You are here: Walk-in shower or bath – the great debate

Bath or shower - which is better. It’s a dilemma many people face when splashing the cash in the bathroom.

The dilemma

There’s a growing trend for homeowners to remove their baths and install large, walk-in showers. Showers are speedier as you don’t have to wait for the bath to fill up with water. Older people find it easier to walk in and out of a shower than step in and out of a high-sided bath. That said, some people love a long soak in a tub brimming with hot water and bubbles. Is a centrepiece bath or super-sleek shower best for your bathroom?  Here are some issues to consider.

Bath or Shower
Bath or Shower

Image supplied by Pro Vision architects

Property values

Firstly, will swapping a bath for a shower devalue your home? Estate agent Christian Budd, of Southdown Property Solutions, said it depends on the property. Potential buyers might be put off if a two or three-bedroom house perfect for a young family only has a shower – baths are better for washing little kids. But if it’s a one-bedroom studio apartment for a young professional or retirement bungalow, it’s less likely to be an issue. Mr Budd said: “It’s almost a generational thing. There is no right or wrong answer.  If there is only space for a bath or a shower, I advise people to think about their target market.”

Size matters

Choice of bath or shower is often dictated by the size of room. Start by measuring the size of your space and draw up a scale floor plan. When you have these vital statistics, you’ll discover which products fit in and which don’t. The average UK bathroom is no bigger than two king-sized mattresses.

If you have a more generously sized bathroom, then choosing a bath and a separate shower enclosure means you can enjoy the best of both worlds. The classic, roll-top clawfoot bath is popular in Victorian-style bathrooms and can make a showstopping centrepiece.

Have you got limited space? Showers have a smaller footprint making them easier to squeeze in although it’s currently on-trend to install large, luxurious walk-in showers. 

Shower-bath compromise

If space is limited, a bath and shower combination is great way to enjoy the benefits of both without using up too much precious floor space. P-shaped baths have one wider, curvaceous end which provides extra space for a shower but without having to rip out the bath. This means showering can be a more comfortable experience with the bonus there is still a tub for those who like to wallow in water for hours. There is an abundance of shower-bath styles to choose from, including L-shaped and B-shaped.

How much space do you need?

Think your space is too teeny for a tub? The average size bath is about 1700mm in length x 700mm wide.  But investigate the different shapes and sizes and you might find one to suit. Remember, for any bath, the recommended clearance space beside it is 760mm to make it comfortable to use.

Meanwhile the smallest showers available are 810mm x 810mm. This allows for stand up straight washing without much elbow room. If you can fit in a bigger shower, you’ll be more comfortable. There are square shower bases, rectangular and even circular ones. It may sound obvious but remember to allow clearance space if the shower door opens outwards.

Is energy efficiency a priority?

Showers beat baths from an eco-friendly standpoint, so long as you aren’t taking a very long shower. The average eight-minute shower uses 62 litres of hot water compared with 80 litres to fill a standard tub, but some fast-flowing power showers can guzzle up to 136 litres of hot water – nearly the equivalent of two baths. You can install a water-saving showerhead to reduce flow but ultimately, it’s all about timing. By taking shorter showers, you can save energy and reduce your utility bills.

What’s on trend?

Walk-in showers and freestanding baths are both on-trend in the modern bathroom. Freestanding baths can make a stylish centrepiece and fit in with contemporary or traditional décor. Walk-in showers, meanwhile, give bathrooms a cutting-edge, minimalist feel. High-end features to pick from include rain showers, massage jet and steam options.

Ultimately, choose the product that best complements your lifestyle. A bath can be essential if you have small children at home, but it’s also great for a relaxing soak. Meanwhile a shower is speedy and potentially more environmentally friendly.

Think about the space available and how you’ll be using the bathroom in years to come. If you can’t choose between the two, or have limited space in your bathroom, a shower-bath is a great compromise.

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