Walk-in tubs have always had their fans. For those with joint and mobility challenges, they can be a lifesaver both in terms of comfort and therapy.
But historically, walk-in tubs present challenges for remodelers. Their size and design often make them difficult to install. And bathroom doorways, walls, and plumbing regularly have to be temporarily moved to get these large units into an existing home. These headaches add time, and therefore cost, to every project, often driving the cost up and out of reach of homeowners.
Add to this the sterile, slow-draining and difficult-to-maintain designs, and it’s no wonder so many remodelers don’t bother discussing walk-in tubs as part of projects where aging-in-place or increased accessibility is the primary aim.
Aging population = big opportunity
The silver tsunami — a metaphor used to describe the momentous aging of our population — is changing that.
These days, homeowners are seeking out remodelers and products that can help them stay in their home as they age. These prospective customers are typically older, well-to-do and willing to invest in changes to their home that will ensure they can be comfortable and safe even if health challenges arise.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, home improvement spending by people age 65 and over has increased dramatically. It has risen from 13 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2013. This is a big opportunity for remodelers who know what to focus on.
A few manufacturers are rising to the occasion. Bestbath, a leading manufacturer of showers, shower/tub combos and shower pans for people of all abilities, recently unveiled new ways walk-in tubs can solve the problems traditionally faced by homeowners.
Easier on remodelers
New walk-in tubs, like Bestbath’s, are smaller, narrower models that allow them to be installed in most bathrooms without major door modification, eliminating additional remodeling costs. Most modern walk-in tubs also give easy access to plumbing, motors and other parts through an easy-to-access front panel. All of this leads to simpler installs, quicker turn-around, and higher value for both the remodeler and the homeowner.
Better for homeowners
While homeowners want walk-in tubs, they’re often disappointed by the limited features and design — features that are increasingly difficult to find at an affordable price.