Change to floor- level shower
Case study of the installation of a PLANCOFIX PLUS to replace a shower with a raised tray with a floor-level shower – despite a lack of gradient
The Röttgermanns, a retired couple, tried to find a new future-proof solution for a barrier-free shower in their semi-detached home (built in 2001). Before a floor-level shower could be installed, a certain amount of research was required until they found the perfect solution.
Several proposals for a bathroom overhaul
The Röttgermanns’ bathroom is on the first floor of a handsome semi-detached house and was fitted with a shower more than ten years ago. Now the shower was to make way for a barrier-free shower.
Winfried Röttgermann (82) turned to his local installation company and arranged for a consultation session. He was not, however, at all pleased with the solution proposed by the plumber. As the downpipe was about 8 m away from the shower, at the far side of the house, and the floor construction height could not accommodate the gradient needed for a floor-level shower, the following proposal was made: A hole was to be drilled through the bathroom floor into the ground floor and a suspended drainage pipe was to run right through the house towards the downpipe. Naturally, the pipe, which would now run through the living area, would have to be clad using dry-construction panels. The cost estimate ran almost into five figures.
The second plumber consulted by the Röttgermanns also recognised the problem of insufficient gradient and attempted to dissuade them from installing a floor-level shower. “We can’t avoid a raised shower tray, because this is the only way to ensure that the water flows freely to the downpipe”, was his explanation. This offer cost only half that of the previous proposal, but the objective of creating an age-appropriate shower with no barriers was not achieved.
The right answer was suggested by the third plumber, whose simple solution made the installation of a floor-level shower possible. He recommended a floor pump system called PLANCOFIX that now included an even flatter version within the range: the PLANCOFIX PLUS.
The lack of gradient is overcome by a small yet powerful pump, integrated into the floor drain of the PLANCOFIX PLUS, which transports the water safely to the nearest gravity drain. This dispenses with the need for a raised shower tray, so that there is nothing to prevent the installation of modern, tiled shower area.
The PLUS version is just 9 cm in height, including an insulating tray, and is extremely quiet. It is easy to install and the accessories are included.
“I was immediately impressed with the solution”, says Winfried Röttgermann, who then engaged the third plumber to install their barrier-free shower. And the costs for the PLANCOFIX PLUS, including installation, lay significantly below those of the shower tray solution.
Every conversion project starts with the removal of the existing system. In the Röttgermanns’ case, the shower was taken out and tiles were removed ready for the installation of the new drainage system for the shower (images 1 and 2).
The installation of the drainage pump only takes about two hours. The height of the screed flooring beneath the tiles was reduced by 5 mm so that the tile layer could create the necessary gradient for the water to flow across the tiles. The PLANCOFIX PLUS is connected with a pressure-resistant pipe to the existing drain, 50 mm in diameter. The pump was connected to the electricity supply in the neighbouring wall, where a socket was available that met the manufacturer’s fuse requirements (image 3).
Underfloor panels were laid across the shower area to create the necessary gradient. The sealing membrane included in the package was laid around the PLANCOFIX PLUS and made watertight by fixing with tile adhesive (images 4 and 5). The final step was to tile the shower area. The PLANCOFIX can be completely tiled, so that it blends inconspicuously into the shower area. Alternatively, a stainless steel element can be installed as an outlet grate (images 6a to c).
The small tank is accessible from above for cleaning (image 7). The pump hydraulics can be easily taken out so that the usual collection of hair, fluff and dirt etc. can be removed.
Winfried Röttgermann has had the shower in operation for several weeks now and is more than satisfied with his decision to install the Plancofix.
How does the PLANCOFIX work?
Once the shower has been set in operation, the small tank set into the floor fills up and the integrated quiet pump starts up automatically via a float switch. The water from the shower is then actively pumped to the nearest downpipe.
Further information, an animation showing how the PLANCOFIX works, and an explanatory film can be found at www.plancofix.com. The PLANCOFIX can be purchased from specialist dealers. Plumbers interested in using the explanatory film for demonstrating the system to end customers are welcome to use it.