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Thinking of bathroom remodeling? Undoubtedly, the most important tussle in your mind would be whether to choose a bath or a shower. Your selection will change the look and layout of your bathroom completely. And, might we add, also the budget. So, if you don’t have the square footage to install a shower-tub combo and have to choose one — which one will you go for between a tub and shower?

You are not alone in contemplating whether to go for a bathtub or a shower. Most homeowners, going ahead with a bathroom renovation or constructing a new full bathroom, struggle to choose between a bathtub and a shower.

Don’t worry, we’ll help you. In this article, we’ll list out all the differences between a tub and shower, their pros and cons to help you reach a conclusive decision. After all, whichever you choose must contribute to adding value to your house, right?

So, let’s begin by looking at various factors to help you analyze the differences between the two.

Factors To Consider Before Choosing Between Tub And Shower

Installation

Freestanding bathtubPhoto by ErikaWittlieb on Pixabay CC0

Whether you’re adding a new shower or a bathtub, you need to plan the installation well in advance, sometimes even before installing your drywall or adding other bathroom fixtures.

Apart from the obvious changes in plumbing, there is also the issue of the clearance. The new fixture (especially a prefabricated one) will have to be physically moved through the house. You don’t want your sink or toilet to come in the way, do you?

Therefore, both bathtub and a shower need to be installed at the initial stage of construction only.

Installing a walk-in shower or a traditional tub is a more or less similar process. First, a professional handyman will prepare the plumbing, he will then strengthen the flooring below the fixture. Once the drain plumbing is connected, the shower pan will be installed and the shower stall put in. Or, in the case of a tub, it is secured and connected to the plumbing. Then, the finishing touches are given.

If you’re looking for a custom shower installation, the work is more detailed and time-consuming. You definitely require the services of a plumber, carpenter, and even a tile craftsman. While the carpenter prepares the area, the plumber will connect the plumbing, and the craftsman will complete the finishing touches.

Installation of a freestanding tub is easier but if you want a soaker or a whirlpool tub, a carpenter and a tile mason will build and finish the backsplash and surrounding area after the plumber has finished his job.

Our verdict: A standard tub installation may be more difficult than a standard shower installation. However, if you go for a customized bathtub or shower, be prepared for a more time-consuming process.

Read more: How Much Does a Shower Installation Cost?

Cost Factor

Shower panelBackground photo created by mrsiraphol – www.freepik.com

A standard prefab shower will cost you around $450 to $480. Add a labor cost of $365 to $450 to it. So, the minimum you’ll end up spending is anything between $815 to $930.

If customizing your shower with a glass door and tiles, expect to pay around $1,600. Unfortunately, the labor cost will also increase. On average, it might go up to $5,400. Such an installation will send the total cost skyrocketing to $7,000.

The fancier the fitments, the more you pay. Thinking rain shower heads, multi-functional jets, or steam? Shell out $10,000 or more.

If you’re replacing a standard tub, the unit will cost $500 to $1,100. Installation charges will be between $600 to $700. The total will amount to $1,100 to $1,800.

A jet tub or jacuzzi starts at around $1,500. A professional electrician will mean another $140. Add to it specialized tilework or masonry work and the cost will be upward of $5,000.

Our verdict: If you want to keep your bathroom renovation costs within a budget, opt for standard bathtub and shower.

Energy And Cost Efficiency

A standard bathtub holds 25 to 40 gallons of water while an elaborate soaker or whirlpool bathtub uses 80 to 100 gallons of water!  You will also need a large capacity water heater for it.

A short 10-minute shower will use around 20 gallons of water while a long hot shower might easily double the water consumption. Of course, it also depends upon the kind of showerhead you use. We recommend a low-flow one that controls water usage.

Our verdict: If energy efficiency is on your mind, it’s not the fixture that makes the difference. It’s how you use it. A luxurious bath might be more cost-effective than a long shower with dual shower heads. The latter will drive water and energy bills really high.

Convenience For Family Members

Shower with handleWood photo created by mrsiraphol – www.freepik.com

While a bathtub is a good choice for homeowners with small children (it’s easier to bathe them!), it’s not such a great idea for old people and those who are differently abled.

These people with limited mobility may have difficulty stepping into and out of a bathtub.

Another point to keep in mind is that running a hot water tub is not as quick as taking a shower. Those who are pressed for time may be too impatient to use a bathtub.

Our verdict: If you want a secured and safe living for seniors and those with mobility problems — opt for non-slip showers stalls with grab bars and a seat.

Usage Of Space

A tub uses more area in a bathroom. Period. For an average bathroom of 5 x 8 square feet, even a standard tub might eat up a lot of space. It’s usually 30 inches wide and 72 inches long.

Showers are 36 x 36 inches to 36 x 48 inches but have a smaller footprint than a bathtub.

Our verdict: A shower is a perfect choice for a small bathroom layout. Without a doubt, it takes up less space than a bathtub.

Looks

Tiled bathtubPhoto by Steve Buissinne on Pixabay CC0

A great-looking bathtub adds style to a bathroom. Having said that, a luxurious shower panel too is not far behind in making a statement. Glass doors, tiles, jets, etc easily make your shower the focal point of the bathroom.

Our verdict: Both shower or bathtub can enhance the style of your bathroom. If you really are into appearances, go for a jet bathtub.

Relaxation

There’s nothing like a luxurious bathtub filled with hot water, and maybe some Epsom salt, to relax your sore muscles after a long days’ work. You can get quite creative in adding substances and essential oils with health benefits.

Try detoxing with green tea or enhancing your mood with gelatin. A drop of chamomile will help you sleep better and rose petals will transform your ordinary bathroom into a spa!

In the case of showers, the bathing experience might not be so ethereal. That said, hot showers do soothe sore muscles, open sinuses, and relieve stress. Interestingly, a cold shower may give relief from depression and exhaustion.

Our verdict: It’s tub all the way for a luxurious feel!

Maintenance

BathtubPhoto by Jesse Bridgewater on Pixabay CC0

While a shower is easy to maintain, cleaning a bathtub can be quite tedious. But, you cannot avoid it as a tub easily collects dust, grime, and even hair. What’s more, if you have a large tub, you might find it difficult to even reach the depths of it.

Having said that, if your shower has glass doors and fancy fixtures, you will have to put in a lot of hard work to ensure that they stay spotless. The fitments also need regular cleaning to remove any lime and calcium residue that might accumulate over time.

Our verdict: There is no simple answer to bathtub vs shower maintenance issues. Whichever you choose, be prepared to keep it clean and well-maintained.

Return On Investment

This is perhaps the most important consideration while making a choice between a bathtub and a shower. As stylish as a luxurious shower can be, a bathtub is a magnet for homebuyers.

Having only a shower in your house may not lower its value, but a well-installed quality tub will definitely add value to it. If and when you decide to sell your house, it could mean a quicker sale. On the other hand, a shower-only house may take a long time to sell.

Our verdict: According to the National Association of Home Builders survey, 51 percent of potential buyers are unhappy with only a shower in the master bath. They want at least one bathtub in the house.

Tub-Shower Combo

Tub shower comboPhoto by John Coley on Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

For homeowners who have the luxury of extra square footage, a tub shower combination is a smart choice. Tub and shower combos are available as both prefabricated kits as well as custom designs. You can choose the best fit for your bathroom.

Those who are still struggling to choose between a tub and a shower can read on for some quick takeaways.

Conclusion

Let’s summarize the pros and cons of bathtub and shower:

Bathroom shower

Pros

  • A great option for those who are old, differently abled, or busy
  • Quick as well as convenient
  • Takes up less space than a tub
  • Less expensive
  • Easier installation
  • Available in various designs

Cons

  • Not preferred by those with young children
  • Shower-only houses fetch less resale value

Bathtub

Pros

  • Great for relaxing sore muscles
  • Important to home buyers, especially those with small children
  • Adds immense style to a bathroom
  • Enhances a home’s resale value

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Difficult to clean and maintain
  • May not be energy efficient as it uses more hot water

We hope the above bathtub vs shower comparison helps you in deciding the best option for your home. When in doubt, do consult your local realtor for more clarity on the subject.

Read more: Shower Drain Buying Guide: Pick The Best For Your Bathroom

How to Choose Between a Tub and Shower? was last modified: September 22nd, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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