A spa-like shower experience is replacing the traditional bathtub and luxury walk-in showers are the number one choice as a bathtub replacement. In new construction and major bathroom remodels, the traditional high-step tub with its slipper surface and inconvenient curtains is being replaced. And the spa-type, jetted soaking tub so popular in the late 1990s has given way to multiple shower heads that massage, soak and steam. Today’s hot trend is away from big volume tubs to large, open walk-in showers.
Walk-in Showers Are The Luxury of Choice
Spacious showers with rain showerheads, multiple body jets, hand-wands, custom lighting and low-maintenance materials are in demand. When it comes time for a bathtub replacement, custom showers are where the remodeling money is going.
Here are the latest trends behind installing walk-in showers as a bathtub replacement:
- Easy Entry – No Doors — A stand-alone shower means no glass doors to clean or tracks to get tarnished. Frameless and doorless showers virtually disappear into even a small bathroom, opening up what may have been a cramped space. Removing shower doors also allows designers to showcase the many new tile options designed just for showers.
- Doorless Entry — More than visual. As homeowners strive to stay in their Madison WI homes well into their old age, removing shower doors removes one more obstacle in the bathroom. It’s both a design feature and a safety consideration.
- Controls at Your Fingertips — The latest in walk-in showers include thermostatic, programmable controls to monitor water temperature and flow – making sure the shower stream stays steady ever if the dish washer kicks in. Some can be programmed for regular uses like a steady gentle morning shower to a cool, high-pressure blast for after a run or workout. There are even Smart Phone connected remote controls to get the shower going as you jog up the driveway.
- Customer Showerheads — Showerheads come in as many colors, materials, shapes and sizes as you can imagine. There’s the massaging head for a vigorous experience right through to models that simulate standing in a soaking rain. You can have whatever you want, coming at you from many directions at the same time.
- Water and Energy Conservation — With all the hype about high-pressure and multiple shower heads, it’s easy to think walk-in showers waste water. But that need not be the case. You can have a bathtub replacement that conserves water and is energy-efficient. Among the high-performance showerheads are many where the concept of high-performance is directly related to saving water. Some models of 8-inch rain showerheads actually use up to 20% less water than a standard head.
- Walls and Floors — The most common material for shower walls and floors is tile, but options include natural or manufactured stone, glass tile, glass block and acrylic. Traditional spaces use tile and ornamental borders to keep a neutral or monochromatic theme while contemporary design concepts use an artful combination of mosaic styles, mirrored tiles, stone and very often the new larger wood-look tiles.
- TIP FROM A PRO—The new larger tiles require less grout so they can require less maintenance and be easier to keep clean.
Professional designers also recommend staying away from very dark or large, over-sized tiles in a smaller bathroom’s walk-in show installation. Large tiles and dark surfaces make smaller rooms seem even more confined – you might be going for cozy and wind up with cramped. Lighter, smaller tiles open the space – especially if there isn’t a nice large window to bring in natural light. Consult with a professional before making your decision – you’ll live with that tile a long time.
- Lighting — The best of all worlds, especially with large easy access, doorless showers is to allow as much natural light into the room as possible. That’s accomplished with generous windows or perhaps a skylight. Some high-end showerheads include lighting packages that can change colors to enhance the mood and there are many options for recessed lighting in the ceiling.
Walk-in Showers Needn’t Replace Every Bathtub
Do you have one bathtub in your home? If you do, realtors suggest thinking twice before replacing it. Studies show that having at least one standard bathtub is a very positive sales point. Why? Young families need a space to bathe children.
But, at the same time, realtors are quick to point out that walk-in showers are in great demand. So, the bottom line is simple: Whatever suits your lifestyle is the decision to make. If you want a bathtub replacement you have basic choices:
- Another traditional bathtub or a bathtub/shower combination
- A walk-in, sit-down bathtub
- No bathtub at all – replaced by a shower
For knowledgeable perspective on all remodeling trends, Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us for assistance in creating bathroom remodeling ideas including walk-in showers as the bathtub replacement in your Madison WI home.