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Home Accessibility Resources

Standard and Optional Features of Walk-in Tubs

Though most bathrooms feature an alcove tub or even a claw-foot model that allows for a good soak, those bathtubs will not be a good choice if you have limited mobility. Stepping into or over the side of a tub can be dangerous, and over time, it can make you afraid to get into the bathtub at all. That’s when it’s time to invest in a walk-in tub for a safer bathroom for all family members. You can even customize it so that you have a walk in tub with jets, lights, or other features that will keep you feeling your best.


Table of Contents

What is a Walk-In Tub?

A walk-in tub has a door that swings open to allow you to “walk into” the tub. That saves you from the danger of lifting your legs over the high side of a typical bathtub. The door closes with a firm seal, making it watertight. Walk-in tubs fit into the same space a typical bathtub does in the bathroom, and it is often deeper than the typical tub. It has an elevated seat that allows you to sit down comfortably and safely.

What are the Safety Features of a Walk-In Tub?

Some safety features are standard across all walk-in tubs, while additional features can be added when you purchase the tub. First, here are those standard walk-in tub parts:

For Safety:

  • Non-slip flooring. The bottom of the tub, and sometimes the sides, are textured. This helps give a stronger grip for the foot, even when the tub is filled with water.
  • Grab bars. Sturdy grab bars might be built into the tub or placed on the wall, attached to studs, around the tub when it is installed. These grab bars are designed to hold the weight of a person who slips, so they can “catch” themselves and not fall. It’s important to hold onto these grab bars when entering and exiting the tub, or when shifting under the water.
  • Elevated seat. Sometimes it can be tough for those with limited mobility to get up from a sitting position, especially if they are sitting in a bathtub. The elevated seat in a walk-in tub helps make that movement easier. It might be elevated by a few inches, or several, and could be a curved or square seat. But it will certainly have the same non-slip texture as the rest of the tub.
  • Anti-scald protection. This is a feature that would be advantageous for all tubs, regardless of whether it’s a walk-in tub or not! This helps ensure that the water temperature rises to a certain point and no hotter – thus preventing the issues of potentially scalding someone’s feet as hot water pours in.

For Comfort:

  • Quick drain. When you want to exit a walk-in tub, it’s necessary to drain all the water first, to avoid a mess on the floor when you open the door and breach that watertight seal. But you certainly don’t want to sit there while the water slowly goes down the drain and you start to shiver from the loss of warmth. A quick drain function can ensure the water goes down the drain in about one minute or less.
  • Quick fill. Just as you don’t want to sit in the cold while you wait for the bathtub to drain, you don’t want to deal with the same problem when you are filling the tub. Keep in mind that you cannot fill the tub before you get in, as you must close the door behind you for the watertight seal. One of the standard features of a walk-in tub is a quick-fill spout. This allows for a strong stream that brings the water level up quickly.

What Are the Optional Features of a Walk-In Tub?

You can upgrade your walk in tub to include several features that can make a big difference in your experience. Here are some of the more common upgrade features of a walk-in tub:

For Comfort:

  •   Hydrotherapy. This is one of the most popular optional features. Walk-in tubs with jets powered by air or water can be configured to surround you in the tub, targeting certain areas such as the back or the legs, with varying intensities. A walk-in tub with jets can provide a healthy, more relaxing experience.
  •   Aromatherapy. Devices that infuse the air with the scent of essential oils can be added to your walk-in tub. The use of aromatherapy can promote a sense of well-being and relaxation or can be used as a way to energize you to start the day.
  •   Chromatherapy. Chromatherapy is the use of light to soothe and calm. Adding LED lights to the walk-in tub can create colors that make your bathing experience much more enjoyable and help immerse all your senses.
  •   Heated seat. Most everyone knows (and hates) that sudden shock of cold when you touch a porcelain or acrylic surface. Remedy this with a heated seat that can make your walk-in tub toasty warm before you even begin running the water.

For Health and Ease of Use:

  • Detachable showerhead. In addition to the popular walk-in tub/shower combination, simply having a detachable showerhead or wand within easy reach can help you with washing your hair, shoulders, or simply having a more thorough bathing experience.
  •   Integrated bidet. For better hygiene, an integrated bidet system can allow thorough cleaning of hard-to-reach areas. This also helps an aging user feel they are preserving their dignity.
  • Self-cleaning options. Though a walk-in tub is relatively easy to clean, optional self-cleaning options can make an easy job even simpler.

When you’re ready to make the leap to a walk-in tub, let Modernize help you find the right contractor. We can connect you with seasoned contractors in your area who not only help you with the selection and installation of a walk-in tub, but can assist you with other potential safety features for the home as well. 

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