Reading Time: 3 minutes
Curbless

We’re Going Curbless Baby

After taking my UDCP training through NARI, I realized that curbless showers were going to be a great addition for anyone and everyone who wanted us to remodel their bathroom.

Reflecting on my past experience, I recall having a plumbing inspector refuse to allow us to create one and citing a plumbing code that prohibited it unless the home had a handicapped inhabitant. Regretfully, he made us change our plans.

We did come up with a cool design, but it was not what I had originally envisioned. This time, the same inspector showed up to finalize the bathroom with a curbless shower. He scolded us, and warned that we were in violation of the plumbing code. He stopped short of having us rip it out and rebuild a curb, but it angered me to think that we were breaking a rule.

What is a curbless shower?

A curbless shower, also known as a zero threshold, barrier free, or threshold free shower, is commonly used with a trench drain or linear drain. It is a wonderful design that works well in most applications. It is a clever way to add a different dimension and it’s a cool modern and functional design.(some of my favorite combinations).

Is it better to beg for forgiveness or ask for permission?

Frustrated, because the concept of a curbless shower is a sensible thing and commonplace in commercial applications as well as European bathrooms, I needed to get to the bottom of what code we were violating. I immediately e-mailed my friend, Aaron Murphy, a CAP specialist Architect in Seattle, who was ready to come to my assistance. He knew immediately that there was something “Rong” ( I spell wrong this way) with the inspector’s interpretation of the plumbing code.

Armed with this new information and not having a copy of the plumbing code book UPC, I left a message with the inspector, not getting a timely response, I contacted the “head inspector” (a tongue in cheek name for the chief plumbing inspector) as a conversation was in order. Bill Vandergriff, said that there definitely was a confusion that he would address. His interpretation of the code goes like this: there is great mention of curb design in the code. At the bottom of the page it states that they are not required in a handicap situation. There are no plumbing, or building  code requirements for handicapped showers in residential applications, ergo the loophole.

Trench Drain

Trench Drain

“This is a wonderful thing to know,” I said, Bill has even installed them himself for friends that needed the freedom that the curbless application provides. He and I agree that special attention needs to be given to waterproofing, but that being said we are just setting tile on the next curbless shower project.

Are curbless showers legal?

After further investigation, Bill reported that among inspectors, there are strong opinions held by some in favor of them, and just as strong against. The fact that they are not illegal is real. In order to apply the code evenly, there will be a reminder/ refresher memo going out to all of the plumbing inspectors in the state.

If it is a curbless, barrier free, shower you have been wishing for, contact Levco for more detailed information. Bathrooms and Kitchens, as it turns out, are the most likely areas that will need to be updated during our Aged Home Upgrades process. We look at all sorts of things that will make living in your home more functional and enjoyable as we get up there in age and lose some of our ability.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Related Posts

Problem Solving At A Very High Level

Problem Solving At A Very High Level

The art of problem-solving has been improved for years, much like the science of evolution; it takes generations, and there is still a missing link. (or did scientists find it, and I just missed the memo) The Typical Process Someone identifies a problem and suffers...

read more
Why Hire A Remodeling Contractor?

Why Hire A Remodeling Contractor?

Your home is like any complex machinery, similar to your body in many ways. It comprises many systems that work in unison and harmony to function properly. Some specialize in commercial work; we have a residential remodeling specialty. Remodeling Contractors Are A...

read more

Leave A Comment

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories

Latest Projects

Primary Suite Remodel with Deck

Primary Suite Remodel with Deck

Primary Suite Remodel & DeckThe Challenge Inaccurate plans were provided that had to get updated over the course of the project. The project is on a creek so lots of precautions were needed to keep erosion out of it.  The Idea Create a primary suite that is...

Whole House Remodel

Whole House Remodel

Whole House RemodelThe Challenge The home was in the hillside district and in the WUI which means that the home has some extra requirements as far as firesafe and extra structural requirements. There had been an addition done to the house years prior that was not...

Whole House Remodel

Whole House Remodel

Whole House RemodelThe Challenge The property was occupied during design and the new owners were very occupied with their school aged children. Lots of deferred maintenance items had to be addressed. The Idea The home was purchased in advance of moving in with the...

Garage Remodel

Garage Remodel

Garage renovationThe Challenge The sagging roof caused be removed bracing over the years made it look like a sway-back horse. A chiropractic adjustment and some serious support were needed. Keeping with the historic look and feel of the garage was important. There...