- Typical Range: $4,000 to $20,000
- National Average: $5,500
Walk-in tubs provide convenience and added safety for people who have mobility issues. They allow the user to literally walk into the tub without having to step over an edge. Once inside with the door closed, they can fill up the tub. Walk-in tubs can cost between $4,000 and $20,000, and the national average is $5,500.
But costs can vary regionally and depend on brand, size, style, and features. Demo, installation, conversion from a shower, and accessibility will also figure into the price calculation. There is surprising variety in walk-in tubs, with choices nearly as numerous as for any other bathroom fixture. Walk-in tub cost reflects this selection.
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What Is a Walk-In Tub?
A walk-in tub is just what it sounds like: a tub that the user can walk into rather than having to step over an edge. Once seated in the tub—either on the floor of it or on a built-in seat, depending on the model—the user can close the door and fill it with water.
Walk-in bathtubs offer a simple, safe means of bathing for people with physical disabilities or mobility issues. They feature a number of options, such as size and the choice of a shower combo; features like therapeutic or whirlpool jets and hydromassage; and safety items like grab bars. A walk-in bath can help older adults age in place at home, maintain hygiene, and reap the numerous health benefits of a bath.
Factors in Calculating Walk-In Tub Cost
You can get a basic walk-in tub for somewhere between $1,500 and $20,000, but as with any bathroom fixture, walk-in tub prices will vary according to size, type, features, and brand. Altogether, those alternatives add up to a national average cost of $5,500. ADA-compliant tubs will likely increase the cost. Materials used to make the tub also affect the price. The bigger the tub and the more features it has, the higher the price will be.
While most walk-in tubs can be retrofitted in the space previously occupied by a standard tub, sometimes additional plumbing, electrical, or structural upgrades are needed. If you’re putting a tub where there wasn’t an existing one, those added costs will go even higher. Because rates vary regionally, the final price of an installed walk-in tub can fluctuate.
Size and Type of Tub
A basic walk-in tub without any bells or whistles can cost as little as $1,500. But some people prefer a long tub that allows them to stretch their legs out. Long tubs are considerably more expensive and may require additional renovation to your bathroom to accommodate them. Couples may enjoy a two-seater walk-in tub. Its price will be comparable to a long tub and have similar installation charges regarding the need for extra space. Both tubs will also use more water.
Walk-in tubs can be made of gelcoat, porcelain, or acrylic. Gelcoat is usually the least expensive, but it is less durable—prone to fading, scratching, and cracking. Porcelain is durable but is heavy and can chip. Acrylic is a popular, easy-maintenance material, but it’s the most expensive and is still susceptible to light scratching.
Installation and Labor
A simple retrofit, which involves removing the old tub, installing the new walk-in tub, and replacing tile, costs about what a standard tub installation would: around $1,000. However, some tubs will need electrical hookups that require an electrician. Longer tubs and two-seater tubs may require additional renovation in the bathroom, including plumbing upgrades.
Walk-in tub prices will also depend on the brand. Variations in price are often due to a number of factors, including the quality of the materials used, warranty, and features offered by each individual model. Some popular brands include:
Additional Costs and Considerations
Although installing a walk-in tub isn’t too complicated, there are a few aspects to consider when contemplating which unit to buy. It’s essential to measure your available space to make sure the tub you want will fit. If you are placing a walk-in tub in a new spot or converting a shower-only to a walk-in tub, some significant construction work could be involved.
Even if the job is an easy retrofit, some renovations may still be necessary to complete the install. Beyond plumbing and electrical, you may need to do some tile work to finish off the space.
If you select a walk-in tub with special features, not only will the unit itself cost more, but installation costs are likely to run higher due to added work needed to accommodate those features.
Often, a walk-in tub will fit in the space formerly occupied by a standard tub, but this isn’t always the case, like if the walk-in tub is going where there was previously only a shower stall. Remodeling the bathroom to fit a walk-in tub can cost as much as $5,000 to $12,000 if the ceiling height must be changed. If the layout is being rearranged, it may be necessary to plumb a new area. Some larger tubs might benefit from the installation of larger pipes for faster drainage. This can cost anywhere from $350 to $2,000.
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Depending on the extent of the renovation, it may be necessary to tile around the tub and part of the wall behind the tub. This helps finish the look of the bathroom and integrates the new tub. It also creates a watertight seal, protecting the wall and tub surround from moisture. Typical costs of installing ceramic or porcelain tile are $7 to $25 per square foot, which can cost $900 to $2,600 depending on tub size and type.
Plumbing and Electrical
Walk-in tubs may require new plumbing with larger ¾-inch pipes to fill and drain quickly. This can easily add a few thousand dollars to the project cost. Tubs with water or air jets need an electric motor to power them. Most electricians charge $40 to $120 per hour to connect the tub’s motor to a GFCI circuit.
If you need to remodel the bathroom to accommodate a walk-in tub, costs could range from $6,152 to $16,615, depending on the amount of work to be done. Labor alone can run from $50 to $75 per hour on average. Reasons for remodeling include installing a long tub or a two-seat tub that takes up more space than the old standard tub, the need for replumbing with bigger pipes or pipes in a new location, and converting a shower to a walk-in tub.
Converting a Shower to a Tub
Showers take up less floor space than tubs: 9 square feet versus 13 square feet. Because of the size difference, installation costs increase, ranging from $6,000 to $10,500. Other considerations that impact the cost include the fact that part of the existing shower walls will need to be demolished, the floor pan removed, the pipes replumbed for the tub spigot to be higher, and tiling where the showerhead was.
Extra Features and Upgrades
Any features or upgrades will drive the price higher. Adding things like whirlpool, air, or massage jets can add thousands to the price tag. Some enhancements are safety features, like ADA-compliant grab bars and slip-resistant floors. Others are luxury items designed to enhance the bathing experience, such as chromotherapy lights, quick drains, and curved backrests.
Walk-In Tub Cost by Type
There are several types of walk-in tubs from which to choose. They can address special needs, a desire for added comfort, or budget. Of course, the bigger they are or the more technology they offer, the more they will cost. Most will cost between $2,000 and $7,000, and installation may be extra. The type of walk-in tub chosen can impact installation cost as well.
Tubs can be long to allow users to stretch out their legs or even lie down. They can have two seats so two people can use them at the same time. Hydrotherapy and whirlpool tubs feature jets to massage or gently soothe aching muscles and provide other health benefits. There are more accessible units for users with physical limitations. You can also get a walk-in tub with a shower that provides bathing options.
The standard walk-in tub is the most affordable, ranging in price from $1,500 to $5,000. Because they are basic, without upgrades or features, they are lower in price. Standard walk-in tubs fit into the space a traditional tub fits in, making a retrofit a relatively simple process. Most walk-in tubs are 52 to 60 inches long, 28 to 32 inches wide, and 36 to 46 inches tall.
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A walk-in tub-shower combo is more expensive due to the added convenience of the shower option. They can range in price from $2,500 to $6,000. For users who want the option of a bath, a stand-up shower, or a sit-down shower, this is a good option. Because a walk-in tub with shower combo may require additional plumbing and tiling, the cost is higher.
Long tubs that allow the user to lie down can cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Because of their additional length, they often require more bathroom renovation. The added length may require some reconfiguring of the bathroom, and they may not even fit in all bathrooms.
The two-seater walk-in tub allows two people to bathe at the same time. Its larger size might require additional bathroom remodeling to accommodate it, which leads to higher costs ranging from $3,500 to $10,000. Because it also requires more water to fill it, there will be added water usage costs. And, because users may prefer not to wait a long time to fill or drain it, the addition of larger pipes for faster filling and draining comes with another fee.
Hydrotherapy Water Jet
A hydrotherapy walk-in tub provides deep-tissue massage when the jets are turned on. It’s valued for easing sore muscles and general aches but may not be recommended for users with blood circulation issues. The average cost ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. Increased maintenance and cleaning are necessary to keep the jets from clogging.
Whirlpool Air Jet
Another therapeutic walk-in tub features whirlpool air jets. Unlike the hydrotherapy water jets, whirlpool jets help improve circulation because they use air instead of water to power the jets, reducing pressure to create a relaxing, gentle massage. This will raise the cost of a walk-in tub to somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000.
Accessible tubs usually feature wider seats and L-shaped, outward-opening doors for easier entry. They may even be wheelchair accessible. Bariatric tubs are also larger, wider, and more heavy duty than the standard tub to accompany larger users. Typically costing between $5,000 and $10,000 because of the additional spatial requirements and potential remodeling demands, these tubs benefit users with physical limitations.
Who Should Consider Getting a Walk-In Tub?
Anyone with mobility issues can benefit from a walk-in tub. Users who can’t easily or safely get into a standard tub but enjoy soaking may enjoy a walk-in option. They offer accessibility for users with disabilities and increased safety for older adults. Grab bars and slip-resistant floors can help prevent falls while bathing.
Walk-in tubs with upgraded features can also provide health benefits like hydrotherapy with water jets that offer deep-tissue massage or whirlpool tubs with air jets that help improve blood circulation, ease pain from arthritis, and alleviate some symptoms of fibromyalgia and diabetes. A deep soak can reduce inflammation and relax stiff joints.
Simple relaxation and stress relief are also benefits. A soak can also relieve depression and improve mood by releasing serotonin. A bath can soothe some skin conditions and promote better sleep.
A walk-in tub can add value to a home, particularly in retirement communities. Having one allows many seniors the ability to remain in their home—age in place—and continue to maintain good hygiene and health as well as independence.
Aging in Place
Many older adults prefer to remain in their home rather than be forced to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Sometimes it’s a financial decision as the cost of senior communities continues to rise. Adding safety features to their homes is one way to ensure they can safely remain in their homes. A walk-in tub is often a modification many will do to allow them to stay at home.
Disability or Limited Mobility
Getting in and out of a standard tub isn’t easy for anyone with mobility issues that stem from age or a disability. Eliminating bath steps to provide easy access can make a world of difference.
Whether a user is in a wheelchair, uses a walker or scooter, or has balance issues that make climbing over the edge of a standard tub challenging, a walk-in tub offers an answer to their bathing needs. ADA-compliant grab bars and slip-resistant floors enhance safety.
Benefits of a Walk-In Tub
There are numerous benefits of adding a walk-in tub. In addition to providing easier access to people with mobility challenges, walk-in tubs can also provide health benefits. Making bathing easier encourages better hygiene practices.
Even the ancient Egyptians used water to treat pain. Hydrotherapy tubs with water jets offer deep-tissue massage, while whirlpool tubs with air jets help improve blood circulation, ease pain from arthritis, and alleviate some fibromyalgia symptoms. It lowers blood sugar levels—a benefit for those with diabetes. Soaking in the tub can reduce inflammation and relax stiff joints. Immersing oneself in a warm bath can improve the body’s oxygenation.
A bath can provide relaxation and stress relief. A deep soak can relieve depression and improve mood by encouraging the release of serotonin. The addition of aromatherapy or bath salts can enhance the level of relaxation. A bath can soothe skin conditions (like eczema) and promote better sleep, resetting a person’s circadian rhythm.
A walk-in tub can add value to a home, particularly in retirement communities. Having one gives many older adults the ability to remain in their home—age in place—and continue to maintain good hygiene and health as well as independence.
Walk-in tubs can be as easy to enter and exit as some showers; no longer does a user have to climb over the side of a standard tub. Grab bars, handrails, slip-resistant seats, and slip-resistant flooring increase the security of getting in and out without fear of losing balance or falling.
Comfort and Better Hygiene
Bathing can become more challenging as we age or for those with a physical disability. Being able to bathe safely and more easily is a health benefit. Being able to maintain personal hygiene enables many older adults to age in place in their own homes. Some models of walk-in tubs come with heated seats, neck rests, and other features for enhanced comfort.
Walk-in tubs with water jets provide hydrotherapy. Jets target sore muscles and joints in the back, legs, and feet, hitting pressure points to relieve pain.
Whirlpool tubs with air jets combine heat, buoyancy, and massage to improve blood circulation, ease pain from arthritis, and alleviate some fibromyalgia symptoms. The deep soak afforded by these taller tubs that enable users to submerge their bodies completely can reduce inflammation and relax stiff joints, improve the body’s oxygenation, lower blood-sugar levels, provide relaxation and stress relief, and raise serotonin levels.
Being able to bathe safely contributes to a person’s health and well-being. It can also help people age in place at home and retain their independence without assistance from family or health care workers while bathing. This can give the user and their family peace of mind.
Home Value Increase
Especially in senior and retirement communities, a walk-in tub can add value to a home. And because most walk-in tubs are professionally installed, they can give a home a competitive sales advantage.
According to a National Association of Home Builders survey, 51 percent of home buyers want a bathtub in the primary bathroom instead of only a shower stall. Tubs provide more privacy than most showers.
Walk-In Tub Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Some seasoned DIYers want to do every project themselves. Installing a walk-in tub on your own can save money because labor is a sizable percentage of any remodeling job. Contractors typically charge between 40 percent and 65 percent for demo, installation, tiling, grouting, and sealing, not to mention the plumbing and electrical work involved. General labor can cost between $700 and $3,000 (although that can vary regionally). Plumbers and electricians often charge even more. Without having to pay for labor, it’s possible to keep the cost of a walk-in tub somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000.
However, while that appeals to the bank account, it may not be practical. Installing a walk-in tub is not for the novice DIYer. Extensive plumbing work may be needed, particularly if you opt for larger pipes to facilitate faster fill and drain times. If the tub has jets, you’ll have to do electrical work to power them. You may have to modify the floor plan to accommodate a larger tub or a tub in a different spot.
Professionals have the knowledge, tools, and experience to handle the job, including any surprises. For example, if they have to open up walls or floors, they may discover that additional repairs are necessary. If the home was built more than 40 years ago, it’s a good idea to evaluate the plumbing and electrical scene. For heavier tubs, you may need to consider structural support as well. A contractor will also know what permits are required for this type of work.
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How to Save Money on Walk-In Tub Cost
Walk-in tubs can be pricey, but there are practical ways to save money. For example, when retrofitting your bathroom, stay within the footprint of existing plumbing, tub, and walls. The more you have to alter, the more money you’ll spend.
You can select a basic tub without all the technology bells and whistles. If you don’t need to lie down in the tub or have jets massage you, you can find a less expensive model for purchase.
It’s conceivable that you could get a tax deduction or tax credit, given the proper circumstances. There’s also a chance you can get the cost covered by insurance. You may even be able to strike a deal with the sellers if they also offer installation. Get creative and try to think of all the possibilities to save a little money on a walk-in tub. Don’t forget to look for rebates and sales; not all manufacturer rebates are prominently advertised. It never hurts to inquire about a military discount if it applies.
- If you can claim a walk-in tub as a medical necessity, Medicare may cover it by reimbursement after installation—and Medicaid might cover installation costs. It’s best to check first so you’re not disappointed.
- Buying the tub from a professional may save you money. Sometimes you can get a discounted rate on installation if you buy the unit from the same company who will install it.
- If your doctor prescribes a walk-in tub as a medical necessity for you to be able to bathe yourself, you can claim it as a tax deduction. Similarly, if you are purchasing it for someone you are taking care of, you may get a dependent care tax credit.
- Choose a smaller size. If you don’t think that you will regularly use a two-seater or long tub, there’s no need to install one of those larger models.
- Get the features that you will actually use. Realistically think about how much you will use features like whirlpool jets or colored lights. If you don’t think it will be more than a few times right after the tub is installed, consider forgoing those pricier options.
- Get quotes from multiple installers and brands so you can ensure you’re getting the best price.
- Consider gelcoat or acrylic instead of costly porcelain.
Questions to Ask About Walk-In Tub Cost
When considering adding a walk-in tub to your home, it’s essential to know precisely what you’re getting for the price. Does your tub have jets or other therapeutic features, and if so, how much do they add to the cost?
But there’s more to think about than just the cost of the unit you’ve selected. You’ll need to know if the tub you’ve chosen will fit in the space you have available or if the room will require significant modification to accommodate the new tub. You’ll need to know everything the installation includes, such as plumbing and electrical work. When you’re getting quotes, here are some questions to ask.
- Does the walk-in tub come with a lifetime warranty, or do I have to purchase one?
- What is the cost to repair or replace it as it ages and begins to wear?
- How much does routine maintenance cost?
- How long will installation take?
- Are you licensed and insured? (Some states require this for contractors, while others do not. Check with your local government
- and consider whether this is important to you.)
- Do you have any references?
- What is the model best suited for my home and needs?
- Is there any remodeling work that will need to take place?
- How many workers will this job need?
Before making up your mind about getting a walk-in tub or deciding which walk-in tub to get, it’s important to understand the cost, the return on investment, the benefits, and the challenges of owning one. Although they can be expensive, the payoff in health benefits, convenience, added independence, and home value might make the investment worthwhile.
Q: How much do walk-in tubs cost?
Walk-in tubs can cost between $4,000 and $20,000, with a national average of $5,500 including labor and installation. The unit could cost between $4,000 and $10,000 on its own. The final price depends on the tub’s features, technology, and the ease of installation. Adding jets requires electrical work. A long tub or two-seat tub could add more plumbing work as well as renovation costs.
Q: Does a walk-in tub increase home value?
A walk-in tub can increase the value of your home, particularly if you live in a senior or retirement community where buyers will appreciate the convenience of a professionally installed walk-in tub. Many buyers will appreciate that the work has already been done for them.
Q: Can I install a walk-in tub on my own?
Installing a walk-in tub is not for the novice DIYer. You will need to do plumbing and, depending on the model, electrical work as well as tiling. There could be even more complicated work to be done if you decide to install larger pipes for faster fill and drain times or if you have to make modifications to the floor plan to accommodate a larger tub or a tub in a different spot.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide
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