Walk in Tub or Accessible Shower?

How to choose between a walk in tub or accessible safety shower. Walk-in tubs work out really well for those who enjoy taking a bath for both personal hygiene and therapy. If you don’t want to give this up when it becomes increasing more difficult to lower yourself down and get back up using a standard bathtub. Then a walk in tub may be the solution. Some buyers have good intention to use a walk in tub for bathing but use them mostly for showering. This can be due to longer than expected fill times or hot water limitations. In these cases they would have been better served with an accessible shower alternative.

Can you shower in a walk in tub?

It is standard for walk-in tubs to include a handheld showerhead for rinsing. However, this may not provide the most comfortable showering experience. The built-in seat of a walk-in tub can constrain movement and limit standing space while showering. Users with limited mobility may find it challenging to shower in this confined area.

A well built accessible safety shower is preferable for individuals who choose showering over bathing. It is also advisable for those requiring caregiver assistance with daily hygiene routines. A care giver can more easily and quickly provide support using an accessible shower configuration. While aesthetically pleasing, glass shower doors can greatly hinder accessibility and assistance; a curtain is a wiser selection. Accessible shower bases feature a spacious, level platform – allowing users significantly more freedom of movement and security when seated in shower chairs, versus the instability of balancing on a standard bathtub’s narrow corners with chair legs.

walk in tub

Warehouse Viewing If Your Able

We are available for home consultations but we also stock a large supply of different size tubs with various jetting options. Knowing a person’s height and weight helps when deciding what type and size of walk in tub is best. Seeing them in person is even better. We encourage those considering walk in tubs make an appointment to visit our warehouse storage facility on Annacis Island Delta.

Accessible barrier free shower base not lowered into floor. The existing drain is on the right and faucets were moved to the left to accommodate the client’s disability.

Walk in Fill Time – Its easy to accurately find out how long it will take to fill a walk in tub.

Begin by getting your hands on a stop watch. Then run the hot water from your tub spout with as much volume as possible. Then add cold water until your at bath water temperature. Slide the largest graduated measuring bucket you can under the tub spout and time how long it takes to fill.  Here’s an example using a 4 US gallon pale.  (4 divided by 47 seconds fill time = .085 gallons per second X 60 seconds = 5.10 gallons per minute). The most common sizes of walk in tubs hold  45 – 65 US gallons. Using the example above. If you were to fill a 45 gallon tub at a flow rate of 5.10 gallons per minute it works out to (45 gallons divided by 5.10 gallons per minutes = 8.82 minutes).  The average household flow rate from a tub spout is usually between 4-7 gallons per minute.

Flow rate is dependent on a number of factors. Your home’s water regulator setting. The size, type and age of your home’s water lines. If you use a tank less hot water heater. All these can effect flow rate per minute and it will vary from home to home.

Drain time

The time it takes to drain will be about the same as the tub you have now. Usually three minutes or less.

Plastic or Tile For Showers? We work with tile ….read more. 


Plastic shower retrofits.

Tub to shower conversion kits typically consist of four to five pieces. Installing a seamless molded shower stall into a finished home isn’t practical due to its size. This type of shower is usually installed during new construction and before some interior are built. The acrylic, solid surface, or fiberglass reinforced plastic 4-5 pc conversion kits are popular to contractors given their ease and speed of installation compared to tile because they require less specialized labor and building materials. While upfront costs may be lower relative to other approaches, the final price can be almost the same as a custom tiled shower. When installed correctly, plastic conversion kits can offer an acceptable aesthetic but often are restrictive due to some designs having large rounded corners, molded in seats that are too small and protruding shelving. They can be also susceptible to potential leak issues as seen below.

 One common issue encountered with tub to shower conversion kits is the use of silicone sealant in the corners where components meet. This photograph depicts the faucet end of the shower installation where the end piece and back piece join at the corner. Even slight flexing of the plastic is sufficient to compromise the integrity of the silicone sealant in this area, resulting in leakage. The opposite end exhibited a similar vulnerability. Manufacturers would be well-served to reinforce these high-stress corners through more durable sealing methods to prevent potential water damage for customers.
These two photos are of a brand new five piece shower kit that replaced a standard size tub. The shower back has two pieces, there are two end pieces and then the base.

Plastic sheets over old tile:

Simply fastening thin sheets of plastic over old tile and wall board to avoid the expense of removing and properly disposing of the material is being seen more frequently. Concealed old plumbing fixtures are often left in place and easily repaired problems never fixed. There might be a savings but consider this. It can still cost close to $8,000.00 or more for just hundreds of dollars in material and a days labor!

Thousands was spent to have this done, glue and a few hundred dollars of material and a days labor!
Removing the old tile and doing a correct job would not cost much more.
Plastic slowly breaks down in landfills leaching chemicals into ground water. Where tile is 100% inert material. 

Accessible Tiled Showers

Barrier Free Base lowered into floor for wheelchair accessibility.
Single Threshold with 4″x 4″ base, center drain.
Tub replacement base with 2″ x 4″ high threshold.

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