Walk in Tub or Accessible Shower?

A Walk-in tub

Walk-in tubs work out really well for those who enjoy taking a bath for both personal hygiene and therapy and do not want to give this up when it becomes increasing more difficult to lower themselves down and get back up from a standard bathing position due to age, an injury or illness. They have helped thousands of people retain their bathing independence and also return this pleasure back to so many more.

Our company  stocks a large supply of different size tubs with various jetting options and if possible we encourage those considering this purchase make an appointment to visit our warehouse storage facility on Annacis Island Delta

Fill Time Calculation

Begin by running hot water from your existing tub spout with as much volume as possible then add cold water until your at bath water temperature. Then 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, but there are larger models. Using the example  above. If you were to fill a 45 gallon tub at a flow rate of 5.10 gallons per minute it would work out to 45 gallons divided by 5.10 gallons per minutes = 8.82 minutes.  The average household flow rate from a tub spout is between 4-7 gallons per minute.

It’s easy to figure out your flow rate per minute.

The time its takes to fill your existing tub, or the new walk in tub your considering is dependent on a number of factors. Your home’s water regulator setting, the size, type and age of your home’s existing water lines, if you use a tank less hot water heater. All can effect flow rate per minute. 



Draining takes the same amount of time as a standard bathroom tub. So this is real easy to figure out. Fill a standard size tub up to the overflow and time how long it takes to drain. A walk-in tub’s drain simply connects to the existing 1 1/2″ tub drain so draining is limited to what this drain can handle.  A full tub with a properly functioning  drain should drain in about 3 minutes or less.  We do not recommend quick drain pumps ...read more.

Do walk-in tubs make a good stand up shower? Not really, due to the built in seat walk in tubs have limited standing room unlike a standard tub.

Or Accessible Shower?

Replacing an existing standard bathtub with a fully accessible safety shower is recommended for those who prefer showering over bathing. It is also recommend for those who require caregiver assistance to help with daily hygiene.  It is easier and takes less time for a care giver to lend assistance with an accessible shower. Glass shower doors are attractive but can greatly restrict accessibility to lend assistance. It is recommended fully accessible showers be fitted with shower curtains not glass, especially when caregivers are needed.  Accessible shower bases have a large flat stable platform so users have more room and feel far more secure while sitting in shower chairs, opposed to having the chair legs teetering on a bathtubs narrow radius bottom corners.

Built-in wall niches for soap and bottles allows more room and less clutter. Our custom built accessible tiled showers will add beauty and style to you’re bathroom.

Some of our customers prefer glass shower doors. 

Plastic or Tile? 

Tub to shower plastic retrofits kits come in 4 to 5 pieces.  One piece plastic shower stalls are way to large to maneuver through a finished home and fit into and existing tub cavity. These acrylic or FRP(fiberglass reinforced plastic) kits are very popular with bathroom retrofit companies because the installations are quick and require far less skill, labor and materials.  However, the lower costs on labor and material won’t show up in the end price with them starting at around $9,000.00 plus, not much different than beautiful custom tile.  Plastic retrofit products show reasonably well when installed properly but can be prone to leak risks as seen below.

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. It was installed as well as to be expected by the contractor. 

A major fault of tub to shower kits are the corners where silicone is used for waterproofing. This photo shows the faucet end of the shower where the end piece and back piece come together in the corner. Pushing only slightly flexes the plastic enough to break the silicone sealant in the corner and now the shower is sure to leak. The opposite end was the same. 

Special Projects Using Tile – Floor level Wheelchair shower retrofits.





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 are never fixed. The sales pitch is your saving money and its sparing you from a lengthy messy bathroom renovation, but 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 days labor!

Removing the old tile and doing a correct job would not cost much more.

Off to the landfill

When renovating bathrooms and replacing a tub with an accessible shower the demolition in most cases involves the removal of a tiled tub surround. Even after decades of use the tile is in good condition and except for perhaps the color or style being dated it looks like new! We can’t say the same for the plastic showers we’ve ripped out, there faded, scratched and tired looking.

Contact us for more information on our custom built, safe, accessible tiled showers.