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Shower surround: any smaller sizes?

I need to make some modifications in my elderly mother's bathroom. She can't get in/out of the tub now, and the bathroom is so tiny, the lifts and other devices won't work. (not enough room to get her in and out)

The tub is something like 53 x 27. That's the space we have to put in a shower (either with a molded seat, or use a shower seat on legs), and then a hand-held shower set.

Are there any shower surround kits that are 27 inches wide (or deep, we could turn it)?

I can't stress how tiny this bathroom is. Any more than the 27 inches and it would block the door.

Right now, we're using a motorized lift in MY bathroom so she can bathe, but she has a very difficult time getting up my front stairs. I have a big bathroom, so this works, but it's not going to be long before it's just too difficult for her to get up my stairs. We need a solution. In fact a couple of times we've taken her to a Holiday Inn, checked into a disabled room, and then let her shower that way. But long term, that's not a good solution.

We're going to hire a plumber to do this, but I was looking around at Lowes and Home Depot websites, and they all seem to be 32 inches and beyond.

Re: Shower surround: any smaller sizes?

In this case, I'd go tile. It's not that tough to DIY and tile fits anywhere. The plumber will love you for him being able to access the wallspace freely, thus lowering his price too. After he's done, the rest is straightforward though tedious and messy. Whatever you use for a tile substrate fasten it very well and make sure the edges are well supported-at least half of the failed tile jobs I've fixed were for this very reason.


Timothy Miller
Re: Shower surround: any smaller sizes?

Have you considered an assisted living apartment for your mom they are made to allow access for her to shower and the staff can assist her. We suffered over moving my elderly mom to one but it turns out to be a great mover for her.
Wish we would of done so earlier as she would of enjoyed it more while she was younger too.

You can special order fiberglass showers in small sizes and the shower chairs availalbe are very stable. A grab bar or 2 will help her allot too.

Re: Shower surround: any smaller sizes?

With such a narrow shower, it will be very, very hard to get Mom in a chair into there, let alone someone to help out when needed, or in the case she slipped and fell. Not the best idea, me thinks.

Can you add a shower to the adjoining room? Schluter makes a 6x6 preformed shower pan and a ramp that gets you to the pan, all of which can be placed on a flat surface. This can be placed into the corner of a nearby bedroom for example. The only hard part is getting the drain pipe into place. Speak with your plumber about this. The nice part of adding a shower to the next room - it can be taken away and the room restored when you sell the house.

Re: Shower surround: any smaller sizes?

I have built retirement homes that had to meet specific codes for wheelchairs, and even though codes do differ a bit from place to place and constantly changing, and it's a fact that they work in thousands of homes for the disabled around the country, so here's the deal:

1. The entry door to the bathroom has to be 36" wide, to allow a wheelchair or a shower wheelchair (PVC chair on wheels that goes right into the shower). If your door is less that 36" wide, see if you can replace it.

2. You need to build a tiled shower, on a tiled floor, where a shower PVC wheelchair can be rolled in. That means unobstructed floor, with a slope towards the drain, no steps to climb. All those molded showers won't work. Only a custom tiled shower will work.

3. Inquire about purchasing a PVC wheel chair as described above and get one. From the bed to the PVC wheelchair, straight to the sower. Amazingly easy. After you try it you'd say: how could we have lived without it.

4. The 27" width is very tight indeed, but you don't have to comply with the code since it is not a commercial place, and it can work. The 53" length is fine. You will have water splashing, and will need to wipe after every shower. All of a sudden you mother will enjoy taking showers more often.

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