Should You Install a Walk-In Tub with Shower Enclosure?

Hygiene is an important component of health and comfort, but it can become increasingly difficult to access bathing equipment with age or mobility issues. Elderly people and people who suffer from arthritis, injury, or have limited mobility for other reasons, can find it difficult to safely enter a tub or shower. A walk-in tub with shower enclosure is one solution to this problem. Walk-in tubs were created to help alleviate some of the safety related problems associated with the standard bath. They include higher walls, a small door, and an easier to use seating system with hand rails. The shower enclosure can be added to walk-in tubs to give users greater control over how they choose to bathe.

Basic Model

The basic model of the walk-in bathtub is a basin that reaches just under 60 inches in length and between 26 to 32 inches in width with walls that are approximately 2.5 feet high and small door. The size and shape can create a spa-like experience for the user and the threshold to get through the door is usually only a few inches high. This standard model works well for people who can walk and don’t mind waiting for the large tub to fill up and drain before entering and exiting. However, consumer complaints have revealed that this is not always the best option for all people.

Special Features

In order to accommodate the specific needs of an individual, many modification options are available. For example, doors can either open inward or outward so that a user can be reached by outside personnel in case of an emergency. The small step up into the bath can also be reduced in wheelchair-accessible models. Hand-held shower heads and full shower enclosures can also be added to provide additional options or make the tub usable for all members of a household. Built-in adjustable chairs can also be added to help with safety and mobility. Finally, pain-reducing options including water jets and whirlpool style heating can be included to ease joint pain and enhance comfort.

Things to Know

Walk-in tubs have many benefits, especially when a shower enclosure is included. However, homeowners should be aware of the pros and cons to purchasing one before making a final decision.

These specialty tubs were designed to improve comfort and give people who struggled with mobility greater access to bathing. However, the high-walls and small door can sometimes make access more difficult for individuals who need care-giver assistance or who are unable to stand without support. These problems can be accommodated with special options like wheel-chair accessible tubs but can also increase the cost.

The depth of this style bathtub is meant to aid in comfort. However, since the tub needs to be empty before it can be entered or exited some consumers have found that the length of time it takes to fill and drain the tubs have had the opposite effect. In order to remedy this, faster drains and faucets can be installed. However, buyers should be aware that the plumbing system in their homes might need to be updated for these accommodations.

Finally, homeowners should shop around and compare prices and options. The total cost of both the tub and installation can vary based on where you shop and what options you are looking for. Most retailers offer payment plans to make the cost more feasible. In general, the combined purchase and installation price should not be more than $10,000.

Walk-in bathtubs can increase safety and provide comfort for the elderly and for people who struggle with mobility. For households with people who have different levels of mobility, a walk-in tub with shower enclosure can improve accessibility for all people. There are many positive aspects to adding this feature to your home, but it is always important to look at all of your options and select the whatever works best for you and your family.

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