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Plumber: Do some homework before starting bathroom remodel

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It may be wise to install just one walk-in shower, then keep the tub and shower in the other bathroom. 

Question: Ed: We have two full bathrooms and want to convert both tub and shower units to walk-in shower stalls. But some friends have mentioned that removing the bathtubs could possibly list the bathrooms as half-baths? Your input is welcome.

— Arnold, Iowa

Answer: I get this question often and tell homeowners to contact a local real estate agent to address this question before removing any bathtubs.

With that said, I've heard tradespeople at building shows discuss that a full bathroom consists of a toilet, sink, shower and bathtub. (A single tub and shower unit can count as two fixture components.) A bathroom with less than those four basic fixtures may not be considered a full-bath.

If a bathroom has three out of the four fixtures it could maybe be called a three-quarter bath. But most home listings I've seen refer to bathrooms as full or half-baths, so keep that in mind.

In my opinion, it may be wise to install just one walk-in shower, then keep the tub and shower in the other bathroom. This way a full bathroom may be retained no matter what.

Bottom line: Like the old saying goes, don't throw out the bathtub with the bath water!

(Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.)

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