LESLIE: Alright, next up on The Money Pit is Nancy in Florida.
Nancy, how can we help you?
NANCY: I have a problem with a shower stall.
LESLIE: Alright, what’s the problem?
NANCY: When it was originally built, the house, in 1981, the contractors dropped the flooring right to the bottom, 12 inches, so you step into the shower stall.
TOM: Wow, you step into the well, huh?
NANCY: Into a well, yes. And it was tile.
NANCY: Now when you wet or you’re soaking, it’s almost impossible to get out of it. I want to raise that floor …
NANCY: … by putting in a stall – a pan-type situation in the stall.
NANCY: Now my problem is how can it be done and what do we do to also bring the piping up as we bring up the flooring in there?
TOM: OK, well it’s not really a do-it-yourself job because you’re getting into some pretty serious plumbing there. But is this shower stall on a cement slab; is it on a crawlspace; is it on a basement? In other words, are the pipes accessible underneath?
NANCY: No, it’s on a cement slab.
TOM: OK, so what’s going to have to happen is that that slab is going to have to be probably broken up around the drain enough to free up access to that pipe to be able to extend it up to 12 inches. That’s a lot of work. And then the other thing you need to do is sort of build up the floor and then add the new shower pan.
Rather than go through all that, if really the issue here is just slipperiness, why don’t you look at some different ceramic tile; have the shower pan completely replaced; maybe build a step into it that has some slip-resistant tile so it’s just easier to get in and out? Because I’ve got to tell you, raising up that 12 inches is going to be very, very expensive.
NANCY: Alright, here’s another suggestion. What about placing a tub in that area? Is there a drop on the tub?
TOM: Well, I mean you’d have to get pretty lucky and find one that fits. How big is the shower stall?
NANCY: Say, about 5-foot long by about 2.5-foot wide.
TOM: Hmm. Wow, that is about the size of a small bathtub, isn’t it? (chuckles)
LESLIE: Yeah, it might work.
TOM: It could work. But you know, if the issue here is just to help you get in and out, it seems like there’s a lot easier ways to get to that solution than completely rerunning your plumbing system so that it has to have pipes where no pipes were meant to go. I would really just look at rebuilding the shower pan. If you take the old tile out, the shower pan can be rebuilt. Alright? But basically what I’m saying is that could be relined and then you could put a new tile on there. I mean something like an unglazed terracotta tile is not going to be slippery.
LESLIE: Even a slate.
TOM: Yeah, or a slate. Both of those could be very attractive. So I would look to some other options besides trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by trying to drop a bathtub in there or finding a new shower pan that you could raise up 12 inches. Because I think you’re going to have a hard time finding them to fit. OK?
NANCY: OK, thanks.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.