January 11, 2019

What You Should Know Before
Removing Your Bathtub

By Sarah Moon

Tub shower to shower conversions are an ideal option for seniors and those with special needs, because it’s easier getting in and out.

If you have a tub, you might have to lift your leg 15-18 inches.

However, if you take out your tub, you might only have to lift your leg two or three inches.

Preventing Injuries

That remodel could help keep you on your feet and out of the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than one out of four adults who are 65 or older fall each year. The CDC said three million older people are treated each year in emergency departments, because of injuries from falls. It also said at least 300,000 elderly people end up in the hospital each year for hip fractures.

A tub shower to shower conversion can help you stay in your home, which means lower health care costs. The Cost of Care Survey from Genworth, which provides long term care insurance, said the median cost of staying at an assisted living facility in the Minneapolis area for the year was more than $53,000 in 2018. The survey also said the median cost of staying in a semi-private nursing home room in the Minneapolis area for the year was nearly $102,000 in 2018. The median cost of a private nursing home room in the Minneapolis area for the year was more than $121,000 in 2018.

Ways to Make Your Bathroom Safer

Tub shower to shower conversions make up about 20-25% of Xpres Bath & Shower’s business. There are many features that can be added to make your shower safer if you decide to go with a tub shower to shower conversion.

Grab bars with lengths ranging from 12-48 inches with straight or curved designs and varying thickness can help you get in and out of the shower more easily.

Another option is to add a shower seat. Benches can be molded into a built-in shower pan.

Folding benches like this one offer convenience, but it can't handle as much weight.

Fixed benches like this one will hold more weight. The bench will be especially sturdy if it is made of material such as stainless steel.

There are also different thresholds that transition from floor to tub. One option is zero entry, which means you can walk or wheel a wheelchair right in.

Why Your Home Should Have a Tub

Tub shower to shower conversions can improve accessibility, but there are some factors you should take into consideration before having one done. If you only have one bathroom, you might want to consult a real estate agent. Realtor Josh Johnson with Keller Williams Realty Elite and The Johnson Home Team, said it’s important to have at least one tub in your home, and not having a tub could make selling your home more difficult.

“I think you’re going to rule out a number of buyers, because of the fact that it’s something they have to do once they move in,” Johnson said.

He said he thinks having a tub could impact your home’s resale value by $2,000, and as much as $5,000 if a home doesn’t have one. If you’re an older adult with only one bathroom who wants to take out your tub, and is thinking about selling your home in the future, Johnson said you should set up your bathroom so there’s the potential to add a tub later. A seller who doesn’t have a tub in his or her home can run into a challenge with financing if he or she offers an allowance to a buyer who wants a tub.

“You’d be better off to just plan on offering additional closing costs so the new buyer would have additional cash to renovate the bathroom after closing,” Johnson said.

Another option is to have a tub with a lower clearance. Johnson said families with kids usually like to have at least one tub. He also said he thinks tubs are helpful for elderly and those who have special needs who have a hard time standing. Tub shower combos are the most preferred type of bathroom for buyers.

“Although most would agree that they don't take baths as much as showers they still like having the option to take a bath,” Johnson said.

Baths Aren't Only for Kids

Jacuzzi Luxury Bath used a market research firm for a third-party study on bathing habits. More than 1,000 adults who take baths consistently were surveyed. The results showed 38% of Americans take baths at least weekly. Fifty percent of those who take baths on a regular basis are men and 48% of 25-44-year-olds take baths consistently.

A majority of those surveyed said baths help them to relax. Some bathers who are 18-44 said baths helped them to feel more focused. The study also found baths are used to recover after working out. Forty-three percent who bathe post workout are runners or joggers, 34% go to exercise classes and 33% lift weights. Those who take a bath on a regular basis average 3.3 baths per week for an average time of 28 minutes.

Extra Work Involved

Tub shower to shower conversions also require you to change your plumbing. In Minnesota, state plumbing code requires your bathtub to have a one and a half-inch diameter drain. If you have a shower, Minnesota plumbing code requires you to have a two-inch dimeter drain. Tubs don’t require as big of a drain as showers, because tubs drain slower, have less volume and more water can go through the overflow if needed. The idea is to prevent your house from flooding.

A tub shower to shower conversion might be more expensive, because you have to adjust the plumbing. You could also spend more money relocating the plumbing so it’s in the wall and you might need additional drywall work.

Help is Available

If you want to take out your tub, you may qualify for assistance. The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development offers Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants.​ Loans are available for up to $20,000 and grants are available for up to $7,500. You can also combine loans and grants for a maximum of $27,500. To qualify, you have to own and live in your home, you can’t get affordable credit somewhere else and your family income must be below 50% of the area median income. For grants, you must be 62 or older and unable to repay a repair loan.

Tub to shower conversions can provide a safe alternative for seniors and those with special needs. However, real estate agents recommend having at least one tub in your home, so it’s easier to sell. If you’re interested in a tub shower to shower conversion, contact us today for a consultation. You can also look at our Work Examples, Facebook and Pinterest pages for ideas.

Book a Consultation

Let's start Planning!