Choosing Between Curbless Shower and Walk-in Bathtub

December 16, 2015

walk in tub

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom with future mobility needs in mind, or already have a need for a safer bathroom, you will have one tough choice to make. This choice is between two senior-friendly and handicap-friendly features that can make your bathing or showering experience much less frustrating and safer. We are talking about a curbless shower and a walk-in bathtub. If you can fit both in your bathroom, by all means do so. But if you have to choose one, our Maryland bathroom remodeling experts are here to guide you through the pros and cons of both.

Why Choose a Curbless Shower

A curbless shower, as you might have guessed, is a shower without a curb. This design is also known as a no-threshold, level-entry, roll-in or barrier-free shower. This type of shower slopes toward the drain, so that water naturally rolls down. There is no need for a curb to hold the water in.

Take a look at this video showing one of the many curbless shower systems available on the market:

Benefits of a Curbless Shower

  • Seating can be built into the shower to allow for showering in a seated position.
  • A curbless shower has a slick, modern feel and can be designed to fit your style.
  • You can enter this shower in a wheelchair or with a walker.
  • The shower can be made large enough to fit a wheelchair user with an assistant.
  • The shower handle, grab bars and plumbing fixtures can be placed on a lower level to make them easy to reach.
  • Massage jets and other special features can be added.

The only major disadvantage to think about is that it’s still a shower and won’t allow the person to lay down and soak. Also, if the person requires assistance when showering, the assistant will likely have to get wet as well.

Why Choose a Walk-in Bathtub

A walk-in bathtub is an alternative to a curbless shower. It usually takes up less space and can fit even in tight bathrooms. This type of bathtub has a door with a seal that allows the person to literally walk into the tub, sit down, seal the door shut and then fill the tub with water.

Here is a short video that goes over the many features modern walk-in tubs have to offer:

Benefits of a Walk-in Bathtub

  • Low threshold that makes it easy to get into the tub—no climbing!
  • A variety of massage jets and other relaxation options for a spa-like experience.
  • Ability to lay down and fully relax.
  • Ability to use the bathtub independently.
  • Grab bars and other safety features.
  • Easy for an assistant to help the person in the tub if needed.

One disadvantage of a walk-in tub to consider is the fact that you need to be in the tub waiting for it to fill and to empty. Let’s say your water heater doesn’t kick in right away and you have to run water for a few minutes before it becomes hot—this can be an unpleasant experience if all this time you are sitting in the tub. Similarly, if your tub doesn’t come with a powered drain, the person in the tub may get chilly as he or she waits for the water to fully drain.

At Bath Doctor, it’s a part of our job to help you choose the right bathroom products for your style or mobility needs. Contact us today if you have questions or need help planning your senior-friendly bathroom remodel.

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