A walk-in bathtub can be a great update if you have trouble getting in and out of the bathtub, but an alternative to consider if you have mobility issues is a roll-in shower. Either addition can be costly to install, but can be well worth it in convenience and allowing you to age in place.
Enjoy a Soak in a Walk-in Bathtub
With a low lip and a door on the side, a walk-in bathtub stands about three feet high. With a built-in seat, the tub can have all the features of a high-end jetted tub, an asset if you want to enjoy deep soaking or hydrotherapy. Designed for bathing, it also has a showerhead that that can be handheld or mounted on an adjustable riser.
This type of tub does have some drawbacks:
The tub has a 6-8″ threshold that is still hard to scale for many with mobility issues. You can purchase a transfer seat to help you get in the tub, but this can cumbersome and hard to do if you are by yourself.
You must be in the tub before it fills and until it drains, which make a quick bath impossible.
The tub uses more water, which makes it less eco-friendly.
Installation is costly, as you may need to support the floor, buy a new and bigger water heater, and pay for installation.
This type of tub may impact resale value of the home unless it is removed before selling.
Enjoy Style and Convenience with a Roll-in Shower
For many people a roll-in shower offers an attractive alternative. Available either with a low-threshold rubber shower pan or a totally barrier-free entrance, the shower permits you to easily enter the shower. Unlike the walk-in tub, there is little to no waiting to turn on the water and have the shower ready to go. The shower can be equipped with a seat, grab bars, and body jets, to make it as luxurious as a regular shower and as safe as a walk-in tub.
Those confined to a wheel chair can transfer into a shower chair. If you opt for the barrier-free model you are adding a feature often found in upscale homes. Rather than looking institutional, a roll-in shower can offer high style with glass doors and tile work.
As with the tub, a roll-in shower has some disadvantages:
The model with the threshold still poses an impediment for those who need to just roll in.
Installing a barrier-free model requires modifications to the floor so that water drains correctly without making the water on the floor a slipping hazard. A contactor needs to either build up the floor or cut into floor joists; a tricky procedure that may require adding other supports.
If you replace the only tub in the house with a roll-in shower, you may impact resale as buyers like tubs to bathe kids and relax.
Select an Experienced ADA Contractor to Install Upgrades
Whether you choose a walk-in bathtub or a roll-in shower, you should be ADA compliant by hiring a competent, experienced installer, such as Western Stair Lifts.