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Thread: How do I get a roll-in shower with existing radiant floor heat?

  1. #1
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    How do I get a roll-in shower with existing radiant floor heat?

    I'm doing an accessible bathroom remodel in a house that has hydronic radiant floor heat. I need a barrier free roll-in shower. I think we can keep the drain where it is and just take out the shower insert that has a small rise up to it. The contractor doesn't want to break into the floor to lower the drain because of the risk of puncturing one of the heat tubes. So they want to tile the whole bathroom, which will create the slope needed, and ramp up 3 inches from the bedroom. I hate the idea of a ramp in the bedroom! Also I'd prefer a softer surface other than tile, so it won't be so hard should I happen to fall on it. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    A 3" rise would require a 3 ft. ramp. You may need to find a different contractor. Tile though is really the best surface, but make sure it is anti-slip (not the same tile as on the walls).

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    I also had a shower insert that we removed. The initial plan was to notch the floor joists to lower the shower floor. We had some justified concern over the structural integrity of this. Instead, we left the joists as is and created a shallow dish for the shower by building up areas away from the drain. That left a rise of about two inches (maybe less) at the entrance. The contractor and tile guy made that hump gentle enough that I have no trouble rolling over it. From what little I understand about your situation, I can't see why you could not do the same.

  4. #4
    I think a little of what both of you want to do will work. Take out the shower and make a small build up rise and tile the entire floor. Water that accidentally gets out can be cleaned up, or you can have a throw rug to absorb errors that gets picked up to dry after showers.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    When they built my addition they did sculpt the floor joints for the drain. I did still have a little bit of a rise to go over to get into the shower. What the contractors did was use 2" tiles for the floor and then made a small hump for me to be pushed over. I'm not sure if this would technically meet ADA guidelines, but it works for us. My wife gives a gentle push to get over the hump. The hump is high enough to keep the water in too. Just another idea. It may not work though because of the radiant heat in the floor and the contractor doesn't want to deal with it.
    DaDutchman
    C5/C6 since 2007 due to car accident

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this without a "hump" to get over. We tried to design a ramp inside the bathroom going up to the shower, but I need all that space for turning room and didn't want to be turning over the side of a ramp.

    They tell me the problem with the hydronic radiant floor heat is there's no way to tell where these water tubes are, or which direction they run, until you open up the floor. Then it can apparently turn into a big expensive mess, especially if they puncture a tube.

    What do you all think about this for a flooring material, as opposed to tile?
    http://www.altrofloors.com/Altro-Aquarius

  7. #7
    I doubt there are tubes existing under the shower. Rip it out, turn the heat way up and feel the floor to the locate the tubing. I did that in my home which has copper embedded tube heat in a concrete slab. I was even able to tell which tubes were supply and which were return.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  8. #8
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    nonoise, there's a bedroom downstairs directly below the bathroom and it has it's own heat zone thermostat. So I wonder if the heat for that bedroom is coming from it's concrete floor, or from the ceiling above? Do you think they'd do a double layer of tubes; one on the floor of the bathroom, and then one just below that in the ceiling for the downstairs bedroom? Thanks for your help.

  9. #9
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    KLD, earlier you said tile is best for flooring. But do you have an opinion on the Altro Aquarius flooring? Looks like they use this in hospitals. Thanks, and I appreciate your perspective.

    http://www.altrofloors.com/Altro-Aquarius


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by beatscookin View Post
    nonoise, there's a bedroom downstairs directly below the bathroom and it has it's own heat zone thermostat. So I wonder if the heat for that bedroom is coming from it's concrete floor, or from the ceiling above? Do you think they'd do a double layer of tubes; one on the floor of the bathroom, and then one just below that in the ceiling for the downstairs bedroom? Thanks for your help.
    Hey beats, I think there is separate heat in each room. Like I said turn your heat on full blast and start feeling the floors (and ceilings) to find the tubes.

    By the way I did not comment on that altro stuff as I did not completely understand what was being offered but it looked like something out of a can. Their description of it's durability makes it sound like it would work. One thing you need to be aware of is that it will conform to the surface it is applied to if it is a liquid product. That is, any irregularities in your surface will reflect in the finished surface.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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