Instructables
Picture of How to Make a Sunken Shower with Heated Tiles
I looked at handicap accessible showers when I first began building the house because I knew my wife's arthritis was going to get worse as time went by. I wanted to be able to roll a wheel chair into it without getting bumped by a lip or edge and shower curtains have always just bugged me so I thought and thought and decided I could build one specifically to my tastes from tile for the same or less as a prefab one would be. I asked a few people and was told the way they used to do it was with a shower pan, which is basically a thick sheet of rubber like a pool liner that you use to seal the floor and then cement over and finish with tiles. They make a special drain that secures around the hole you need to cut in the rubber water tight and then a second drain screws into it to allow for about an inch or two of cement and tile putting the finished drain flush with the surface.

The house took me seven years to build so by the time I was ready to actually tile the room they had come out with some heated floor systems for warming tile floors and I splurged and went with a single ribbon system instead of the mat system since my floor was oddly shaped.

I got it on EBay and can't remember what I paid but I think it was around $600 for the entire kit including a thermostat that keeps the floor just a few degrees above the room air temp. You can get bigger systems to actually heat the floor but that seemed to expensive and unnecessary in Florida.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
Frederbee1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful. Your wife is a very lucky lady to have such a considerate hubby!
I've been wrangling with mine just to get heated floors in the bathroom, he seems to thinks it's dangerous!
Great instructable! Unless you have a floor sensor though, and depending on where the floor heat thermostat is mounted, I would suggest setting the floor temp one or two degrees lower than the standard furnace stat as the floor stat will try to heat the room, which then is called "space heating" instead of "floor warming". The heat given off by the floor can cause the standard room stat to lose it's call for heat, thus overworking the floor heating. Though not homeowner install friendly, I recommend hydronic (water) radiant floors because of their efficiency and reliability. Also, anyone else that is considering electric radiant floors and if you have no other way, the electric radiant mat that comes in rolls 12" wide is more reliable than the strand wire method. The leads are much heavier and are much less prone to breaking during installation or after due to structure settling/movement. I'd love to do an instructable on how to install a hydronic radiant system sometime, but the documentation alone would fill volumes of books. And, if done wrong...BOOM.
Senseless (author)  twotyerfryer4 years ago
Its got both a floor and wall sensor and keeps it just a few degrees above room temp automatically and you can control how much warmer you want it.
quilter24 years ago
Your wonderful work could not have been more timely. I had just talked with my husband about handrails and our unfinished bathroom .Could this be done in a concrete slab floor house? The drain issue and  nocrawlspace>>>could a heating unit of water or the electric band be used around a fiberglass pre-fab shower/bath tub arrangement? Our gas heated water is so close to this un-finished bathroom.Maybe dig into the concrete slab to heat the bathroom floor .Followed by the possible fiberglass unit at the end of this bathroom floor.  (I have never tiled before, but read a lot about it.)

Senseless,I too have been given many of life's hard hits .You inspire me to get all my Dad's shop tools up and running.That's why I gutted the garage! I thank you.

Respectfully, quilter2
Senseless (author)  quilter24 years ago
The elextric strips just need like 7/16th of an inch of sand mix over them then tiled which would end up raising the floor almost an inch I bet.

As far as the shower is concerned the easiest thing to do would be to build a stall but then that is defeating the purose of being able to get a wheel chair in there.

You could spend some time and chip away enough to fit a trap in the floor but you'd also need a way to tie into a drain line and it might easily turn into one of those weekend projects that last for months LOL.

The strips can be just a few inches from fiber glass unless you are trying to completely heat the room with a bigger strip than I used but the kit will tell you what kind of clearances you need.

Tiling is fun just measure it all out before you start and try and keep your cuts on the exterior walls in case you have a wall thats not quite straight you can hide it with mouldings.
sideways6 years ago
You must be a wonderful guy to be so considerate of your spouse's needs. In the intro, it says "handicap accusable", did you mean "handicap accessible"?
Senseless (author)  sideways6 years ago
LOL Yes Accessible would be a better word... I hit the left side of my head a while back and make that kind of mistake a lot.
flowox6 years ago
Well, all I can say is WOW..............you have something there to inspire others. You did an awesome job, just love that shower!!!!
Outstanding! Your creativity and forethought brought together something to be proud of. You must love your wife very much to perfectly meet her needs with style, beauty, and dignity. I admire your work and hope your memory continues to improve. Jerry
Senseless (author)  SD Old Flame6 years ago
You're very kind SD. thank you
Nice job Senseless, all your Instructables are very nice. I love them all, they have so much thought put into them. Great pictures and details by the way.
Senseless (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Hey Thanks that means a lot. I was in pretty bad accident a while back and crushed the left side of my head so writing and remembering takes a bit of effort. I'm very fortunate I was in the habit of taking so many photos as I went because if I see it I remember. Eventually I'll make one for every step of building a house.
Well, this is pretty amazing that you can do stuff with a damaged head, I hope you get better. Do you take the pictures yourself?
Senseless (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
I'm not gonna get much better it's been three years. I take pictures as a habit and in this case it was fortunate because if I see a photo from a year or three ago I can remember, so it's not like all the memories are gone they just are misplaced and I need a reminder sometimes. It's my lack of attention span that causes me the biggest problem but really I am so lucky to be here I seldom dwell on it. Of course it might be the lack of an attention span that causes me not to dwell on it.. I'll ponder that one at length if I ever think of it again.
I tell everyone I know that writing their ideas down is important, that's kind of true even if you're not in a situation that makes it difficult to remember things -- Just having a few notes is enough to put your mind at ease that you won't forget it, and to remind you of what you were thinking in the first place. :)
Senseless, great job. As an architect I appreciate you taking the ADA accessibility into consideration. You thought ahead about your wife's condition, even some architects fail to do that, and need the code to keep them on track. Thanks. Oh btw, we also call this type of floor, "radiant heat floor".
Senseless (author)  convex6 years ago
Even my the Top Secret Bunker Project will be ADA accessible...

http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Super-Top-Secret-Bunker-Project-Video/

My wife's actually getting interested in it and asked if she'd be able to drive her power chair into it. She's have to out the front and down the driveway but I assured her I would not build it without her being able to get into it.
This really makes me wish I had a heated shower floor!

PS: Very nice Instructable. Well done! +1
Senseless (author)  Einsteins Circuitry6 years ago
Especially on a Cold January morning... Heat is one of my few vices.
StarBlades6 years ago
wow... amazing.. time to tear up my junk shower... you are the modern day Albert Einstein, except u make sweet kick butt showers.
Gjdj36 years ago
Great instructalbe, senseless. Looks like a cool shower... and comfy!
omnibot6 years ago
Oooh .. nice. Been thinking about this for myself. It looks so comfortable.
Senseless (author)  omnibot6 years ago
It's hard to describe the pleasantness of stepping from the shower onto a heated floor. I crank it up some in the winter.
shortbus6 years ago
It is always good to see an Instrucable from you.
Senseless (author)  shortbus6 years ago
Thanks for that shortbus, More are coming.