Showers vs Baths: Which will you choose?

The Ultimate Central VA Bathroom Remodeling
Debate: Showers Versus Baths

Which One Is The Best For Your
Bathroom Renovation

The average Central VA bathroom tends to be the smallest room in the house. Naturally, many homeowners are concerned with how they can make the most out of every square inch of space.

The bathroom fixtures you choose can define the entire layout of your new bathroom remodel and have a big impact on its design and appearance.

Chief among these decisions is the choice of whether a bathtub replacement or a shower replacement is right for you.

It’s a long-standing debate: showers versus baths.

Personal Preferences Are A Slippery Slope

You prefer to bathe in either the morning or the evening. Maybe you even think that everyone who does the opposite of what you do is weird. You have a preference for how many times you bathe per day or per week. It’s a habit and you can’t picture yourself doing otherwise.

Those are both preferences.

It’s easy to say that your personal preference is the only factor when weighing bathtubs against showers. It’d certainly make it easy for us to write this blog post saying “It’s up to you. Thanks. Have a fantastic day!”.

But that perspective can be a slippery slope into ignoring some important details.

Installing showers and bathtubs, whether in full bathroom remodels or in isolated projects, are a costly undertaking. The whims of personal preference are only one of many factors.

For starters, you probably have other people to think of. Family, guests and future residents all have their own preferences to bring into the discussion. Personal preference becomes a wash in the wake of the many competing priorities.

With that in mind, let’s discuss the shower versus bathtub debate.

A Bathtub Is More Than A Luxury

Old clawfoot bathtub in a checkered floor bathroom by the sea. Luxury classic bathtub in bathroom with relaxing ambient and window with scenic sea view

Bathtubs hit the spotlight (and hit the spot) when you’re talking about lazily lying back in a hot pool of refreshing soap and bubbles. You’re surrounded by an exciting fire hazard of way too many flickering candles. It’s many homeowners’ favorite way to relax.

While it’s certainly a nice scene to imagine, your bathtub needs to have other advantages if you are going to choose it over a shower. It may not cost you more in money but it may cost you precious space in a room that is already strapped for it. Bathtubs take up more space than showers.

Choosing a bathtub over a shower will significantly limit your design choices for the rest of the bathroom as you work the rest of your bathroom’s design around its size. This means that choosing a bathtub over a shower could land you in hot water if it doesn’t have more going for it than the luxury of an occasional candlelit evening.

But, if using a bathtub can save on water costs or you need it for bathing small children, it may be worth it. The advantages may outweigh the disadvantages.

Is A Bathtub More Efficient?

Water conservationists and penny-pinchers alike may highlight the benefits of bathing over showering. There is, after all, only a finite amount of water to use in a bath (32 gallons of water on average). A shower could use infinite gallons of water. It’s easy to zone out and rehearse your day in a shower while the water runs down the drain.

Not so fast though.

The finite amount of water in a bathtub could also be its downfall. While your time in the shower can be shortened and water-efficient shower heads reduce your water usage, a bathtub has no such advantage.

It needs to be filled up all the way for you to bathe. There is no opportunity for reducing water usage by quickening your bathing pace. The lack of time efficiency can be a major drawback for morning bathers. Waiting for the tub to fill up can be a problem when you’re running late for work. If these are concerns for you, you may want to consider a bathtub to shower replacement.

A Shower Is More Than a Money-Saver

Efficient corner shower design with glass walls. Small functional modern bathroom with toilet, sink and glass shower.

On the other hand, a shower can be a very efficient choice. Much smaller than a bathtub, a shower is best enjoyed when you get in, get cleaned and get out in a timely fashion.

When you use your shower efficiently, it can lower your water bill.

But, more than a money saver, showers typically have a smaller footprint in your bathroom. This gives you more space for your other bathroom fixtures. Small bathrooms will feel less cramped with a shower. Medium and large bathrooms can include additional space for optional bathroom features.

Showers are also more accessible for the elderly and disabled. Normal bathtubs require a curb to hold in the water. Stepping over this curb can be difficult for someone with knee problems. Even if you have youthful, healthy knees, a knee injury from sports could turn your morning or evening routine into a painful ordeal.

Showers don’t have these concerns. Anyone can walk right in.

Making Your Bathroom More Accessible

Walk-in showers or tubs make bathing easier for the aging, disabled or injured. JDS Bath specializes in customized bathroom remodeling and walk-in shower or tub installations. Contact us for your free consultation!

But Can It Hurt Your Home’s Resale Value?

Even with the savings in water, time and space, showers can have downsides. They reduce the home resale value in some cases.

This is entirely dependent on whether there is already another bathtub in the house. The National Association of Home Builders reported from a survey in 2013 that 51% of home buyers preferred a master bath with both a tub and a shower– not just a shower. From the same study, 81% of respondents preferred a full bath on the main level.

Based on these studies, it would be unwise to have only a shower in the master bathroom, especially if you only have one bathroom in the whole house.

You may, however, be renovating a guest bathroom or installing a shower in what used to be a half bath. If there are other bathrooms in the house with bathtubs, installing a shower is unlikely to have a noticeable effect on your home’s resale value. At worst, it may mean that the house will be on the market longer without a decrease in final purchase price.

What About a Shower-Tub Combo?

Luxury bathtub design in a modern house with blue walls Blue modern bathroom with bathtub, shower and armchair.

The shower versus tub debate has a third contender– the shower-tub combo. Combining the best of both options, a bathtub with a shower faucet may be a viable choice.

The combination allows the person bathing to decide whether they prefer to shower or bathe. They can shower every morning and bathe every evening or do both at both times.

There are, however, a few downsides.

A bathtub with a shower faucet in it has the same accessibility and safety concerns as a bathtub has. This makes it just as hard on the knees and just as likely to cause a slip and fall. It also has the same footprint as a bathtub. You don’t save any space for that wide, luxurious bathroom cabinet that you have had your eye on.

For the practical homeowner who plans to sell their house to someone with the same priorities, the shower-tub combo does just fine for their needs.

Final Thoughts On Showers And Tubs

As you can see from this article, a shower replacement and a bathtub replacement both have their pros and cons.

Keep in mind your options and look for opportunities to take advantage of both worlds. If you opt for the bathtub route, consider a walk-in tub. If possible, keep the plumbing in place for both baths and showers to make it easier to switch back if you or a future homeowner need to.

Contact JDS Bath online or call us at (804) 451-9673 if you have any further questions.

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