How to Build a Handicapped Wheelchair Accessible Shower
I completed a roll in shower for some very nice folks In Essex mass about a month ago. The lady of the houses older mom was moving in and she was preparing for the future. The prices she was getting were out of this world, and I was about the 5th guy looking at the job. The bathroom was a typical old new England over 100 years old.All the walls in the shower were 3 inch concrete with metal lathe, the outside walls of the bathroom were horse hair plaster. The first obstacle Was the tear out, This was where they were being charged the most $ for labor I walked the man of the house through what it would take and he felt confident he could handle the task. Next I explained step by step what it would take to build their shower in a economic way while still getting a top quality long lasting installation.
After the tear out, came the rubber shower pan liner installation making sure the liner is at least 12 inches up the walls and NEVER nailed below the 8 inch mark.The front of the liner will go straight out of the mouth of the shower 2 ft into the bathroom floor(because there is no curb) the liner just keeps going into the room and is nailed at the end 2ft out of the mouth of the shower
With the liner now installed the 1/2 inch hardy board is nailed to the studs everywhere that tile will be installed again NO NAILS BELOW the 8 INCH waterline. Hardy board is caulked and sealed with "silicone II" 50 year caulk.
Wall tile is now installed on the walls and we are ready to build the bench. Almost all the installers who had given quotes on the job were going to build the bench out of wood.
I knew however that concrete block was much more economic and would last forever. So in about 1 hour I laid 9 concrete blocks with 1 - 60 lb bag of masonry mix and YA! a bench for the next 200 years!
So now came the concrete 3 inch roll over "speed bump" wheel chair accessible shower floor with slant to the drain. This was accomplished in part by having built up the outside bathroom floor a couple of inches high , leaving the shower floor area 2 inches lower before we even started with the concrete . It took 5- 60 lb bags of "sand topping " mix to "dry pack"the shower floor with a slant to the drain and a "speed bump"instead of the normal curb.
The rest was tile finishing Hardy board on top of the block bench in a thick bed of "marble and granite "thinset/medium bed mortar(home depot product) then tiled. Mosaic shower floor tile laid just right over the "speed bump" and meeting the outside floor tile finished off the job.
This job cost the customer $1600 labor paid to me and about $ 700 in materials bringing their cost in at about $2300 way lower than any of their other quotes and making it possible for them to get their handicapped needs at a affordable price . Jobs like these make what I do so rewarding. Not every job can be such a pleasure but when they do come, they are so appreciated .!!