Today a growing number of custom home builders have begun installing walk-in bathtubs for clients. These fixtures offer a number of benefits. This article will discuss some of the advantages of owning a walk-in tub, as well as some popular modifications. The final section will briefly touch upon price issues.
Walk-in Bathtubs: A Simple Definition
A walk-in bathtub offers a way for a bather to access a tub without climbing over the side. These specialized bathroom fixtures typically employ fiberglass or acrylic building materials. They offer a door which swings or slides open to supply access and then seals securely so the tub can fill with water. Most of these products contain the same width and length as standard ceramic bathtubs; in some cases, a walk-in tub may include a built-in seat for the bather.
These products have gained widespread popularity in medical facilities, senior assisted living centers, and nursing homes. The tub will often include built-in hand rails to help bathers maintain balance. Some models also provide slightly higher-than-average tub walls to reduce the chance of splashed water reaching bathroom floors.
Several Advantages of Walk-in Tubs
Walk-in bathtubs supply important advantages for people who cannot climb over the side of a tub easily. They offer a way for bathers to reduce the chance of falling while entering or leaving a bath. Many of these tubs include sufficiently wide doors to facilitate the assisted transfer of a wheelchair-bound patient onto a seat in the tub. So one primary advantage of utilizing a walk-in tub involves ease of access for disabled or infirm bathers.
Another advantage provided by a walk-in tub relates to the peace of mind this amenity offers people concerned about ailing or elderly loved ones who still care for themselves without assistance. Although a walk-in tub cannot preclude a slip or fall, it does reduce the potential for many preventable bathing accidents. The adoption of this amenity by numerous senior living facilities testifies to its utility. Installing a walk-in tub in a private home may improve the ability of a senior or a disabled person to reside independently and comfortably in a residential setting.
Some Common Modifications
Possibly the most important issue to consider when selecting a walk-in tub relates to the inclusion (or not) of features such as built-in seating. This amenity may greatly assist an infirm bather, since in order to leave the tub using the door the user must wait for bath water to drain out first. Other popular modifications include jetted water for hydrotherapies and the installation of detachable hand held nozzle shower sprays.
In some cases, walk-in tub installers will include a floor drain positioned near the door of the tub to help promote drier bathroom floors when a bather leaves the tub. Designers have also created small portable walk-in bathtub models designed with attachments that connect to existing bathtub faucets. Anyone considering buying a walk-in tub can explore a variety of different tub designs and options. The time required for installing a walk-in bathtub may vary, based upon the type of tub (permanent or portable) and the type of modifications selected.
Price And Installation Issues
How much should you expect to pay for a walk-in bathtub? Prices for this amenity vary based upon the manufacturer, the size of the tub, the location, and the availability of special discounts and offers. Google reports the prices of walk-in tubs in February, 2018 ranged from a low of around $3,000 to as high as $15,000. Installation typically costs between $700 and $1500 (although once again, prices vary sometimes based upon location and individual contractor rates). Most customers pay around $5,000 for a new fully-installed walk-in tub. Small portable models typically cost less since they do not require permanent installation.
Since this home amenity may significantly increase safety and reduce the likelihood of slips and falls, some programs designed to help seniors and people with medical disabilities may offer some assistance in purchasing walk-in tubs. According to medicare.com, Medicare treats this product as a personal choice item and not as a medical requirement in most cases, and thus does not reimburse this expense. However, under certain circumstances, Medicaid programs or senior service agencies in some states may assist with a portion of the purchase cost. In the United States, Medicaid patients or their providers may contact the applicable State Health Insurance Assistance Program (“Ship”) to inquire about the availability (or not) of this assistance in individual cases.