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A walk-in tub shower combo has a door that allows bathers to step inside without having to climb over the tub’s side. Because there’s less danger of tripping and users can bathe while sitting upright, it’s safer and easier for older adults and those with mobility issues.
Many homeowners install walk-in tubs as part of a larger bathroom remodel to increase accessibility. Standard walk-in tubs fill from a faucet, but it’s possible to install one that also has a handheld or wall-mounted showerhead, plus a number of other amenities. These tub-shower combos can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $12,000.* That’s $2,500 to $6,000 for the tub itself and another $2,000 to $6,000 for installation. We’ll go over each cost factor in detail below.
*Article cost data sourced from Angi.com, Fixr.com, and HomeAdvisor.com.
Walk-In Tub Shower Combo Cost
Where your new walk-in tub falls within the above price range primarily depends on the following three factors.
- Type: Different tub types have different features, and larger and more complex tubs cost more.
- Material: Acrylic tubs are slightly more expensive than fiberglass gelcoat tubs.
- Installation: Walk-in tub shower combos are difficult to install, so labor makes up much of the total price.
Cost by Type
Many types of walk-in tubs can be combined with a shower. The simplest and most cost-effective is a soaking tub, but larger or more elaborate models with extra features are available. Here are the most common types of walk-in tubs.
- A basic walk-in tub with a door and a built-in seat costs $1,500 to $5,000, though some manufacturers will add a handheld shower for an extra fee.
- Tub-shower combos require extra plumbing and have higher walls to protect the rest of the bathroom from the water spray. This means they cost more, usually between $2,500 and $6,000.
- Aerotherapy tubs contain air jets that inject bubbles into the bath for a gentle massage. These typically cost $3,000 to $10,000.
- Hydrotherapy tubs (or whirlpool tubs) with firm, massaging water jets come in a similar price range of $3,000 to $10,000.
- Extra-long tubs usually cost $3,000 to $10,000.
- A two-seater tub typically has two backrests that face each other and cost between $3,500 and $10,000.
- Bariatric tubs have wider seats for extra comfort and cost $5,000 to $10,000.
- Wheelchair-accessible tubs with wider, outward-opening doors, usually cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
Cost by Material
Most walk-in tubs are made of steel frames covered in fiberglass-reinforced acrylic or fiberglass covered in a layer of gelcoat. Gelcoat tubs are lighter and cost less, but don’t usually come with as many options or add-ons. Acrylic is more expensive but more durable and easier to find.
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Installation and Labor Costs
Labor accounts for about half of a tub-shower combo’s total project cost. Most walk-in tubs are shaped differently than step-in tubs, which means the space usually needs to be altered to fit the new tub. The plumbing fittings must accommodate quick-fill and fast-drain features and may substantially differ from a standard tub. The shower addition increases installation costs because more labor is required to add plumbing and the extra-high sides. Installation usually ranges from $2,000 to $6,000 for a walk-in tub-shower combo.
Factors Affecting Cost
Tub type, materials, and labor are the primary factors that impact a new walk-in tub shower combo’s cost. However, the following considerations can also contribute.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has certain standards that make a home or appliance considered wheelchair accessible. To meet these standards, a walk-in bath must have 30 inches of clearance in front to accommodate a wheelchair’s width. There must be multiple grab bars, and all controls need to be easily reachable from the seat. Usually, ADA-compliant walk-in tubs have special L-shaped doors that open outward, allowing wheelchair users to enter them in a seated position.
While all walk-in tubs have a low step clearance to make entry and exit easier for those with limited mobility, not all walk-in tubs are ADA-compliant. Compliant tubs are more expensive because they’re larger, and they’re pricier to install because they often require extra work to make the entire bathroom accessible. However, they’ll make the bathing experience much easier for wheelchair users and their caregivers.
Even a small, simple soaking tub will require a licensed plumber, which usually costs $45 to $200 per hour depending on the job’s complexity and the plumber’s experience level. Any tub upgrades, such as air jets or whirlpool jets, require a motor to run, which means hiring an electrician for $50 to $100 per hour. These tubs tend to require a lot of electricity and heated water, so it’s possible you might need an electrical panel upgrade or a new water heater.
Walk-in tubs don’t fit the same dimensions as standard alcove tubs—they’re often shorter and wider—so you may need to make additional changes to your bathroom layout. This could require carpentry, drywall, flooring, tiling, and more. You may also find that the walk-in tub’s extra weight requires floor reinforcement. Thus, many homeowners install walk-in tubs as part of a larger bathroom renovation project. The cost to install a walk-in tub varies by tub type.
Most walk-in tub brands offer a range of products at different price points, from basic models up to luxury tubs with heated seats and remote controls. However, some brands are generally more expensive than others. For example, American Standard and Kohler tubs usually cost more, but they also come with a lifetime warranty. Here are some top walk-in tub shower combo retailers and their price ranges.
Some manufacturers offer additional upgrades and safety features for an extra fee. Here are some of those optional features, though they may not be available with every model.
- Slip-resistant floors: $30–$200
- Grab bars: $50–$300
- Ozone sterilization: $150–$300
- Aromatherapy diffusers: $200–$350
- Chromotherapy lights: $200–$350
Homeowners commonly wonder whether Medicare will cover the cost of a walk-in tub. Unfortunately, walk-in baths are not considered durable medical equipment that treat a specific condition and thus don’t typically qualify for coverage. Private health insurance is usually the same, though you can meet with an insurance agent and bring a recommendation from your primary care provider just in case.
In some states, Medicaid may offer partial reimbursement for the tub’s up-front price, but not for the cost of installation. Additionally, your tub may be tax-deductible as a medical expense if you have a prescription or a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor. You may need some additional documentation for this, so be sure to talk to your accountant.
Installing a walk-in tub shower combo can require substantial alterations to your home’s plumbing and electrical system. Some states or cities may require you to purchase a permit for this work. You can check with your local building department, but an experienced contractor will also know what permits you need.
Professional vs. DIY
Installing a walk-in tub is a job for professionals only. Here’s an explanation of why that is.
DIY Walk-in Tub Shower Combo Installation
Only licensed plumbers and electricians should make changes to your home’s plumbing and wiring, both for your safety and to ensure your home meets all necessary building codes. Walk-in tubs are also extremely large and heavy, and if you try to install one yourself, you risk your safety as well as future water damage to your home. Luckily, most walk-in tub retailers offer delivery and installation as part of their walk-in tub prices.
Professional Walk-in Tub Shower Combo Installation
Here are the steps that go into a typical walk-in tub installation.
- A professional will first remove and dispose of your old tub or shower stall.
- If your tub requires an electrical connection, an electrician will need to cut into the walls to run a new conduit and connect it to the existing wiring.
- The plumber will then expose the water lines and make any necessary adjustments to drains and other connections, including the shower.
- The tub will be put in place and leveled. If the tub is shorter than a typical alcove, an extension kit will be used to close the gap.
- All joints can be sealed and caulked, and finishing touches can be put on the new tub.
This process often takes a team of professionals, which is why it warrants the $2,000 to $6,000 price tag. Most installers also offer a workmanship warranty in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty in case anything goes wrong with installation.
Signs That You Need to Fix Your Walk-in Tub Shower Combo
When properly installed, walk-in tub-shower combos have minimal problems as long as they’re cleaned regularly with hot water and low-foaming detergent. Once a month or so, you can add half a cup of bleach to the detergent and rinse well. Walk-in tubs are designed to be easy to maintain and difficult to damage. However, if you see signs of any of the following problems, you’ll need to call a professional about a possible repair.
- Leaking door seal, faucet, or shower hose
- Loose handles or door hinges
- Not filling or draining properly
- Unusual or foul odors
Benefits of a Walk-In Tub Shower Combo
You may already know that you or a loved one in your home needs a walk-in tub. However, if you’re still on the fence, consider the following pros of installing this type of tub.
- Easier to enter and exit the tub
- Improved safety from low threshold, grab bars, and seat
- Option of wall-mounted or handheld showerhead
- Air and water jets can ease aches and pains
- Improved circulation and relaxation
- Easier to maintain independence and personal hygiene
- Allows you or your loved one to remain in your home as long as possible
How to Save On Your Walk-In Tub Shower Project
The average cost of a walk-in tub is high in comparison to most standard tubs, but it’s worth it if it allows you or a family member to age in place at home. There are also some ways to reduce costs.
- Opt for a standard soaking tub with few upgrades. You can typically still get a hand shower with a basic model.
- Choose a small tub size that requires less hot water to fill.
- Think carefully about which upgrades you’ll actually use. Consider the operating costs of features that use electricity.
- Once you’ve decided on a model, look for sales and rebates.
- Look into possible tax deductions based on medical necessity.
- Balance price with durability when choosing a tub material, as frequent repairs will cost you more in the long run.
- Most retailers and brands offer free quotes. Be sure to talk to at least three installers before making a choice.
A walk-in tub shower combo is a substantial financial investment, but it’s also something you’re likely to use every day. When shopping around, consider the tub’s quality and durability. It’s often more important to have a high-quality tub than a lower-quality model with lots of fancy features. If your bathroom is large enough, consider getting an ADA-compliant tub so you can continue using it if your mobility becomes more limited. Make sure to include the cost of installation in your budget, since this isn’t a do-it-yourself (DIY) job. A well-installed walk-in tub-shower combo can last you and your family for years.
Walk-In Tub Shower Combo FAQ
Who would benefit from a walk-in tub shower combo?
Although anyone who likes to sit while bathing can benefit from a walk-in tub shower combo, these units are most useful for older adults and those with mobility issues. Walk-in tubs are easier and safer to get in and out of because they have a much lower threshold to step over.
Are walk-in tub shower combos worth the money?
Whether a walk-in tub shower combo is worth it will depend on your needs and budget. Consider factors like how often you’ll use it and how long you expect to stay in your current home.
Do walk-in tubs shower combos come with seats?
Nearly all walk-in tub shower combos come with at least one seat. Some even have two.
Do walk-in tub shower combos affect the value of my home?
A walk-in tub shower combo might limit its retail value to prospective buyers if it’s the only tub or shower in the home. However, installing a walk-in tub shower combo might actually increase your home’s value in areas with many older residents.
We researched and analyzed dozens of walk-in tub brands. Then, we created a rating system based on each brand’s tub designs, safety features, and luxury options. We also analyzed each brand’s warranty options to ensure they offered comprehensive limited lifetime warranties on more than just a few parts.
We visited each company’s website and spoke directly to representatives to learn if the brand provides fully customizable walk-in tubs and how the installation process works. We then closely compared each provider’s offerings to see which brand offers the most customizable and comprehensive walk-in tub selection with an eye toward luxury.