How To Convert A Regular Tub To A Walk-in Bathtub?

Modern living often needs a tub unit, but when space is scarce and in demand, it can be difficult to place one. Try these ideas for turning your tub into a walk-in bathtub for a more practical bathroom.

Nothing can be comparable to relaxing in a warm, bubbly bath to let your cares disappear, but having the time to take a bath can be a problem itself. Walk-in bathtubs are often faster and more functional for daily life, which is why newly built or remodelled homes usually incorporate walk-in bathtubs in every bathroom. If you live in an older house that hasn’t yet been remodelled, you might want to turn a standard bath into a walk-in bathtub unit. In that case, you’re likely encountering a 5×8-foot space with a toilet, a small vanity, and a tub. The small bathroom layout doesn’t have enough room to add a walk-in bathtub to the current plan without destroying some walls or remodelling the existing tub. To turn your tub into a walk-in bathtub, consider the following two choices to make the best decision for your space.

1. Remove the tub and build a new walk-in bathtub

One way to remodel a bathroom is to tear out the current bathtub and add a new walk-in bathtub. This is not a small job, so call an experienced contractor to help you evaluate the space and potential solutions. In the footprint where the tub is situated, you’ll likely have a great deal of room to build a walk-in bathtub, but you’ll want to add a tile or firm surface curb to prevent the water from spilling out into the bathroom.

When changing a tub to a walk-in bathtub, especially in a small space, take into account how the walk-in bathtub door will factor into the layout. If you want to have a bathtub door, ensure there is room for the door to swing open without hitting the toilet or sink. Bathtub doors aren’t needed, however. A hanging curtain or a partial glass panel can also preserve the water contained. Because these can let in cool air, ensure the room is warm and keep in mind to add a heated floor to your bathtub.

One drawback to removing a tub and replacing it with a stand-alone bathtub is resale. Many homeowners want a tub for bathing children, especially if the bathroom being reconstructed is a shared family space. If this is the case, think about updating the bathtub rather than replacing it entirely.

2. Retrofit the plumbing to build a walk-in bathtub

The less invasive solution is adding the current bathroom plumbing to build a combination shower-tub unit. This lets you keep the original tub while adding the needed plumbing for a walk-in bathtub. You’ll need to open up the wall (usually from the room close to the bath) and make sure that the plumbing is up to code.

To make the walk-in bathtub area impervious to water, consider installing tile on the walls for more hindrance. If the tub area has a low window that might get damp, you might consider walling the window off and putting a tile over it or replacing it with glass blocks, which will resist water. Talk about other probable bathroom window solutions with your builder.

After changing a tub into a walk-in bathtub, you’ll need an enclosure, too. You can install sliding doors that mount to the top of the tub, but a more affordable and more decorative solution is to hang a bathtub curtain with a plastic liner. For shower curtain hardware, you can purchase a tension-mount rod or a wall-mount rod, which could be straight or curved. Bear in mind that curved curtain rods can make the bathtub feel more capacious.

Irrespective of which solution you select, turning a tub into a walk-in bathtub provides opportunities to update the rest of the bathroom as well. Consider promoting venting and bathroom lighting or building amenities that enhance the experience, such as a bench, shelves, or a niche for soap and shampoo.

Advantages of converting the tub

Converting the tub to a walk-in bathtub has its own advantages:

  • Ease of mobility: Getting in and out of the bathtub is usually much simpler than getting in and out of a shower.
  • Creating a large bathtub: If you’re taking out an alcove tub, it lets you build a 5’ wide walk-in bathtub. This provides lots of room within the tub. If you have problems later in life and need aid in the shower either bathing or just getting in and out, there’s lots of room for another person to help out.
  • Room for a bench: A large walk-in bathtub will provide you with enough room to put a bench at one end. This presents a spot for shampoo and toiletries, a place to shave or just have a seat when required.
  • Beautiful focal point in a bathroom: Undoubtedly…a big walk-in bathtub is a focal point and when professionally tiled, can be the most beautiful part of your bathroom.
  • Modernizes the space: Removing the bathtub and putting in a walk-in bathtub certainly builds a modern and updated look to your bathroom. In addition, if the tub you’re removing is a deep corner tub, that really dates your bathroom.
  • Selling feature for future purchasers: Walk-in bathtubs are what many homeowners want so by installing one in your home, your house may be attractive to buyers even more, especially if it’s an oversized tub.

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