Barrier Free Showers 101

Ever wonder if you can have a curb-less shower? Read on!

Written by: Matthew Sandoval

DIY Friendly: Only experienced Pro's 

Barrier Free Shower

Maybe you've seen one of these flashy curb less showers on a T.V. show, or your neighbor just finished a remodel and had one installed. You may be wondering what they are used for, how much cost they typically add, or what type of work is involved with the installation.


Almost all showers can be curb less, it's a simple process that just adds a few steps (and a few bucks) to your remodel cost.

In most circumstances, a curb less shower can be installed during any standard shower or bathroom remodel. They are accomplished by lowering the sub-floor in the shower area to allow for slope to the drain.

Your contractor will start by removing the old sub-floor, and using brackets or framing the floor lower. They will then reinstall the sub-floor, and determining drain location. In the case of Linear drains, placement may need to be in the entry of the shower to allow for enough slope. NEVER cut the joists, it could result in serious structural damage, unless a general contractor and engineer design a new support structure.

In this example, we used the Ebbe Subfloor Recess Kit. It was user friendly and we highly recommend them.

Linear Drain Curbless

After drain location has been determined, the drain will be installed and the shower pan will be floated to the appropriate slope. Tile Council of North America (TCNA) recommends 1/4 of an inch per foot. If you or your contractor are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with floating a pan, several companies like Schluter Systems offer pre made pans. 

Once the shower pan has cured, it is ready for a waterproofing membrane. We recommend Schluter Kerdi for this application.

After the waterproofing has cured, it's ready for tile! Always be sure to use a licensed contractor that is familiar with, and has performed these installations before. 

Kerdi waterproofed shower
How much does it cost?

You can expect an additional cost of $500-$1500 to your budget for curbless or no barrier shower. (depending on size and difficulty) While it may vary slightly by region, that has been our baseline in Boise, Mccall, and Ketchum. An average cost is around $1000.

We hope this helps shed some light on curbless showers. If you have more questions, or suggestions for another topic, please email me @