Q. We need to remodel our bathroom to adapt to our aging bodies. The fiberglass bathtub/shower leaks and needs to be replaced so that is where we need to start. What do you recommend? Also, what further updates should we make for our bathroom to serve us for many years to come? — A faithful reader
A. When fiberglass tub/showers begin to leak, you can have them fixed.
Fiberglass repair companies can match about anything but that is rarely an option unless the tub is new. If it is several years old there is not much you can do but replace it.
It is a very popular upgrade to go from a tub shower unit to a walk-in shower. They can have a curb to step over and these showers are the most popular because of several reasons.
You can also get a roll in or curbless shower if entry is required with either a wheelchair or walker with wheels. These are more expensive, are more likely to have overflow water issues and will take longer to get.
Along with a more usable shower, grab bars at both the entry to the shower but also inside will help you stand or steady yourself. A shower seat is commonly used, portable or fixed, and a removable shower head and hose are often part of a tub to shower conversion.
Big note: Local remodeling contractors are skilled and available to do these projects. Calling an out-of-town so-called accessibility expert is not necessary.
Data from AARP reports that 77% of adults 50 and older want to stay in their homes as long as possible given the right existing home modifications.
Other items should be on your radar like fall protection. Tile is popular, but it can be slippery so install something with a grip, less slip.
Remove rugs and mats that can slide on the floor and be a trip hazard. Be sure to add grab bars at all the bath fixtures including the toilet and sink areas to stabilize yourself while using them.
Consider motion activated lighting, lever faucets, larger bathroom doorways and taller toilets.
Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted to [email protected].