When you purchase a new bathtub, you want it to last. So, it makes sense to want to know your new tub’s advantages and disadvantages before pulling out your credit card and scheduling installation.
As part of your research, you should consider a walk-in tub. They might not be for everyone, but the list of their benefits is a lengthy one. From comfort to safety to the potential health benefits, walk-in tubs can soothe the muscles of even their staunchest critic. To better understand whether a walk-in tub is for you, check out our guide below.
Are Walk-In Baths Comfortable?
Yes, They Are
One of the primary advantages of a walk-in tub is its water depth. This is due to their design, which usually includes a seat and interior dimensions that are taller than they are wide. This can provide up to four feet of water to bathe in, as opposed to a regular bath which has a depth of a little more than a foot.
The seat of most walk-ins is usually around 17 inches high. This makes it possible for practically everyone, including those with longer torsos, to immerse their bodies into the warm bath while sitting.
Many walk-in tubs can also include accessories that add to the comfort. Whether its water jets that pulse against tough muscles or heated seats that warm up the coldest heinie, most people will find a walk-in tub a source of comfort and relaxation.
But Not Always
Perhaps the biggest design difference between a walk-in tub and a typical one is the watertight door that provides access to the bath’s interior. This door, as well as the low threshold it sits over, makes it easier to get in and out of the tub.
Ease-of-access is one of the primary reasons someone will purchase a walk-in tub. Because the tub can’t be filled with the door open, though, you’ll have to wait up to 15 minutes during both the filling and draining process. This can lead to body chills as you sit patiently for the water to reach the desired height.
Are Walk-In Baths Safe?
They’re Designed To Be Safe
You may not think of it this way, but a bathroom can be a hazardous place. According to a government report, around 640 people aged 15 or older every day require emergency care due to bathroom-related injuries. That adds up to around 234,000 each year.
Walk-in tubs, with their watertight doors and low thresholds, are designed to prevent falls. They also often include an array of safety features, such as anti-slip flooring and built-in handrails and seating. Some tubs come with extra-wide doors that help those in wheelchairs an easier way to transition from their chair to the tub’s seat.
But Keep An Eye On the Temperature
A safety feature you should seek out on your tub is a scald prevention valve. Because you’ll have to sit in your tub as it fills, you won’t be able to adjust the water temperature as you would with a basic bathtub. With a normal tub, you likely dip a toe or finger to check whether the water is too hot and fine-tune the temperature until it’s just right.
However, a walk-in tub gives your body time to adapt to the slowly rising water. This means that even if the water is scalding, you may not realize it until too late. You’ll be left to sit in that same too-hot water as it drains, as the walk-in door means you can’t get out of the tub until it’s fully empty.
Are Walk-In Bathtubs Expensive?
Combined Features Mean You’re Getting a Deal
Whereas a typical bath will need to be modified to include built-in seats, handrails, and non-slip flooring, a walk-in tub often includes all these features into one neat package. This helps keep construction or remodeling from becoming too expensive or taking too long.
But Installation Costs Can Be Higher Than a Typical Tub
Because walk-in tubs have more features and are designed with different dimensions in mind than a typical bath, installation costs are usually higher. Complex installation jobs can reach as high as five-figures, with a baseline of around $1000 to $5000.
Are There Health Benefits to Walk-In Baths?
Hydrotherapy Can Help Reduce Aches and Pains
Bathing in warm water offers many benefits to people, especially seniors, amputees, arthritics, and those with burns or ulcers. Warm water can help with healing, and it can relax and soothe aches, pains, and sore muscles. As many walk-ins come with hydrotherapy jets like what you can find in a hot tub, you’ll likely find additional benefits for any muscles or joints in need of relief.
But Chilling and Hypothermia Can Be A Concern
There can be a concern for seniors or those with bad blood circulation than the amount of time sitting in a filling or draining tub could lead to body chills. In some cases, these chills could even become hypothermia, a condition that occurs when internal body temperature drops below 95 degrees.
This concern shouldn’t be dismissed just because of moderate air temperature. Wet skin can keep body temperature low even if the ambient temperature is in the 60s or 70s.
How Much Water Do Walk-Ins Use?
Walk-ins Are Comparable to Standard Tubs
Walk-in tubs are deeper than standard tubs. However, because walk-ins are usually less wide, they generally hold around the same amount of water as your regular tub.
A standard tub holds around 42 gallons of water but will often use as much as 80 gallons as hot water is added to keep the temperatures warm during longer bathing sessions. A walk-in tub holds around 50 gallons of water, but often feature a circulating heating system that keeps the water warm without the need to add more hot water.
Showers also use a comparable amount of water. Depending on the shower head’s flow and how long you linger, a shower can use anywhere between 25 to 40 gallons per session.
But Flooding Can Cause Costly Damage
Flooding can be a genuine concern with walk-in tubs. Most are designed with doors that swing into the tub to prevent flooding, but some have doors that swing out for easier access. This makes it easier for the door’s barrier to be breached, sending gallons of water surging into the open bathroom.
Flooding is among the costliest home disasters due to its destructive capabilities and the potential for sitting water to incur mold. Most walk-ins have latches or other security features to prevent flooding, but they aren’t always foolproof or guaranteed against failure.
Where Can You Buy A Walk-in Tub?
At USA Bath, we know how important it is for your bathroom to be safe, functional, and beautifully designed. That’s why we offer a diverse line of baths, including the Kohler walk-in tub.
We know remodeling can be a complicated process. That’s why we’re happy to make it easier with a free consultation. To set one up, contact us today by calling 877-678-BATH.