Do you think a walk-in bathtub is a nod to old age? If you do, you’re not wrong, but modern, stylish walk-in tubs are both safe and enjoyable. Getting a Waukesha WI plumbing expert to your home is an investment for all ages. Ideal for an aging population planning to stay in their home longer, or for anyone with a mobility concern walk-in tubs have come a long way.
Are you planning a bathroom remodel specifically to incorporate a new walk-in bath feature or just to update and expand? Either way, one of the many options available elevates your bath routine. They provide the ultimate in relaxation in a calming, spa-like setting. Using a walk-in tub combines safety, comfort and peace of mind. Is there anything more to ask from a basic bathroom fixture?
Wondering About A Walk-in Bathtub – Think Positive
There are three positive attributes of walk-in tubs: Comfort, Safety and Performance. The various walk-in tub makers may take different approaches to each, but they all provide each one. For some, style gives way to basic function and accessibility. For others it’s all about modern styling. But for many, it’s both. Consider the options that best fit your home and family:
- Comfort — the combinations of comfort-oriented features aren’t typically available in any other sort of bathtub. Because they began as aids physical wellness, hydrotherapy is a major positive. Additional comfort features to look for include:
- Whirlpool jets
- Heated backrests
- Contoured, wide seats
- Hand-held shower heads
- Rapid-fill/fast –drain capability
- Safety — for homeowners aging in place or rebounding from physical challenges, safety in the bathroom is not negotiable. A walk-in approach to non-slip surfaces reduces the chance of a fall. Getting in and out is safe. And a bath provides comfort and pleasure even a large, walk-in shower cannot match. Safety features to look for include:
- Low, easy clearance step-in
- Built-in handrails
- Slip-resistant surfaces
- Wide, easy operating door
- Easy to access controls for all the various functions
- Performance — combine all the features that make the bathing experience enjoyable and safe with a touch of luxury. The ability to move freely, independently in the bathroom adds a significant peace of mind.
Focus On Walk-in Bath Features For Seniors
While each of the positive attributes of a bathtub you can walk into is important in its own way, some are more critical to older homeowners. Among the most important features for an aging population are:
- Step-in height – ideally, your choice will have the lowest step-in height possible. Lifting your foot over the rim of a tub or shower is one of the biggest risks for a fall. Some tubs have “step-over” heights of as much as 7 inches while others are about half that.
- Handrails and grab bars – falling is the No. 1 fear among an aging population determined to live on their own. Having the ability to enter, exit and operate a walk-in bathtub safely is critical. Most modern tubs provide handrails and easy-access grab bars in strategic places. Don’t buy without making sure they are within easy reach, etc.
- Textured, non-slip surfaces – again, related to the fear of falling. You can’t really relax if you’re afraid of a dangerous slip, can you? Make sure the whole floor, seat and step-in area are non-slip so they’re safe when they’re wet and dry.
- Therapy – there’s science behind the “feel good” features of today’s walk-in tubs, including heated surfaces and hydrotherapy jets. Well-placed air and whirlpool jets massage aching muscles and sooth joint pain. Built-in heating elements make the setup comfortable as it fills and drains. Physical therapists suggest you pay close attention to the quality, adjustability and power of the jets. More isn’t necessarily better – too many outlets decrease the overall power of the system.
- Hand-held showerhead – combine the comfort of the bath with convenience of a refreshing shower spray.
A Walk-in Bathtub Fits
TV ads and literature make it look so easy, but do walk-in tubs fit every bathroom? As the demand for them increased, walk-in units became more versatile and stylish. There’s no “one size fits all” but there are sizes to accommodate your needs.
Keep in mind a walk-in tub maximized the space it takes up. For most, basic styled units extensive renovations are not necessary. Common walk-ins are designed to fit the existing footprint of a traditional tub (usually 60” L x 30” or 32” W). Among the new, stylish models you’ll find units matching the popular free-standing soaking tubs, too. Custom tubs are as much as 5 feet long. The big difference is in height. In a walk-in tub you’ll soak in nearly 3 feet of water – 32 inches is common. Unlike tradition tubs, you don’t fill these first and then get in. You get in and wait as the large tub fills. That’s why the heated surface and access to plenty of hot water is critical. You have to wait until it’s empty before you get out, too.
A Walk-in Tub Isn’t For Everyone
There are many appealing features and benefits to bringing a walk-in tub into your bathroom. However, these high-tech units are not for everyone. There are disadvantages to consider before making a commitment, including:
- Demanding installation – while walk-in units can be installed quickly and with a minimum disruption they require skilled, experienced plumbers to do the job right. Unlike standard bathtubs these units need both plumbing and electrical connections. Each must meet all building codes and regulations.
- Initial cost – walk-in tubs cost more than standard tubs. However, this is a place where you really do “get what you pay for.” There are many features unavailable in any other kind of tub.
- Demand for hot water – as with any large, soaking tub getting hot water quickly is vital. To accommodate the increased volume, consider upgrading your hot water heater when you install a walk-in tub system.
Walk-in Bathtub Installation Pros
Installing a walk-in tub with all the available features elevates everyone’s bathing experience. For some it’s a luxury while for others it’s a route to staying comfortably in their forever home. No matter why you choose one, a new walk-in provides peace of mind, safety and comfort.
Are you considering renovating your bathroom and including a new easy-access bathtub? If you are, give Schoenwalder Plumbing a call at 262-542-7908 and make an appointment to discuss everything we have to offer. Plan a tour of our expanded showroom.
We’re ready to provide everything you need from the latest walk-in models to larger water heaters to go with them. Our certified plumbers can install a walk-in bathtub quickly and efficiently anywhere in Waukesha WI or the Lake Country.