The Ultimate Guide to Walk-In Tubs
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Walk-in tubs are an important investment, not only for people struggling with mobility issues or health concerns like poor blood circulation or arthritis but also for anyone who wants to indulge in a luxurious bath without having to navigate dangerous and slippery tub edges.
There’s a lot to know about buying a walk-in tub. Here, we’ve prepared the ultimate guide to help you find the perfect walk-in tub for your needs and home. Learn more about this innovative bathing solution.
What is A Walk-In Tub?
A walk-in tub is designed to provide individuals with a safer, more convenient and comfortable bathing experience. Rather than having to step over the bathtub, bathers can just open the door, walk into their tub, and fill it with water. This allows the user to sit down in a comfortable position rather than having to lay down or stand underneath a shower.
Walk-in bathtubs provide many comfort and safety features not found in your average tub. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the majority of injuries sustained in bathrooms happen in or around the tub or shower — and injury rates increase with age. Because of this, proper craftsmanship and safety features should be top-of-mind when considering a walk-in tub.
Taking a bath shouldn’t cause anxiety or distress. A walk-in tub can help you or your loved ones feel more secure and independent in your own home, which is one of the top benefits of purchasing one.
Walk-In Tub Features To Consider
There are many factors that go into choosing the right walk-in tub, including:
Walk-in safety bathtubs come in a large variety of sizes ranging from small units about the size of a shower stall, to sizes larger than a conventional bathtub. The size that you choose will greatly depend on your size, the size of your bathroom, and your bathing needs. Some walk-in tubs are even specifically designed for wheelchair or lift use, or made for people with bariatric weight issues.
Most walk-in tubs are made with either gelcoat or acrylic with a fiberglass mold.
Acrylic tubs are constructed with a single, continuous piece of heat-molded acrylic. Acrylic tubs are easy to maintain, allow for different designs, are more durable, and require minimal maintenance. Acrylic is most commonly used to form seats, headrests, whirlpool jets and other molding details for tubs.
Gelcoat is a polyester coating applied directly to the mold. It is then sealed with a fiberglass/resin mix. Gelcoat is thinner and lighter than acrylic and is easy to clean. Super lightweight gelcoat tubs are most commonly used in two-story homes because there is no additional support needed between the bathtub and the floor.
American Standard is proud to offer both gelcoat and acrylic bathtubs for our customers because we believe there is a tub option for everyone based on their wants and needs.
High-quality walk-in tubs will include both therapeutic and safety features. Here are some features to look out for when deciding which tub is right for you:
- Durable safety grab bars inside the tub
- An ADA-compliant chair-height built-in seat
- A leak-free door system
- Slip-resistant textured floor surface
- Outward opening door tub options
- An ultra-low entryway threshold & wide door for easy entry and exit
- A quick-draining water removal system
- Ease of Use commendation from the Arthritis Foundation (Tubs that are commended by the Arthritis Foundation have been thoroughly reviewed by their testing labs to ensure safety and ease of use)
- Premium solid fixtures and faucets
- Self-cleaning sanitary ozone system
- One-touch control systems
- Retractable, hand-held shower wands
- Extended or lifetime warranty on tub, parts, and installation (including the labor)
- Targeted back, leg, wrist and foot massaging jets
- Chromatherapy (colored light therapy for mood enhancement)
- A comprehensive hydrotherapy system with both air and water jets
- Built-in aromatherapy
The Pros and Cons of Walk-In Tubs
There are many benefits of investing in a walk-in tub, but there are also some considerations, as well. A walk-in tub may not be right for every home or every user. Below are some pros and cons of walk-in tubs:
- Safety – One of the most obvious benefits of a walk-in tub is the safety aspect. Walk-in tubs make it easy to enjoy a relaxing bath without having to navigate a step up or down. They also allow the user to sit comfortably in the tub without having to resort to laying down and getting up, which can be very dangerous for those with limited mobility.
- Water Depth – Another nice thing about walk-in tubs is the water depth. Most designs allow the bather to fully immerse themselves in the water, which is both relaxing and beneficial. This allows the user to thoroughly enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy safely and easily.
- Many Features – Most tub models come equipped with a number of therapeutic and safety features included. For example, you don’t have to pay extra for built-in handrails, a safety-focused overall design, slip-resistant flooring, contoured built-in seating, and a low step height for entry. The higher quality tubs also allow you to enjoy therapeutic jets, aromatherapy, and hydrotherapy, which are all built into the tub.
- Water Usage – Because walk-in tubs are taller than traditional tubs, you may think that they will use more water but in fact, the water usage is about the same. An average tub uses 42-80 gallons of water and a walk-in tub uses about 50 gallons. When considering a walk-in tub, always look for a provider that is willing to help credit you with a bigger water heater if needed. That way you can enjoy the full benefits of a warm, deep soaking walk-in tub.
- Draining Time – One concern of walk-in tubs is that they take a little while to fill up and drain. Because of this, the bather has to sit and wait. This is why many consumers prefer a walk-in tub with quick-drain technology, like our American Standard models. A feature to look for is the inclusion of faster filling faucets that ensure the tub fills up quickly and effortlessly.
- Temperature – Another difference between taking a bath in a standard bathtub and taking one in a walk-in tub is the temperature difference. The bather needs to adjust the temperature as the tub fills, rather than making it the perfect temperature before getting in. Bathers should take special caution to not make the bath too hot or too cold, and highly rated walk-in tubs come with intuitive heating systems to keep you safe. This includes in-line heating systems and a temperature guard to ensure the water never gets too hot for the bather.
- Installation Cost – In addition to the cost of the walk-in tub, buyers should also consider the cost of installation. This can range depending on the setup of your bathroom, how much construction is needed, and what installation company you go with. American Standard includes installation with the purchase of their walk-in tubs. This also includes an unsurpassed lifetime warranty on not just the bathtub, but also the installation and labor. This means that if anything were to go wrong with your installation, you’re fully covered for the life of the tub.
- Flooding – With any walk-in tub, there is the risk of flooding because of its door being on the side of the tub. A quality walk-in tub will come with leak-free sealing around the door that’s guaranteed for life. American Standard walk-in tubs include a patented leak-free door system, which comes with a best-in-class lifetime warranty.
Who Are Walk-In Tubs For?
Walk-in tubs are perfect for anyone with mobility concerns, health issues, or older adults that just want a safer bathing experience.
Walk-In Tubs for Seniors
At American Standard, we understand the needs of our seniors and their desire for a safe, comfortable, and therapeutic walk-in tub. Our clients have made American Standard one of the nation’s highest-rated walk-in tub providers – and for good reason! As the leading innovator in the plumbing industry for over 140 years, we prioritize the needs of our customers in order to build a walk-in tub that provides the absolute best in safe bathing solutions.
Walk-In Tubs for Those With Limited Mobility
If you or a loved one has limited mobility due to an injury, disability, accident, or simply as a result of aging, there is a solution that can provide a therapeutic and safe bathing experience – American Standard walk-in tubs. Our Made-in-America walk-in tubs are designed to accommodate users of all ages, provide a safe and soothing bathing experience, and enhance overall wellbeing. As an innovator in the safety-tub field, we specialize in crafting unique, top-quality bathing solutions for our valued customers.
Walk-In Tubs for Those With Disabilities
Regain your independence and enjoy a therapeutic retreat from the stresses of the world with our American Standard walk-in tub, which is proudly made in Dallas, Texas and guaranteed for life. If you are disabled and have difficulty using a traditional bathtub, you owe it to yourself to try our revolutionary walk-in tub system. Each unit is customized to the unique needs of our disabled clients, and our tubs are surprisingly affordable.
Walk-In Tubs for Veterans
We truly value and cherish the contributions, sacrifices, and courage of our veterans. Unfortunately, many of our brave men and women suffer from debilitating health conditions that make bathing difficult, if not impossible, without assistance. We’ve found that most veterans value independence, which makes our walk-in tubs the ideal choice for those who seek a safe, effective, and therapeutic way to bathe.
Health Benefits of a Walk-In Tub
Walk-in tubs can help with a number of health concerns*, including:
Walk-in tubs have several built-in benefits to specifically target and ease aches and pains caused by arthritis. Designed specifically to provide safe bathing for users with limited mobility, American Standard walk-in tubs received the Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation for their success in making the lives of arthritis patients easier and more comfortable. Tub features include several slip guards, as well as hydrotherapy jets for soothing massages. If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis, consider looking into a walk-in tub for relief from arthritis aches and pains.
Blood circulation is what helps everything function properly in our bodies. From leg circulation to blood in our fingers and toes, poor circulation is something to be aware of. There are many natural ways to manage blood circulation in the body, including eating a healthy diet, practicing special exercises, and using relaxing baths to help get the blood flowing.
Taking a warm bath can help improve blood flow to the feet and increase circulation throughout the whole body. Hydrotherapy has many benefits, including improved leg circulation.
Hydrotherapy can help increase blood flow to skeletal muscles and has been recommended to some people with type 2 diabetes who cannot exercise. Hydrotherapy can come in a variety of forms including using a hot tub, a steam room, or a bath.
How Much Does a Walk-In Tub Cost?
The price of a fully-installed walk-in tub can range between $5,000 – $20,000, depending on the features, installation, and your bathroom requirements.
Basic factors that influence the cost of a walk-in tub include:
- Bathroom Layout
- Bathroom Doorway Width
- Width Of The Hallway Leading To The Bathroom
- Electrical System Of Your Home
- Existing Plumbing Configuration
You will also have to consider the costs associated with buying a walk-in tub from a big box store versus a full-service walk-in tub company. Buying a tub from a “big box store” or purchasing it online means you’ll probably have to arrange for your own installation. This typically involves having to locate, hire, coordinate and supervise a plumber, carpenter, and electrician. Costs can add up quickly. Installation is always included in the price of any American Standard walk-in tub with installation, product, and labor all backed by our lifetime warranty.
Financing For Walk-In Tubs
Buying a walk-in tub isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We need to look at your bathroom setup, consider your specific needs, and determine which of our walk-in tub models can best address those. Qualified individuals may be eligible for financing options.
Does Health Insurance or Medicare Cover Walk-In Tubs?
Unfortunately, most health insurance and Medicare likely won’t cover the cost of a walk-in tub. Although walk-in tubs are very helpful, Medicare doesn’t classify them as durable medical equipment. As such, Medicare won’t usually contribute to the cost of a walk-in tub, or its installation. But, there are other ways to help with the cost of a walk-in tub.
Medicaid may be able to help subsidize the cost of your new tub. Some states have programs that help nursing home residents make the transition back to their homes, which can include modifications such as installing a walk-in tub. In some states, Medicaid covers environmental modifications or specialized medical equipment in the home.
Financial Assistance for Veterans
Some veteran benefits might also cover the cost of a walk-in tub. Home modification grants are a viable option for older veterans, as they cover a range of home modifications such as putting in a tub. Veterans may also qualify under the home and community-based services program, or may be eligible for extra assistance from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Additional Financing Options
Lastly, there are various grants and financial assistance programs to help pay for your walk-in tub. The US Department of Agriculture offers a grant (the USDA Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Grant) to seniors living on a low income in rural areas. Seniors can apply to use this grant to cover home modifications, including the cost of a walk-in tub. In addition, many states offer non-Medicaid programs to help seniors with medical care or home modifications.
The Walk-In Tub Installation Process
American Standard walk-in tubs are installed by fully-trained, manufacturer-certified specialists. Their skilled installation team will remove and discard your old tub and fully install your new walk-in tub. Their professionals will work quickly and carefully to ensure an excellent experience. Once installed, they will test it to make sure everything is working properly, and will even show you how to fully operate the features of your new walk-in tub.
Frequently Asked Questions
American Standard wants to help you make the most informed decision when buying a walk-in tub. Here are some frequently asked questions about our models and service:
How long will I have to sit in my walk-in tub before the water drains out?
American Standard has the only patented Quick Drain® fast water removal system that drains the water out of your walk-in tub in 2 minutes or less. Most other walk-in tubs take significantly longer.
Can a walk-in tub help if I have arthritis or diabetes?
Absolutely. American Standard walk-in tubs have even received the prestigious Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. Strategically placed air and water jets help target specific areas of your legs, back, knees, feet, and hands. Some of our customers tell us that they have experienced improvement in their blood flow and circulation when using their hydrotherapy jets on a regular basis.
How many jets do American Standard walk-in tubs have?
American Standard walk-in tubs have an industry-leading 44 air and water jets, which are strategically placed to melt away all those aches and pains. The easy-to-use touch control pad allows you to have complete control over your bathing experience with the push of a button.
Is there a difference between outward swinging doors & inward swinging doors?
Yes. We are one of the only companies to have tub models with outward opening doors with a wider entrance. They are designed to provide an easier transfer from a wheelchair when entering and exiting the bath. They are also ideal for larger persons who require more room to be comfortable while bathing.
How easy is it to get in and out of a walk-in tub?
Our wide door, ultra-low threshold, and built-in safety bar allow you to easily enter and exit the tub. Whether it is an inward or outward opening door option, our tubs allow you to enter and exit the tub with ease.
I’m looking for a therapeutic bath. Can your tub do that?
With an American Standard Walk-In Tub, you’ll enjoy a soothing therapeutic bath in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Choose your desired settings of hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, or chromatherapy for a total body rejuvenating experience that can calm, comfort, refresh and revitalize you.
Why should I trust American Standard?
When you purchase a walk-in tub from American Standard, you can rest assured you are working directly with a company that people have trusted for over 140 years. All of our walk-in tub installations are completed by licensed, insured and American Standard certified installers.
We have proudly upheld a strong legacy of excellence for over 140 years. Generations of families have used our products for decades, trusting the quality of the American Standard name. We have the most therapeutic jets of any walk-in tub, the fastest draining system, and the best lifetime warranty in the industry. We raise the standard by providing incredible value to our customers year after year.
What is included in your lifetime warranty?
We firmly believe our lifetime warranty is the best in the industry. Our warranty on your walk-in tub includes the tub itself, installation, and labor for the life of the tub.
*These recommendations are only for general education. Please consult your doctor if you have diabetes or other health issues before implementing any of the above changes.