A walk in tub is built in the same manner as a traditional bathtub with the same purpose of use, with the additional feature of a water tight door (to keep them from leaking) and that can be opened and closed for entry (typically come in right-hand or left-hand configurations to meet the individuals’ specific needs). Walk in baths are typically intended to suit those with mobility challenges such as those that are disabled (physical handicaps), the elderly, and/or those who suffer from painful ailments. This meets the needs of individuals who want to bathe independently and securely. Traditional baths, even with all of the available accessories like bath seats, grab bars, etc., are not designed for those who suffer from mobility problems. This is where walk in tubs come in.
Walk in tubs do offer additional features like a U or V shape door that opens so that you can easily walk in rather than having to step over to get into and out of the tub, unlike a traditional bath that can be 20” or higher from the bathroom floor which can be an obstacle for some. This is why walk in tub are often called tubs with doors or step in bath tubs.
Standard features of walk in tubs beyond the doors include:
- Rapid heating options
- Fast draining for quicker exit
- Slip resistant floors
- Safety bars
New models of walk-in tubs are designed with luxury in mind. They might include Jacuzzi settings, additional heat and more. A whirlpool/Jacuzzi option which puts jet and/or air bubbles right in your bath can be used for relaxation, comfort and to help alleviate aches and pains. Warm whirlpool bath therapy is now a common and effective treatment for symptoms of arthritis, back pain and other common ailments. The addition of hydro jet and air bubble massage greatly increases the overall health benefits of a warm bath.
Walk in tubs come in two types of material, acrylic and gel-coat fiberglass. Below list some features for each type. It is totally up to you to choose the one that will best enhance your bath experience.
- Acrylic bath tubs have strong surface and composite backing material, making it resistant to daily usage. It makes for durable bath and shower materials on the market.
- Acrylic also requires less maintenance than any other bath material. Its non-porous surface makes cleaning with a non-abrasive cleanser simple and efficient.
- Acrylic retains its color and luster to remain in beautiful showroom condition, year after year. Because its color goes through the thickness of the material, it won\’t dull or fade.
- Acrylic tubs are warm to the touch. They\’re more relaxing, and they keep water warm for a long time.
- Acrylic-Acrylic-coated fiberglass is durable as long as the acrylic is thick enough to withstand wear and tear. Acrylic fiberglass tubs that are backed with a composite material gives added support and strength.
- Gel-coated-When fiberglass is coated with liquid gel at the appropriate temperature; it should make the finished product highly durable. Gel-coated fiberglass is easy to repair and maintain.
- Lightweight and usually requires additional structural support.
- They are inexpensive
- Cracks are easy to repair with an epoxy resin repair kit.
What to consider when choosing a walk-in tub
The general going price for a high-quality walk in tub with warranty and many options between $3000 and $8000. You can however, find tubs as cheap as $1500 to as expensive as $30,000. The cost of a walk in tub depends on many factors.
Source – There are many different companies that sell walk in tubs. Walk in tubs are sold by a retailer, reseller, third-party dealer, or directly with the manufacturer. If you deal directly with the manufacturer you may get a lower priced tub simply because you are cutting out the middle man. You can also get specials or discounts if you work with a dealer who gets low pricing because they buy in bulk.
Quality – The construction of the tub and materials used is price factor as well. There are manufacturers of both low-end walk in tubs and high-end walk in tubs and many in between. Fiberglass are priced lower than acrylic as is of a cheaper material, not as durable as one made of acrylic. You need to decide what is more important to you, cost or quality.
Brand, size, and features – Walk in tubs come with come common features like Seats, Rapid heating options, Fast draining for quicker exit, Slip resistant floors and Safety bars. While some companies will consider those to be standard features that come with their tub, others my consider them to be additional options which you pay more for. Get a pricing sheet that details basic features versus add-on options.