General Question

galileogirl's avatar

I need bath remodeling suggestions.

Asked by galileogirl (12662points) March 20th, 2010

I just bought my first house. I have paralysis on my right side and for years have had to deal with stepping into the tub to use the shower. My new house has the standard shower over tub and I see three possibilities.
1. Install grab bars (cheapest and fastest).
2. Replace the tub with a big shower with a bench.
3. Get one of those walk in tubs.

For 2 & 3 I would be interested in comparable installation costs. Does anybody have experience with the walk-in tubs? What would be the downside to 2 or 3?

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13 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I built a walk-in shower, quite large, with two showerheads and a fitted marble bench, but I’m sorry I no longer have the cost of materials. However I can tell you it was very pleasant and comfortable, and great for showers with a friend!

jrpowell's avatar

I would go with #2. I just priced the self sealing walk in tubs and they are crazy expensive. For the tub and installation you are probably looking at around 4K.

You can get a really nice walk-in shower with a bench for around 500$ plus around 500 to 750 for installation. And with just the shower you will have some extra space where you can add a extra sink or cabinets if you want.

If you don’t care about relaxing in a bubble bath I would go with #2.

escapedone7's avatar

I take care of several disabled relatives. For one, he has grab bars around the tub, and a transfer bench in the tub. He sits his bottom on the edge of the bench then lifts his legs and gets in. However he HAS fallen and gotten hurt, and he transfers from a wheelchair so neither leg works. He replaced the shower head with the kind of shower head that is on the end of a long hose. Handicapped bars are around the tub area. But I must tell you he HAS fallen and had to call an ambulance twice. Once wet and slippery, getting out safely seems to be the hard part.

My mother has a walk in shower with a shower chair and that works much better.

One thing to think about is things change. For example when my relative in a wheelchair, who normally pushes his own wheels, slammed his hand in a door his one injured hand left him incapable of doing anything at all. Since all things are done with his hands, one injured hand incapacitated him.

Let’s say someday you may injure your other foot, sprain your “good” ankle, or come home from surgery. There may be a time, 5 years down the road, where you need a wheelchair temporarily or a walker. A walk-in shower is much easier to handle getting in and out of, and in a future scenario might mean the difference between independent living and needing in-home help.

If you are going to go to the expense of a major remodel, I really think an accessible shower is the way to go. Your mobility needs might change in the future, depending on what life throws at you. If investing a large amount in a remodel I’d take that into consideration. If you ever injure your good leg, you may not be able to walk in to your walk-in tub.

susanc's avatar

Good information.
Thanks to @johnpowell and @escapedone7 as well as @galileogirl.
A good builder (which you need anyway, to install either design) should also be able to build a custom shower (perhaps beautifully colored) into a bathroom space: tile over cement board for the walls, and a tile floor. Maybe cheaper. Maybe less slippery. ....

thriftymaid's avatar

Go with number two unless you enjoy a soaking bath sometimes. Then get one of the walk-in bathtubs. They come with a hand shower that you can attach to the wall when you want too. You’ll just need to shorten a standard fabric shower liner to use for showering. Have fun fixing up your new home.

JLeslie's avatar

I say #2 for your master. Since it is a house, do you have a second bathroom you could have a bath/shower combo in if you ever wanted to soak in a tub?

YARNLADY's avatar

There are many agencies that can help pay for the walk in tub alternative. See if you can get one “free”.

galileogirl's avatar

Thanks for the advice. Although I yearn for the luxury of the tub, I’m too “frugal”. If I can do the shower for $1000–1500, maybe with a fancy showerhead and a bench, tha’s what I’ll go for.

jamesbarnett's avatar

I think you should take out the tub and install a schluter kerdi shower kit, custom cut to your current bath dimensions. It shouldn’t be too difficult to modify it for ADA compatibility. Just the demo of your existing shower and the installation of the Schluter Kerdi system and rough in plumbing should cost at minimum about 3,500. You would then need to get the tiles installed. Both of these jobs, especially the installation of the schluter kerdi shower kit, should be left to people who have done it before. Don’t let the tilers set the rows of tiles with nails to speed up their work, as this would poke holes in the waterproof membrane. And make sure the tilers use non-modified thinset.

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edwardgordy's avatar

I think you should contact with a professional if you want to replace your tub with a big shower with a bench as he can fit these fittings and accessories properly.

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