For many people, getting in and out of the tub is so much of a struggle that taking a bath becomes a luxury. Whether its from a temporary injury or permanent disability, climbing in and out can be an impossible hurdle, making your bathtub the least functional part of your bathroom. This is not the case with walk-in bathtubs, whose functionality allows for anyone to take a comfortable bath in their own home.
What are walk-in bathtubs?
A walk-in bathtub is a fairly easy piece of furniture to understand from its name alone: a tub with a door on the side so that allows you to literally walk into your bath without having to climb over high and often slippery sides. From an accessibility point of view, this is great for people who struggle to get in and out of the bathtub, either from the climbing or bending normally required to do so. They’re much taller than traditional tubs and come with a built-in seat so that you’re not at the bottom once the water starts flowing.
How does the door work? When I discovered these tubs, that was my biggest question. You’d think that the water would just fall right out and get everywhere, but it doesn’t! The door creates a seal when closed so that water can’t escape onto your floor. You get into the bathtub before running your hot water instead of after, and simply close the little door behind you once you’re comfortably seated.
Walk-in bathtubs can come with exciting extra features like a handheld showerhead, hydrotherapy jets, and easy-to-access maintenance panels on the side. They’re made out of the same acrylics as other tubs, so using bath salts and oils is safe for most models (minus ones with certain kinds of jets) and won’t damage the tub surface, letting you still pamper yourself with a book and a bath bomb on a quiet Sunday night. While you can’t lie down in one, you can get a comparably high water fill for a sitting position. You can even get one with a built-in shower to save space in your bathroom.
There is of course no such thing as a perfect tub. One of two major downside is the price. A walk-in bathtub will run you between two and four thousand dollars. This is a bit pricey for a tub, but for good reason. They usually come with at least one of the extra listed features above on top of their added accessibility, and aren’t more expensive than other jetted tubs that are labeled under the luxury category. The other downside is that a deep tub that is meant to submerge you while you sit means a deep tub to clean, which can be hard to do for the very people that need the added accessibility they offer. You can mitigate this problem with a longarm cleaning tool, but it’s largely going to be up to someone else to clean it if you want more than a surface scrub.
A Tub for Everyone
Walk-in bathtubs aren’t just for people with disabilities, though. Especially for fancy tubs with high walls, the smooth surface of a bathtub’s sides can be a hazard for anyone getting in and out if they aren’t careful, and that risk only increases with age. As far as bathroom renovations go, this is one to think about if you plan to stay in your current home during your elderly years.
There are other ways to create a barrier-free bathroom that can be enjoyed by everyone, but a walk-in tub is not only a great place to start, it transforms one of the more difficult areas of the bathroom into a place that anyone can soak and relax with.