A bathroom is one of the key spaces in the home, and as well as looking clean and inviting, it needs to have the right functions and features to suit those that live there.
One of the most popular styles of bathroom is those that utilize the walk-in tub shower combo, giving you the best of both worlds as well as a range of other benefits to consider.
A standard bathroom comes in many shapes and sizes, with options like a standalone shower or freestanding bathtub being popular in their own right.
The walk in tub shower combo is a way to have both choices together and with an ease of access that makes it simple for all members of the family to enjoy, especially those with mobility issues, and in a way that makes the most of your bathroom space.
What is the walk in tub shower combo and how does it work?
A walk in tub and shower combination bathroom is a space that allows the user to choose either option, with both being located inside an area that’s leveled, waterproofed, and sealed off from the rest of the bathroom.
The layout can be either a combination shower and tub built together or both options placed separately but together in a shared area, depending on the requirements of the user.
If you’ve been thinking of giving your bathroom a revamp or have someone at home who could benefit from the accessibility this layout offers, read on.
We’ve covered everything you need to know about the walk in tub shower combo, how it works, the pros and cons, and how to install one in your home, so you’ll have the answers to all of your questions.
- 1 The Basics of a Walk in Tub Shower Combo
- 2 Who Would Suit This Style of Bathroom?
- 3 Pros and Cons of the Tub Shower Combo
- 4 Costs for Installation
- 5 The Features of a Walk in Tub Shower
- 6 Installing a Walk in Tub Shower Combo
- 7 How to Keep Them Clean
- 8 Related Questions
The Basics of a Walk in Tub Shower Combo
The walk in tub and shower combination is a great way to save space in the bathroom when done the right way, and all while never having to sacrifice your options.
There are two popular styles to achieve a tub and shower combination, so depending on what your specific goals and needs are for your bathroom, there’s likely to be one that suits better.
Combined wet area
Within this layout, two possibilities allow you to keep the shower and tub together.
First, the bath and shower are separate but they share the same wet area and space. Second, you have a smaller tub located next to the shower which is in the other corner, but they’re still attached.
Tub and shower unit
A tub and shower unit is a design that features a larger bathtub with a shower hanging over it, allowing the person bathing to be standing inside the tub while taking a shower.
These can be a standard bathtub that requires you to step into it or one for people with accessibility issues that features an opening to walk in without having to step over the edge.
Who Would Suit This Style of Bathroom?
Before you can get into the enjoyable parts of bathroom design like choosing a showerhead or a pattern of tile, you first have to decide on a layout that’s going to work for you.
If you’re considering using a walk-in tub and shower combination, there are some ways to determine whether it’ll be a good fit.
Who will use this bathroom?
Think about how easily the people using the bathroom can access the layout you planned. If you have elderly household members or those with mobility issues, choosing a walk in tub and shower can be a huge relief as it prevents them from having to step into the tub.
If you’d like to have a bathtub but don’t plan on using it as much, having it combined over the top of the shower can save space and give you both options if you want them.
How much space do we have?
For bathrooms with less space, installing a shower and tub combination can save a lot of room. Smaller bathrooms can opt for a half size tub with shower attached or tub with overhanging shower, both of which are great space savers and give you room for the other bathroom essentials.
How much money can we spend?
If your budget is on the lower end of the scale, combining the tub and shower is a great way to save money. Without installing each separately, you won’t need to pay for a separate recess, drain, taps, and plumbing costs.
Pros and Cons of the Tub Shower Combo
Before deciding whether this is the layout for you, you should weigh up the good and the bad.
For most people, a tub and shower combination makes sense, even if they don’t have anyone that requires assistance with bathing, simply because they make sense. Check out some possible advantages and disadvantages of the tub shower setup.
Combining both bath and shower saves money in most aspects of bathroom design. You’ll only have to pay for one plumbing job to set it up, as well as parts like recess, tiles, drains, and taps.
As an area of the home that’s full of potential safety hazards, the layout of your bathroom should work at preventing this as much as possible.
Having a walk in tub and shower that doesn’t require anyone to step over and into the bath means you’ll reduce the risk of falls, slips, and strains, especially for the elderly and those with mobility issues.
Using a combined shower and tub designed for ease of access means you can also choose from other features to make them even simpler to use.
You can choose ones with water jets, seats, handrails, and textured surfaces that mean those with mobility issues can continue to bathe themselves if they choose.
Depending on the type of shower and tub combination you use, you can save a lot of space in your bathroom by having them together.
In the average home, the bathroom is just 40 square feet, and a tub can take up almost half of that space at 15 square feet. Using a combination unit is ideal for smaller bathrooms or for people who want to get the most mileage for the space they have.
A good realtor would advise against just having a shower or a bathtub and not the other, so with both in one you’ll be improving the value of your home.
Although tempting to just have a walk in shower, without a tub you’re eliminating a huge chunk of the potential market so it’s best to keep both.
Fewer design options
Having a bathroom that utilizes a joined tub and shower combination can reduce your style options somewhat. Unless you choose to have a larger wet area with both amenities separate, you may be limited in how you can lay out a bathroom.
Some higher costs
Although the other costs are low, to purchase a specially designed shower tub combination it can be more expensive than a standard bathtub. As they’re not as common, the walk in tub and shower combo is usually higher priced, especially when you get the extra features.
Costs for Installation
The cost of renovating a bathroom can be high, and depending on the layout you use, you could be looking at higher or lower than average.
You can save costs on some of the products by shopping for older models with fewer features, doing some of the installation and preparation yourself, and using what you can in your existing bathroom layout.
If you choose to dedicate an entire wet area in your bathroom that includes a bathtub and shower housed in the same area but placed separately, this is the most expensive option priced at over $20,000 for the complete renovation.
You’ll not only need to have the tub and shower installed, but waterproofing and tiling done to the entire wet space, which means your old bathroom layout will become obsolete.
To install a walk in tub and shower combination unit is usually cheaper, especially if you only have to install a new tub. On average, these combination units cost between $3,000 and $15,000, depending on their features, materials, and size, as well as costs for professional installation.
If your bathroom isn’t set out correctly to suit the size of the new tub, you may need to spend even more for a complete renovation of the area so that it fits.
Unfortunately, for homes that choose to install a specialized walk in tub and shower designed for elderly and disabled members of the household, these costs won’t be covered by Medicare.
This is due to their classification not being “durable medical equipment” like a wheelchair or similar device, so you’ll be responsible for the entire cost.
The Features of a Walk in Tub Shower
Choosing a walk in tub and shower combination gives you greater freedom to design something that suits the members of your household best.
]There are loads of features to choose from that can make this tub and shower as basic or as advanced as you like, so consider some of these to achieve your dream bathroom.
Doors can swing left or right depending on preference, and swing inwards to save space in the bathroom. Look for a durable seal as this will prevent any spills occurring when you’re showering or bathing.
Options like powerful water jets are ideal for those in need of deep tissue therapy. Hydrotherapy can be helpful while taking a bath as it helps with circulation, promotes relaxation, and massages problem areas.
The showerhead can be a simple one that attaches to the wall, or a detachable head that comes off. This gives you the option to move the showerhead around as well as adjust the spray settings.
Most walk in tub showers have a basic slip-resistant seat for those who need assistance, but they can be larger, adjustable, made of different materials, and some have storage space underneath.
Installing a Walk in Tub Shower Combo
If you plan on renovating your existing bathroom and installing a walk in tub shower combo, there are quite a few steps to consider. This is a basic layout for what’s required to do such a job, so you can see what each stage needs, and where you might prefer to use a professional for help.
Preparing the area
If you’re renovating an existing bathroom, the preparation can be as big of a job as installation. This is one part of the job that you might want to do for yourself to save money, provided you’re careful with the plumbing.
You’ll need to remove the old bathtub, tiling, and fixtures to make way for the new fittings, and make sure there’s enough room for the new walk in tub to fit.
Waterproofing and tiling
Waterproofing is just as big of a step as laying the tiles, and it’s vital for anyone installing a shower and tub combination.
A built-in tub is easier to install and waterproof than freestanding tubs, but because these have doors that swing open and let the water spray out, you need to make sure the surrounding area is protected. The waterproofing should reach the ceiling and all of the floor beneath, which is then covered with tiles.
Fixtures and accessories
Consider where you’ll be putting the taps and showerhead, with some guidance from a plumber if needed. Some of the accessories and fixtures you’ll need to account for include the faucet, seating, soap holder, pipes, and drainage.
In most cases, it’s easier and cheaper to have a professional install your new tub rather than attempting it yourself. Most tub manufacturers have a dedicated service that can install them for between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on your existing bathroom setup.
How to Keep Them Clean
The bathroom is one area that can get funky pretty quickly if you’re not staying on top of cleaning.
When it comes to a walk in tub and shower combination, you’ll want to pay special attention to keeping them clean, as they cost more than your average bathtub and generally have more features as well.
Before you begin to clean, establish what type of finish the bathtub has, as this will determine how to treat it. The most common types are acrylic, enamel, and porcelain, but some more expensive styles can be made of natural stone. If you’re unsure and it’s your first time cleaning it, check with the manufacturer.
To choose a store-bought cleaning product, find something labeled as non-abrasive, otherwise, it could scratch the surface, especially if your tub is coated in acrylic.
If you’d rather opt for a homemade cleaner to protect the tub, something as simple as baking soda and water mixed to form a paste is effective.
It’s important to pay special attention to the extra parts that these bathtubs have. Most importantly, the seal and hinges of the door, making sure that they’re free of grime and buildup. Any jets or hydrotherapy features should also be cleaned thoroughly to ensure a clean and hygienic bathing experience.
If you have plans to construct a new bathroom and are considering a walk-in tub shower combination, there’s a lot to learn. Check out our answers to some commonly asked questions about these types of tubs and other options for the bathroom to point you in the right direction.
How Much Room Do You Need for a Tub Shower Combo?
There are many styles and sizes to choose from in the tub shower combo range so it will depend on how much room you have and what’s required of the people using it.
The standard size’s dimensions are 60 inches long by 32 inches wide, and at least 39 inches tall, however, there’s a huge variation of tubs and showers that can suit any space.
Do You Tile Underneath a Tub?
Whether or not you should tile underneath a tub depends entirely on the type of tub you’re installing. For a walk in tub and shower combination or an alcove tub, there’s no need to tile the space underneath, but you will still have to apply waterproofing.
If you’re planning on a freestanding or clawfoot tub, you’ll need to tile the entire area.
How Big is the Opening of Tub Shower Combo?
The opening width for your walk in tub shower combo will depend on the style and size you choose.
A standard 60-inch tub will usually have an opening about half that size, as it has to make space for the seat inside. Make sure to measure the opening of the tub you plan to purchase to see that it will be a good fit for all of the users.