Walk-in tubs provide both accessibility and, often, a variety of hydrotherapy options.
(PRWEB) October 29, 2012
HomeThangs.com – the Home Improvement Super Store has made their goal to deliver the right product to the consumer, with that in mind, shopping and home design tips, as well as special product selections are being introduced.
Major bathroom remodels are among the most popular (and most important) home upgrades. But not all bathroom renovation is necessarily for style – for many, bathroom renovations add much needed accessibility. Especially for an aging population or for the disabled, the right bathroom upgrades and alterations can increase independence and even make it possible to live alone despite limited mobility. Walk-in tubs are among the most important of these upgrades, as they provide both accessibility and, often, a variety of hydrotherapy options. HomeThangs.com introduced a guide explaining how they work, and what one should know before buying.
1. What a Walk in Tub Is
Walk in tubs are just what they sound like – bathtubs with a front apron that opens up either at floor level or within an inch or two of floor level, allowing users to “walk” (or, really, step) into the tub without having to climb over a 15-20 inch tall apron. For anyone with limited mobility or anyone that’s wheelchair-bound, this simple change can be the difference between needing assistance and being able to bathe yourself. Almost all walk in tubs, have built in seats for a comfortable sitting shower, as well as grab bars, no-slip surfaces, and often a variety of hydrotherapy options.
2. How Big Should the Walk in Tub Be
Many walk in tubs, like the 3140 Shower Enclosure by Meditub, are designed to accommodate sit down showers. If this is the only application needed for the walk in tub, one can often get a much more compact model. Those who also want to be able to shower standing up, should look for a longer tub in the 60 inch or more range. One should look for a seat that’s large enough to be comfortable, but also enough floor space (length and width) to be able to stand comfortably and unimpaired. As well, one should be aware of the interior dimensions of the tub as well as the exterior ones, especially for those with a larger frame.
3. No Slip Surfaces
Many walk in tubs, like the 3054 No Slip, are covered wholly or in part by non-slip surfaces to prevent falling. Now, no slip floor surfaces are an absolute must for anyone wanting to use their walk in tub as both a sitting and standing shower. But users often report that no-slip seating makes it difficult to sink into the tub and get comfortable. Obviously, this has to be a personal choice based on ones own strength and stability, but it’s important to note that slip-free seating can make a walk in tub less comfortable to use.
4. An Important Note about Soaking
Many manufacturers picture people soaking up to their shoulders in walk-in tubs, but in many cases this is quite misleading. Walk in tubs are very deep, but because one would typically be seated while in one, the “depth” of the tub in practice is much less significant. In fact, with some models the water only comes up to the small of the back while seated straight up. To get a good sense of how high the tub will actually fill, one would need to measure the distance between the top of the seat and the overflow drain, or subtract the height of the seat from the height of the overflow drain. This number will give a more accurate reflection of how much water one will have for soaking. Also, if interested in soaking as well as showering, one should look for walk in tubs like the Wheel Chair Accessible 3060 by Meditub, that have lower or longer seats or sloped backs, which make it a little easier to sink down into the tub, though again one has to consider this alongside personal mobility.
5. Hydrotherapy Options
Hydrotherapy, from light effervescent bubble massages to full powered water jets can be incredibly helpful in relieving tension and soothing aching muscles or even arthritis pain. But there are a few things to think about when considering your options. First, one should be aware that – because of the overflow valve – most massagers will only reach the lower back without a little maneuvering. That said, many tubs have jets for legs, feet, and on the bottom and sides of the seat as well to get a more all-encompassing feeling. The type of whirlpool to get depends on the personal preferences and the type of massage to enjoy, but one should definitely look for one that has built in in-line heating to maintain the temperature of the water for the duration of the bath. As well, it is recommended to look for tubs with built in self-cleaning or water purge options, as tubs without either can be difficult to clean, and can accumulate mold or mildew without regular (often labor-intensive) maintenance.
6. The Actual Water Capacity
This one is incredibly important, because the listed capacity and capacity to overflow can be quite different. If the actual capacity is higher than the size of the water heater, one may have to invest in a larger one to fill the tub all the way up with hot water. In-line heating can help reheat lukewarm water to a certain extent, but one will have to be in the tub from the moment it is turned on until it fully finishes draining, which can take several minutes on both ends for such a high capacity tub. A smaller tub shouldn’t present a problem, but larger lounging tubs or ones used as a standing shower as well as a sitting one may require a higher capacity water heater.
7. The Type of Door is Important too
One of the most important things to remember about a walk in tub might seem obvious but is also easy to overlook for those accustomed to traditional bathtubs: once the tub is filled, you can’t open the door until it’s been drained completely, which can take some time as walk in tubs are typically very deep and have a high capacity. There are two main types of doors on walk-in tubs, those that swing inward and those that swing outward. Ones that swing inward seal incredibly tightly because water pressure seals them shut, which provides the highest guard against leaking, while ones that swing outward have to have additional measures to ensure the door stays water tight. But inward-swinging doors cannot be opened while the tub is full of water for the same reason, so if emergency access is a major consideration, one might want to look for walk in tubs with outward swinging doors like the 2747 Shower Enclosure from Meditub, or the less common slide-away doors.
8. The Size and Shape Of the Opening Matters
Walk in tubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and so do the doors that seal them, and depending on a person’s size and mobility levels, it is important to pay attention to those dimensions. Specifically, how far up off the floor the door is, if the walk in tub is a true walk in or actually a step-in. Also the shape of the opening itself is very important and where it is in relation to the seat of the tub. The Walk In Whirlpool from Aston Global, for example, has a wide inward swinging door, but requires a more substantial step up to get inside. One should to be certain that one can easily and independently maneuver oneself into the tub, and the door is wide enough to pass through it comfortably and sit easily.
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