The pros and cons of installing a shower vs. a bathtub

An updated bathroom adds value and comfort to a home. If you're planning to renovate yours, here are the pros and cons of installing a shower versus a bathtub.

The pros and cons of installing a shower vs. a bathtub

While some people prefer a long sit-down soak in the tub, others like the convenience of showers, especially in the morning before getting ready to start the day. If you're renovating an old bathroom or building a brand new one, is it better to install a shower or a bathtub? And what are the pros and cons of each?

Space

When deciding what type of renovation is desired, available space is the first thing to consider.

  • If the space is large, then one can go for either a shower, bathtub, or both—if it's in your budget.

Bathtub

Pros

Realtors often say that bathtubs add both beauty and value to a home.

  • Many homeowners enjoy having a bathtub where they can relax and soak sore muscles. Having young children, too, makes a bathtub a necessity, especially if you want to bathe them a few at a time together!

Bathtubs come in many sizes, shapes and styles and can fit into any space.

  • Freestanding bathtubs can be installed anywhere in a room, and are often the focal point in a cottage.
  • Specialty bathtubs like air baths, whirlpools or walk-in baths, all are comfortable to use and have many other features.

Cons

  • They take up more space.
  • With more active lifestyles, many people nowadays prefer a quick shower.
  • Bathtubs require more water and may require that you install a bigger hot water tank.
  • Compared to a shower, bathtubs are a lot more expensive to install.

Shower

Pros

Showers come in many styles and shapes. In fact, many homeowners now choose to add luxurious showers with glass windows and even a seating space instead of bathtubs.

  • Most showers use much less water than a bathtub and can be made eco-friendly.
  • Showers are also easier to access, which is critical if you have an elderly or handicapped person at home.
  • Modern showers can easily accommodate shower benches, non-slip mats, handles and even come without doors—so they can be adapted to your needs.
  • Showers can also be built in small spaces and fitted with nozzles that spray multiple jets of water from all angles to soothe tired muscles.

Cons

  • Swinging glass doors are expensive, and need space for you to properly get in and out of the shower. If you can't afford them or have limited room, opt for sliding doors or curtains.
  • Glass shower doors are hard to maintain and difficult to clean: with constant use, shower doors often come off the hinges and may not close properly. What's more, they can become stained over time with dissolved minerals found in the water.
  • To replace glass doors is expensive, and often requires the efforts of a renovation pro.

Combination of both

  • If the space is adequate and your budget can handle it, renovating a bathroom to include both a bathtub and shower is a great option. However, a combination means that there is a lot more to clean and you'll use much more water.
  • Even if you have the space but cost is a concern, then installing a shower may be your best bang for the buck. Speak to a bathroom renovation expert to help you make the ultimate decision.
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