Walk-in bathtubs offer many benefits for individuals who have limited mobility; however, there are features that can potentially increase the cost of the tub, beyond those associated with purchase price and installation fees. While some of these costs can be minimized or eliminated with careful planning, some are necessary to ensure comfort and safety. Here are some things to consider when purchasing your walk-in bathtub.
The sizes of walk-in bathtubs vary, which may require remodeling the existing space, adding significant cost to the installation of the new tub. Additionally, the volume of water needed to fill the tub can be much greater, as the sides are generally higher, and most styles have a raised seat, to provide added safety for the bather. Filling the tub to a comfortable capacity may demand a newer, larger hot water heater, thus adding significantly to the total cost.
Unlike traditional tubs, walk-in bathtubs have to be filled after the bather has entered the tub and drained completely before they can exit the tub. This can create a long and perhaps chilly wait for the individual. Products are available to speed the fill and drain times, but these too are generally are not included in the base cost.
Manufacturers may include standard features like grab bars and slip resistant finishes, though not all provide these items free of charge. Upgraded materials, such as an acrylic finish, may cost more initially, but may also come with more inclusive safety features. Water or air jets, pillowed surfaces, mixing valves that ensure safe and optimal water temperatures, and specialized shower fixtures can greatly enhance the bather s comfort and safety, but will also likely incur additional expense.
Finally, consider the cost of removal and disposal of the existing bathtub. Ask prior to your purchase if this service is included in the quote. Giving careful thought ahead of time to the true cost of a walk-in tub can greatly reduce potential problems and inconveniences.