Over 4000 people participated in home plan designer Design Basics’ online poll which asked, “If you have a bathtub in your primary bath, how often do you take a bath in that tub?” 78% of the respondents answered “never.”
Why the trend towards tubless primary bathrooms?
“We’ve only used the tub 3 times in 5 years!” was typical of regrets we heard over having to clean a bathtub that wasn’t being used – especially larger/deeper tubs. Another common lament was “Who has time to soak in a tub?” Tubless bathrooms may mean less upkeep as well as room for a larger shower, separate vanities or added storage. Deleting a fancy tub may also save thousands of dollars—including installation—money that could be spent elsewhere.
When women realize jetted tubs are simply recirculating the same water with their hair and dead skin cells, they quickly lose interest in a whirlpool tub. In our interviews, some ladies thought soaking in a tub of dirty water and soap scum was just offensive. One individual said she felt she would need to shower off after taking a bath! And, women can develop infections due to soaking in bubble bath or other products that can cause irritation.
While 40-50 gallons of water fills a standard 5-foot tub, larger tubs take as much as 80 to over 100 gallons, using all your hot water. And by the time they’re full, the water isn’t hot! Environmentally-conscious folks object to all the water being used. Finally, with the average American male measuring 5 foot – 10 inches, a standard 5-foot bathtub just isn’t comfortable.
Age and Accessibility
Younger buyers are typically more willing to explore tubless bathroom options. Several of the more mature women we spoke with cherished the idea of a long, hot soak, but the dangers associated with getting in and out of a bathtub often cast the deciding vote.
Realtors said buyers are shying away from homes that don’t have an oversize shower, regardless of the presence of a tub. Remodelers agreed that if the seller’s budget allowed, taking the tub out of the primary bath and installing a big shower was a sure way to get a home sold.
It just makes sense to have a bathtub in one of your home’s bathrooms. But the decision on including a tub in your primary suite comes down to your preferences – like being tired of dusting that tub!
–Paul Foresman is Vice President for Design Basics, one of America’s largest residential design firms.