Ten to 15 years ago, it was a black and white issue: Most realtors, contractors or homeowners would recommend keeping the tub. Based on what we’re seeing at Custom, though, the tide has turned. These days, we’re getting more inquiries from homeowners interested in replacing their existing tub/shower with a custom shower — almost always as part of a complete bathroom renovation (either of the master bathroom or a common/shared bathroom).
Here are a few reasons why the idea of taking out the tub is gaining steam.
Functionality: If you have kids, you might use your tub a lot. However, without kids around, most tubs get very little use. Enjoying a leisurely soaking several times a week just doesn’t fit most lifestyles these days. A large, comfortable shower is bound to get much more use. And including a handheld shower head makes it easy to wash kids and dogs — as well as the rest of the shower.
A spa-like experience: Yes, it can be relaxing to lounge in a tub. But it can be equally relaxing to stand under a “rain” shower head or sit on a shower bench with body sprays. You can even go the extra mile and invest in a steam shower.
Water conservation: According to the U.S. Geographical Survey, the average tub requires 36 gallons of water to fill to a reasonable level. In contrast, today’s water-saving shower heads produce about two gallons a minute. So if you’re showering for five to 10 minutes, you’re clearly saving a lot of water — not to mention lowering your water heating costs.
Better hygiene: If you think about it (and you may not want to), soaking in water populated by dirt, bacteria, soap scum and other assorted nasties can’t be the best way to get clean. A shower cuts down significantly on those concerns.
Aging in place: As we get older, getting in and out of a tub — especially a deep one — is an increasingly dangerous proposition. You’ll be a lot less likely to slip and fall with a shower, particularly a curb-less shower.
What About Resale Value?
Should resale value be a consideration for those mulling over a tub-to-shower conversion?
If you’re planning on staying in your home for five or more years, probably not. With that kind of a timeframe, you should base your decision on what works for you and your family — not the next homeowner.
If you have a shorter time-frame for selling, then resale value might be a more important consideration. But depending on your potential buyers, the impact of being tub-less might not be so clear.
For example, we recently came across a poll on the home remodeling/design website Houzz asking, “Is a house without a bathtub hard to sell?” The question received more than 2,800 responses. Over 60% said it would be fine to replace the one tub in the house with a large shower. Less than 40% said a house without a tub would never sell.
The bottom line: It’s hard to say how a tub to shower conversion will affect resale value. Most buyers will be impressed by a beautifully remodeled bathroom, with or without a tub, so why not choose the option that you and your family will use most and enjoy?
We’re Here to Help
Of course, you need to decide if going from tub to custom shower fits your budget. The overall cost of a shower is determined by your choice of products like shower valve, shower door/ panels, tiling and accessories. Plus, in order to meet code, 1.5” tub drains must be converted to 2” shower drains, which adds some potential floor-framing challenges as well as to the cost.
It’s a lot to think about, but the experts at Custom will be happy to help you reach a decision. Feel free to contact us at 781-648-2835 to start the conversation.