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Does a house need a bathtub?

Although used much less frequently than showers, bathtubs are still a standard of the American home. However, not everybody needs or wants a bathtub. During home remodels, many homeowners consider whether or not to keep a bathtub in their house. After all, they take up space, don’t get used often, and require a lot of work to clean. So, does a house need a bathtub? 

As a custom home remodeling firm, Lamont Bros. works with dozens of Portland homeowners every year to renovate their bathrooms. Homeowners often ask us whether they should remove their home’s bathtubs. The answer comes down to the homeowner’s circumstances. In some cases, it makes sense to remove all of the bathtubs. Other times, you might want to keep them.

This article is meant to help you decide whether or not you need bathtubs in your house. After reading it, you should have a better idea of how your circumstances affect your home’s need for a bathtub. We’ll talk about:

What are the advantages of having a bathtub?

When deciding whether or not to have a bathtub in your home, it’s important to weigh the cost and benefits. Below are a handful of the advantages and disadvantages of having a bathtub in your home.

Higher home value

A full bathroom contains all four standard features: sink, toilet, bathtub, and shower.

Home appraisers classify bathrooms according to the number of plumbing features they have. Generally, a half bathroom features a sink and a toilet, whereas a full bathroom includes a shower and bathtub, as well.

In the Portland-metro area, home appraisers differentiate between a full bathroom and a ¾ bathroom. The difference is that a ¾ bathroom only contains a shower or a bathtub, but not both. A home with at least one full bathroom is typically worth 5-20% more than one without. 

Good for kids and pets

Although not as popular among adults, bathtubs are still the most effective way to bathe young kids and pets. For young families, a bathtub is practically a necessity. Most children younger than 8 have a difficult time using a shower. In addition, baths are much more efficient when cleaning up multiple kids at once.

Bathing your pets can be an entirely different experience. You can wash your pet outside with the hose, but only when the weather allows. If you’re doing it indoors, a handheld shower combined with a bathtub is typically the best way to go. Many homeowners find that it helps to use a tub basin to help contain the animal and the mess they inevitably make. 

Greater design appeal

The fiberglass tub/shower inserts that are popular in most suburban homes are certainly utilitarian. However, In the right space, a more stylish bathtub can be a bold and effective design statement. 

Whether it’s a vintage-style cast iron tub or a sleek, contemporary soaking tub, a well-designed bathtub adds luxury and visual appeal to a bathroom. 

What are the challenges of having a bathtub in your home?

While a great feature to have in your home, bathtubs still come with their challenges. Here are a few common issue to consider before electing to keep your bathtub.

A small shower instead of a bathtub can save space.

Requires more space

Having a tub in your bathroom requires more space — a 60” x 36” fiberglass tub/shower combo takes up 50% more space than a 38” x 38” corner shower.  If you separate your shower and bathtub, you’ll need twice as much space.

Can be a tripping hazard

Getting in and out of a bathtub can be a fall hazard, especially for tub-shower combos. Even when you’re not using the bath, you still have to step over the basin wall to get into the shower. Do this enough times, and you’ll likely lose your balance at least once. 

Tub-shower inserts can be especially dangerous for the elderly. Combine the challenge of stepping over the tub wall with a slippery floor and you end up with a high risk for injury.

Requires more cleaning

One important thing to know about bathtubs is that they are bacteria havens. Most experts recommend disinfecting your bathtub at least once a week and deep-cleaning once a month.

The big challenge here is that a bathtub adds a significant amount of surface area to be cleaned, especially if you have a separate tub and shower. Because of its shape, much of that surface can be difficult to reach. 

Even if you don’t use it frequently, bacteria still grows on the surface, meaning you’ll need to clean your tub regularly. Whether or not it’s worth the time and effort to clean your tub depends on how often you use it.

Does my home need a bathtub for resale?

It’s long been a principle in real estate that a single-family house needs at least one bathtub. However, as design trends move away from bathtubs and towards showers, many homeowners wonder if this is still the case. For most family homes, it is. 

Even for homeowners who don’t have a need for one, it’s often best practice to keep at least one tub in the home for the sake of resale value. However, there are a few cases where it might make sense to do away with your tub completely. 

Many homeowners are opting to replace the bathtub in their primary bathroom with a larger walk-in shower.

Is this your forever home?

One important thing to consider when deciding if you need a bathtub is whether or not you actually plan to sell your home. If you do plan to eventually sell, you should probably keep one tub somewhere in the home.

However, if you have no intention of selling your home in the foreseeable future, the resale value doesn’t matter. In that case, you should make your home however you want it to be. If you want to get rid of your bathtub to make room for a massive walk-in shower, then do it! 

On the other hand, if you have plans to sell, you should consider how removing your tub might affect the home’s resale value. 

What type of home is it?

Because single-family homes are often occupied by families, there’s a high chance homebuyers will want a bathtub for their kids. Not having one could be a major hurdle for prospective buyers since adding a bathtub can be difficult and expensive.

On the other hand, if you own a condo, apartment, or townhome, there’s a lower chance of young families living there. In that case, you have a little more leeway. Most small condos and apartments don’t need a bathtub to appeal to prospective buyers, since the space is more marketable to a child-free demographic.

Where in the home should the bathtub go?

In most homes built since 1980, the primary bathroom has been the most likely bathroom in the house to feature a bathtub. However, for homeowners who don’t need or want a bathtub for their own use, this can feel like a major waste of space. 

In fact, many homeowners are ditching their old tubs to make room for a large custom shower. This decision often makes a lot of sense — especially if you plan to use your shower more often. But where does that leave your tub?

Most family homes have more than one bathroom. So, if you’re looking to remove your bathtub from the primary bathroom, it can move to another bathroom in the home. Since bathtubs are most popular among families with young children, a kids’ bathroom is a great place to put a tub. Secondary or guest bathrooms are also great places to put a bathtub in the house if you don’t need one in your primary bathroom. 

Curious to learn more about bathroom design?

By now, you should have a better understanding of whether or not you need a bathtub in your house. With that information, you can begin to make decisions for the layout of your bathroom remodel. Want to learn more about remodeling your bathroom? If so, read our Ultimate Bathroom Remodel Guide. It covers everything you need to know before beginning a bathroom remodel project.

Think you need the help of a professional designer to help you bring new life to your home? Click the button below to schedule a free design consultation with a member of our top-notch design team. We’ll help you navigate the process of remodeling from start to finish.