How to buy a Walk-in Tub

The Do’s and Don’ts of buying Walk-in Tubs

When you, or someone you care for, find it an effort to get in and out of a conventional bathtub, you could consider an easier option such as a walk-in tub. These have been specifically made for ease of use, comfort and safety. Most walk-in tubs offer a combination of some excellent features including:

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  • Handheld showerheads
  • Anti-slip floors
  • Internal grab bars
  • Cushioned (and otherwise) seating
  • Whirlpool
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Efficient filling and drainage systems

A big advantage is that the user can bathe safely without assistance. And the seating enables caregivers to help their wards in and out of the walk-in tub without straining either of them.

Precautions

You can choose a walk-in tub with either inward or outward-opening doors that face either right or left. The doors have a 5” lip beneath them. You may not find the inward opening door very convenient in an emergency since the door is held closed due to the water pressure. But this feature, in turn, makes it self-sealing and leak proof. While outward opening doors are made with a special seal to prevent water pushing them open and leakages. They are also deeper than conventional tubs.

Optional Systems

Whether you want to soak or enjoy a stimulating whirlpool bath – your options are many:

  • Whirlpool: Ideal if you want to massage sore muscles and joints. Water is forced through jets by a pump, providing an invigorating deep tissue massage. Select a tub that allows you to adjust the direction of the jets.
  • Air Bath: An air bath offers a gentle yet stimulating massage unlike a whirlpool. A blower pushes heated air through innumerable little holes at the bottom and/or side of the tub, offering a soft, comforting experience, similar to a soft tissue massage.
  • Combination Whirlpool/Air: Excellent hydrotherapy experience combining the best features of whirlpool and air options.
  • Soaker: Simple, straightforward version of walk-in tubs. Step in, fill water, and relax.

Materials

Typically, walk-in tubs are made from either of two materials:

  • Fiberglass: Easy to install, fiberglass is convenient and lightweight. Disadvantages include – less durable than acrylic and the gel coat finish is easily scratched. They are porous, and prone to mildew and mould. With a matte finish, longevity is anywhere from 1 to 8 years.
  • Acrylic: Slightly more expensive than fiberglass, acrylic tubs are infused with colour. Any chips or scratches can be buffed away easily. With a high gloss finish and better insulation than fiberglass, they are easier to clean. And can last over 30 years.