Bathroom Reno: Choosing Between a Walk-In Shower and a Bathtub

Design Tips for Small Bathroom Remodels
August 31, 2020
Bathroom Reno: Choosing Between a Walk-In Shower and a Bathtub

When doing a bathroom renovation, it’s common to wrestle with the decision between a bathtub or a walk-in shower. To help you with this decision, consider the following questions to see which option is right for you.

Q: How many full bathrooms do you have?
If you have more than one bathroom with a tub and you are only considering changing over one to a walk-in shower, you won’t alienate young families with children if you ever decide to sell your home. If the bathroom you’re renovating is the only full bathroom in the home, you might consider if eliminating the tub will do you a disservice.

Q: Do you plan to sell the home?
If you plan to sell the home at some point, ripping out the only bathtub in the house might be a tough issue for potential buyers to get over. Particularly, expectant couples and young families will want some kind of bathtub in the house as washing up children in a shower is difficult. Also, if you do opt for a walk-in shower, keep in mind that older buyers will want to see a place to sit and railings in the shower for safety.

Q: How much space do you have?
The average bathroom is around 40 square feet. The average bathtub is around 15 square feet while the average walk-in shower is 12 square feet. If your bathroom is small, choosing a walk-in shower will give you a bit more room in the rest of the bathroom.

Q: What’s your budget?
The average cost for a brand new bathtub with installation ranges up to around $3,000. The average cost for installing a brand new walk-in shower ranges up to about $6,000. If your budget is limited, you might be better off sticking with the bathtub/shower combo instead of a walk-in shower.

Q: What is there now?
Changing out one tub for another is a fairly simple project. Changing out a tub for a walk-in shower is a more complex project and installation fees can quickly go up if any plumbing issues are found behind the walls.

Q: Is water use/energy efficiency a concern?
If water use/energy efficiency is a concern for you, you might be better off with the walk-in shower. The average shower uses 20 gallons of water whereas the average bath uses 30 gallons of water.

Choosing between a bathtub and a walk-in shower can be a conundrum for many people when undertaking a bathroom renovation. Consider the questions above to help you decide whether a trendy walk-in shower will work for you or if a bathtub is necessary to preserve your home value and entice future buyers.