Home Remodeling – Essential Knowledge

Soaking Tub Selection & Conversion




Soaking Tubs

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Where to Start in Choosing a Soaking Tub?

The starting point of this site in recommending a soaking tub within the context of a bathroom remodel is Universal Design and its subset, aging-in-place. So we are more concerned here with function over style. 

So, with this purpose in mind, we skip over such options as the freestanding or clawfoot-type tubs. In our opinion, such tubs are faddish and impractical in any case.

Low Step Over Tubs

The low step-over bathtub makes transitioning in and out of the tub for an elderly person much easier than a standard tub. Nonetheless, in an aging-in-place application, they should be installed with the liberal use of grab bars.

And we firmly believe that the bath step stool pictured immediately below is an accident waiting to happen. On the other hand, the bathtub safety rail further below is very helpful, and we have included a link to it on Amazon.

Bathtub Safety Rail on Amazon

Bathtub Safety Rail

  • Adjustable
  • Shower Grab Bar Handle

Transfer Bench

Depending on the person, the transfer bench may be a better alternative to the step-over with a grab bar arrangement. 

Bathtub Transfer Bench with

  • Curtain Guard
  • 400-lb capacity, Adjustable Seat

Conversion Kits

Another option is to use a conversion kit that allows an existing standard side tub to become more accessible, either as a tub or as a shower. 

We detail that in our related post on bathroom showers.

But, as a long-term planning strategy, we recommend the walk-in soaking tub.

Walk-in Soaking Tubs

In a Universal Design and aging-in-place context, we absolutely recommend the walk-in soaking tub rather than the low step-over tub, as being a better long-term solution. It makes it much easier for a caregiver to work with the patient.

Given the very great comfort of having a tub to soak in, consider the cost of a walk-in tub in the context of your overall remodeling budget. You may well find that by making savings elsewhere in the budget, the cost of a walk-in tub suddenly becomes doable.

Walk-in tubs come in simple soaker and whirlpool configurations.

Not Just for the Elderly

Walk-in tubs are not just for the elderly. They are good for everybody. 

One needs to think ahead. Even fit adults can have accidents climbing in and out of standard tubs. Besides, when you think ahead, no one is immune from injury or the onset of a chronic condition that can benefit from the hydrotherapy options that can come with a walk-in tub. To say nothing of the ease of access.

And how about expectant mothers? A walk-in tub is safe to get into and comfortable to sit in.  

The At-Home Spa

And what about the spa-like feeling of being able to luxuriate in an extra-deep tub that can give you a fully submerged bath?

And how about the added comfort of being able to take a bath in a sitting position? It’s much easier to hold that book or glass of wine.

Good for Resale

A walk-in tub is not just good for long-term enjoyment. It is also a definite value-add item when it comes to the eventual resale of the home. They have great appeal.

The Budget

There is no doubt that the walk-in tub is an expensive item. But see if you can fit it into your budget by foregoing expensive finishes elsewhere. We bet you find the trade-off worthwhile.

Financial Assistance for Walk-In Tubs

While Medicare itself does not cover these items, it is an open question whether Medicare Advantage programs may. However, it does seem that they may be tax deductible as a medical expense. Check with your financial adviser as we do not give this kind of advice.

Walk-in Tubs on Amazon

Freestanding Walk-in Bathtub

  • Ultra-low step-in threshold
  • Handrail built in to the rim

Walk-In Bathtub 

  • Air and Hydro-Massage
  • Heated Seat

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