Shower or Bathtub – Do I need both?

I am sure of it but I can’t really remember it.  So a couple weeks ago I attempted to re-capture this wonderful relaxing experience.  I say attempted because what I discovered is I apparently lack the patience to actually prepare and soak in a tub.  In fact once I thought about it I am pretty sure I loved soaking in a tub as a teen when my parents were in their “back to nature; let’s go live in the woods with no modern conveniences” phase and we had no water pressure for a shower.  I remember now….hand pump in the sink, containers of water on the wood stove poured into the cast iron tub that cooled before I actually got in in winter…perhaps I “loved” the sense of accomplishment ?

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The Tub Me…
Come on, you all know the tub me…we see it in the ads, I luxuriate in foamy hot water with a good book and perhaps a favourite beverage in a tub with a view…some window alcove overlooking a beach or mountain valley.

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The Real Me…
Damn, it’s already 9:30 pm and if I grab my 5 minutes in the shower now I will have to stay awake till at least 11am or my hair will stand on end.  Option number 2 I fit the 5 minutes in the morning after feeding the horses before work.  Is blow drying and driving the same number of lost license points as texting?
There is a bit of a debate going on surrounding tubs and showers in the home.  With a move toward economic use of space, clean open design and cost effective planning some people are choosing to do without a tub.
Tub me aside; let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of your choices…

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For those who love to soak in a tub the tub really is ideal and will not likely be replaced and some consider them the best option for cleaning offspring and pets.  Some recommend soaking in baths with salts or oils to relax and detox. A full bath is still considered important for re-sale value.

Tubs take a lot of water to fill.  Once filled a tub can be a drowning hazard.  Tub water cools causing dirt and soap to sediment out requiring rinsing or cleaning.  Cleaning tubs generally requires you to kneel (difficult for many). Stepping over the side of a tub can be difficult to hazardous.   Females prone to infection are often cautioned to avoid soaking in warm baths.  It is suggested that they can be dangerous to those suffering from epilepsy, obesity, blood pressure issues, heart disease or circulatory problems as well as skin sensitivity.  Standing up quickly from hot water can cause dizziness.  Preparing a bath is a bit more time consuming than a shower.

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Showers can be fitted with various heads that save water and/or offer massage settings.  Access tends to be a bit easier even with a standard threshold.   Dirt and soap rinse away from the body and surfaces of the shower. Temperature can be set to remain consistent rather than cooling with time.  Many models offer seats and or shelves.

Some custom tile showers require grout maintenance and glass walls can be time consuming and difficult to clean. A slip can still happen in a shower.

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A few more thoughts…

As for bathing small children, many prefer to use a sink or small tub on a counter or change table for tiny babies. There are portable or inflatable tub options that can go in the bottom of most showers if you feel you need one before graduating them to assisted showering.

Often we go with the tub-shower combination because we think it offers both options but in truth they don’t offer the best bathing or showering experience.

A few lighter thoughts…

You can generally rest a wine glass on the edge of a tub, however reaching it may require 3rd level yoga poses.

The pretty bubbles only last until you touch soap.

Candles can rest along the edge of a tub but may ignite towels if you aren’t careful getting out.

And if you feel couples bathing is romantic go with a 5ft shower and add a second shower head – you both get to choose your own water temperature and there are no concerns over who trimmed their toenails.


A few things you could add for roughly the same space or dollar value as a tub…

4 to 5 feet of upper and lower cabinet

A walk in closet or pantry

A washer dryer area

A Built in bunk bed

A Raised bar top

A Kitchen island

When designing your home and deciding where your money and space budget will be best spent give some thought to the shower vs. bathtub debate and make the best choice for you.  Don’t be afraid to ditch the tub if you decide it is unnecessary for your dream space.

Although I have listed the re-sale consideration I hate to do it.  I am a firm believer in designing the home YOU want to live in without thinking too much about what happens when you no longer want to live in it.  Above all do not be afraid to get creative and as always your dream builders are happy to help.

Happy Scrubbing

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