Curbless Shower: Structural Drop in the Floor

 wrote a great blog on the process of creating a curbless shower that involves a structural drop in the floor.

Image source

While I’m not going to go into the details (and please feel free to read his great blog on this entire process), if you do go this route, it is important to know early in the planning stages!  This involves structural changes and must be addressed early on in the planning stages.

Here is the result for this exact shower:

curbless shower

Do you see how the floor is sloped to the middle.  Also note, this shower is not totally complete.

Curbless Shower: Shower Base Method

Mike Foti wrote a great article titled 7 Myths about One Level (Curbless) Showers.  According to Mr. Foti, “They key is to have the right system so you’re not going through a major ordeal cutting joists and dropping the height of your subfloor.”

curbless shower

Image soucre

Curbless Shower: The Beauty

While the comments on my Facebook post tended to be around the water worry, all I will say is that if you have a great tile installer who knows what they are doing, you can have some gorgeous showers that have no water issues!  Here are a few of my favourite curbless shower designs.


Looking to have assistance with our next renovation project.  Contact me to discuss!

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