What Is A Walk-In Tub?
Walk-in tubs are bathtubs designed for disabled people and that are normally used for the same things as a traditional bathtub is; although, it was designed to provide seniors or disabled individuals with a more convenient, comfortable, and safer bathing experience. Most walk-in baths are normally for those who have mobility issues like those who have physical handicaps, elderly, and/or those who have silent yet painful ailments. They were made to meet the needs of those who want to be able to bath securely and independently.
There are some that will purchase accessories for their traditional bathtub such as grab bars, bath seats, etc. in order to give themselves some sort of security and independence during bath time, but they will often find that those types of solutions aren’t a solution at all. Traditional bathtubs, even with the accessories aren’t actually designed for those who have mobility issues. This is where a walk-in tub comes into play.
A walk-in tub offers additional features that are used for more specific purposes that you don’t get with traditional bathtubs. For instance, a traditional bathtub can be 20 inches tall or higher from the bathroom floor, which can be an issue for some, although walk-in tubs will offer a V or U shaped door that opens to allow you to walk into it instead of having to step over to get into and out of the tub.
These walk-in doors are sealed so that they become quite watertight to keep them from leaking and will come in left-hand or right-hand configurations to meet the specific needs of a person. This is why walk-in tubs are often called step-in bathtubs or tubs with doors.
How Does A Walk-In Tub Work?
In order to use a walk-in tub properly to bathe, follow these simple steps:
- Open The Door: Doors can be installed to either open inward or outward and turn to the left or right.
- Step In Tub: The step-in heights will range from 2-8 inches.
- Sit In Tub: The seats are typically covered via a textured surface in order to prevent slipping.
- Shut The Door: Every walk-in model will have sealed doors to prevent leakage.
- Turn Water On: Tub filling time will vary, of course, but most take about 5-10 minutes to fill completely.
- Bathe: A walk-in tub offers a sense of relaxation.
- Empty Tub: Release the drain and wait for the tub to empty completely. This should take no more than 15 minutes.
- Leave The Tub: Getting up from the seat will be much easier than doing so in a standard tub.
Types Of Walk-In Tubs
Deciding on the ideal tub may depend on your budget and long-term needs. The majority of walk-in tubs come with a textured floor surface to prevent any slips. Here is a look at the different types of walk-in tubs:
- Combination Tub: Some companies will offer models that feature the accessibility of a walk-in tub mixed with the convenience of a shower. These walk-in showers give individuals the option to shower either standing or sitting.
- Two-Seater: These tubs are designed for two individuals to use at the same time.
- Soaker Tub: This standard walk-in tub comes equipped with one or two grab bars/handrails. Some will feature hand-held showerheads or raised showerheads with adjustable rods.
- Bariatric Tub: Designed specifically for larger people, these tubs are much bigger than the standard walk-in tub.
- Hydrotherapy and Aerotherapy Tubs: Hydrotherapy will refer to water jets, while aerotherapy is a reference to air jets.
Why Install A Walk-In Tub?
If a walk-in tub happens to be on your wish list, then have a quick review of pros and cons is needed. The biggest pro is that walk-in tubs make bathing easier for disabled individuals who have mobility issues. Additionally, the door is a pro, but so is the non-slip flooring which are designed to prevent slipping. Seats, textured pads, and handrails will help people to keep their heads above the water.
A walk-in tub is also meant to remove the need for a shower door, which is a big danger for the elderly. There’s some elderly that will use these doors for balance or stability, which is always a bad idea because the doors aren’t designed to withstand a lot of weight. Another pro to installing walk-in tubs is that it can raise the overall value of your home, especially if you happen to live in a retirement community.
How To Install Walk-In Tub
A Walk-in tub can be installed by handy DIY-ers. Follow these six steps below to properly install the tub.
Step 1. Remove Old Walk-In Tub
- Start by removing the old tub so the tub space and plumbing can be used for the new tub.
- If the tub happens to be unwieldy or heavy, you can use a cutting tool or sledgehammer for removal.
- Be careful not damage the plumbing as you remove the tub.
Step 2. Prepare The Area
- Once the old tub is removed, locate the appropriate plumbing where there were once fixtures.
- You may need an electrician’s help if your tub has special features.
- Ensure there are no issues in the subfloor that need to remediated prior to the installation.
Step 3. Bring In New Walk-In Tub
- Bring in the new tub once the proper infrastructure has been established.
- Start by measuring the narrowest width of the tub compared to the size of your door frame.
- It is possible that you’ll have to disassemble the frame in order to get it into the bathroom.
- Position the tub into place with the tub and drain in alignment.
Step 4. Level Tub
- The majority of walk-in tubs come with shims or feet that can be used to level the tub to the floor.
- Prior to installing the faucets, level the tub to prevent any potential complications.
Step 5. Install Fixtures
- Install the fixtures inside the tub in appropriate places.
- The faucet apparatus for some tubs can look complex, featuring additional bars and swing arms.
- Read all installation instructions before attempting this step.
Step 6. Finish The Fit
- After the tub is in place and connected to the plumbing, utilize the special panels to retrofit the space.
- You can use the panels to fill any gaps and provide a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance.
Walk-In Tubs Vs Traditional Tubs
In some ways, these walk-in tubs operate very similarly to traditional bathtubs. Walk-in tubs will take up the same amount of space as a standard tub and use the regular plumbing. The biggest difference is the seat and step-in are much lower in walk-in tubs.
Most traditional models require a large step to get in, with slick surfaces and few places to find stable grips. With walk-in tubs, you’ll never gave to lie down in the tub again.