Accessible Shower / Tub / Spa — Our Experience

With my wife’s neuropathy and difficulties in walking and balancing, we (she) decided to re-do her bathroom with an accessible shower/tub cum spa.

She contacted Bliss Tubs to see if a shower/tub would fit in her bathroom, which is attached to our bedroom.

A sales rep from the company came to our house, measured her bathroom (and my bathroom, which backs up onto our bedroom and her bathroom) and told her that the shower/tub she had chosen would fit–one of us wasn’t so sure, but he assured us that it would. Work was scheduled to begin on October 19 and be concluded by October 23 (Monday to Friday).

On Monday two workers (from Blankenship Construction) arrived to begin the work of demolition and re-building the wall that would be necessary. They began by cutting a hold in the drywall in her bathroom (to see what was in that space behind her shower) and drilled a hole through to the other side. Lo and behold–they drilled into my bathroom. It turned out that the sales rep erred in his measurements and the shower/tub would not fit in her bathroom. (Yes, the workers did fix the drywall in her bathroom.)

At that point the workers and I looked at my bathroom and determined that it would fit in my bathroom in the space where my standard shower/tub was located.

The sales rep (the very embarrassed salesman) came out and we eventually settled on installing the unit in my bathroom, widening the doorway and tiling (with soap/shampoo shelf) the area around the unit.

Work then commenced.

At this time (because of the motors/jets in the shower/tub/spa) we found that we would need to install a new electrical circuit control box as there was no space left in our fifty year old unit for new circuits–read: more $$$.

With all that went on most work was finished by Friday, October 30. On Saturday, October 31 (yes, Halloween) the electrician came to change out the electrical box–no power through most of the day. (Charlie was disappointed in that we missed both the USC and UCLA football games.) The rest of the work was finished on Monday, November 2. The final inspection by the city is supposed to be done tomorrow.

PS: No phone calls–no inspection. Hmmmm . . .


Accessible?

Does it really work? Yes, it does–with a couple of caveats.

Charlie used the unit and likes it quite well, but . . .

— both the floor and the seat of the unit are too slick–you can easily slide and hurt yourself. I cut the mat I’d been using in my shower to fit on the new tub’s floor and it worked well. I’ll need to find something for the seat that is comfortable to sit on.

— the metal grab bars are too slippery when wet. I need to find something to put on them while still having them comfortable to hold.

— there was no grab bar on the inside of the tub door and Charlie needed one to assist her in standing. I used the portable suction grab bar that we had been taking on our trips to use in hotel bathrooms that were not so equipped. It worked quite well and I may buy a couple more for the shower/tub: they work well; they’re cheap and can be moved as desired.


The Workers

The two guys who did most of the work were the kind of people you want to work on your home. They worked hard and were both polite and considerate (taking care to make sure they did not allow the cats out of the house in their coming and going).

Our entry and hallway floors were well protected and received no damage. The tiling looks great. The patching in the walls is good. The floor patching where the bathroom doorway was widened looks OK, even though they couldn’t locate a piece of flooring that was identical to the original bathroom flooring.


Evaluation

Although the entire project took longer than expected (and, of course, was more expensive than the original estimate–read new electrical box), I think it’ll prove to have been a wise decision. My wife likes her new shower/tub/spa–it’ll make her life easier and more enjoyable (and, maybe, mine too).

Oh, yeah. We also installed grab bars next to the toilets in both of our bathrooms.

And, with the dropping nighttime temperatures this week we found out that our heater (1989–and I’ve had it worked on three or four times in the last ten years) no longer works. So, next week we’re getting a new heater, replacing the asbestos ducting–with holes–in the attic and adding air conditioning. Ahhh . . . Although, if you heard a cracking sound about eleven this morning, that was my bank account.


Pictures

I took pictures throughout the work and here they are in a general order of beginning to end.


Wall next to shower.
Wall next to shower.
My old shower
My old shower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

My old shower 2
My old shower 2
My old shower space 1
My old shower space 1

My old shower space 3
My old shower space 3
My old shower space 2
My old shower space 2

My old shower space 4
My old shower space 4
Vanity
Vanity

Toilet
Toilet
Shower/Tub 1
Shower/Tub 1

Shower/Tub 2
Shower/Tub 2
Toilet 2
Toilet 2

Shower/Tub/Doorway
Shower/Tub/Doorway
Vanity & Cat
Vanity & Cat

Hall doorway
Hall doorway
Wall work
Wall work

Doorway / cat inspection
Doorway / cat inspection
Tile work
Tile work

Tile work 2
Tile work 2
Tile work 3 / cat inspection
Tile work 3 / cat inspection

Tile work 4
Tile work 4
Tile work 5 / cat inspection
Tile work 5 / cat inspection

Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 1
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 1
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 2
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 2

 

Finished 3
Finished 3
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 4
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 4

 

Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 5
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 5
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 6
Finished Accessible Shower/Tub 6

 

Floor patch
Floor patch
Accessible Shower/Tub and bathroom floor
Accessible Shower/Tub and bathroom floor

 

I will update this post as needed depending on our continued experiences with this shower/tub/spa–and very quickly if the inspection finds something wrong tomorrow.

 


Update on Scooter Carrier

It already shows signs of rust (cheap Chinese manufacture and finishing?). I am not pleased, but I can purchase a can of Rust-Oleum black paint for the carrier. Some of the bolts and nuts are also showing rust–very cheap plating.

 

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