bathroom walk-in shower and bath tub

Walk-In Showers vs. Bathtubs: Which Is Right for You?

When it comes to renovating a bathroom, homeowners are often confronted with a pivotal decision: opting for the sleek, modern appeal of a walk-in shower or sticking with the classic, relaxing allure of a traditional bathtub. This choice is not merely about personal preference; it’s a matter of functionality, space, design, and even future resale considerations. In this discussion, we’ll delve into the practicalities and pleasures of both options to help you determine which bathing solution is best suited to your lifestyle and your home’s layout. Whether you’re a busy professional with an eye for minimalist design or a parent who values bath-time fun, understanding the nuances of walk-in showers versus bathtubs will ensure that your bathroom renovation meets your needs while enhancing your daily routine.

At International Bath and Tile in San Diego, we carry a large selection of bathtubs and shower units! Our dedicated and knowledgeable sales consultants can help you pick the best tub or shower for your bathroom.

walk-in shower

Walk-In Showers

Walk-in showers are great for small bathrooms as they can make the space look bigger. They have a modern look and come in sleek, contemporary designs. These showers are also more accessible for those with mobility problems. Plus, they’re quick to use and easier to clean than bathtubs.

Modern Aesthetic: Walk-in showers exemplify a sleek and contemporary design, offering an elegant solution to modern bathrooms. These showers feature clean lines, minimalistic styles, and a focus on open, airy spaces.


Walk-in showers are designed with accessibility in mind, making them easily accessible for people with mobility issues. These shower spaces typically have minimalistic designs that eliminate the need for stepping over high tub walls, reducing the risk of trips and falls. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who use wheelchairs or other assistive devices, seniors, or anyone with limited mobility. By providing a safer and more comfortable bathroom experience, walk-in showers can significantly enhance the quality of life for many individuals.

Quick and Convenient

With today’s busy schedules with multi-family members, sometimes waiting for a bathtub to fill with water is not convenient. Walk-in showers are not only faster to use but also significantly easier to clean when compared to traditional bathtubs.


Relaxation and Therapy

Bathtubs are perfect for soaking, and relaxation, and offer therapeutic benefits. The design and ergonomics of modern bathtubs provide a tranquil experience where you can unwind after a long day. Whether through hydrotherapy jets or just a quiet, warm soak, bathtubs can significantly reduce stress and soothe sore muscles.


Bathtubs provide a convenient option for families with young children. What child does not enjoy playing in a bathtub? Bath time is not just about getting your children clean, it’s a delightful opportunity to enjoy an activity and promote various areas of development. Engaging in playful bath time activities strengthens emotional connections between you and your child. It’s a special moment where distractions are set aside, allowing for undivided attention and affection. For the parents, it is a relaxing time to rejuvenate after a long day.

Resale Value

Often preferred by home buyers, a well-designed bathtub can significantly add to the home’s resale value.

Bathtubs & Resale Appeal

Real estate professionals agree that bathtubs are very appealing to homeowners with children, and they are also convenient for those with pets. Having at least one bathtub in your home can be a decisive factor when it’s time to sell. It opens up the market to a wider array of prospective buyers, and this increased interest could potentially lead to a higher return on your investment.


Factors to Consider When Choosing

Bathroom Size and Layout: When selecting a bathtub, the size and layout of your bathroom are paramount. These spatial considerations will substantially influence your decision-making process. Here’s how:

  • Limited Space: Smaller bathrooms may not accommodate large freestanding bathtubs. In such cases, alcoves or corner tubs could be more appropriate, as they make efficient use of limited space.
  • Layout Specifics: The existing layout dictates where plumbing can be feasibly installed. It’s crucial to consider this before deciding on a bathtub style since some options may require extensive remodeling to fit.
  • Functionality vs. Aesthetics: In tight spaces, prioritize functional designs that provide comfort and utility without overwhelming the room. While a larger, luxurious tub may be desirable, it should not compromise the bathroom’s functionality.
  • Visual Space: Even if a bathtub physically fits, it needs to blend well with the overall design to maintain a sense of spaciousness. Clear lines and lighter colors can help a small bathroom feel larger.

By taking into account the bathroom size and layout, you can ensure that your bathtub choice enhances both the appearance and practicality of the space.

Lifestyle and Needs: When selecting a bathtub, it’s critical to consider the users and their unique requirements. Think about aspects such as:

  • The age and mobility of the individuals who will be using the bathtub.
  • Whether you need features like step-in access or built-in seats for accessibility.
  • How often do you plan to use the tub, be that for daily soaks or occasional relaxation.
  • The importance of therapeutic options such as whirlpool jets for muscle relaxation.
  • Space availability and whether the bathroom can accommodate certain bathtub designs and sizes.

Budget: Taking these factors into account ensures that your bathtub choice is tailored to provide comfort, functionality, and satisfaction.

When planning for a new bathroom or renovation, it’s crucial to consider the cost implications of installing a walk-in shower versus a bathtub. Here are key budgetary elements to keep in mind:

  • Initial Purchase Price: Bathtubs come in a variety of materials and styles which can significantly affect their cost. Basic alcove bathtubs are generally more affordable, whereas luxurious freestanding or whirlpool tubs come with a higher price tag.
  • Installation Costs: The complexity of the installation process for a walk-in shower compared to a traditional bathtub can vary. Walk-in showers might require additional waterproofing, tiling, and labor, which could increase the costs.
  • Long-Turm Maintenance: Consider the maintenance costs over time. A high-quality bathtub might have a greater upfront cost but potentially lower maintenance expenses in comparison to a walk-in shower that may require more frequent cleaning or repairs due to its complex structures like glass doors.
  • Resale Value: Investing in a bathtub, particularly in homes where another full bathroom is available, can enhance the property’s appeal to potential buyers, especially families with young children or individuals who enjoy a relaxing soak.
  • Additional Features: Features such as water jets, heated backrests, or advanced materials can also drive up the cost of your bathtub choice.

To make an informed decision, weigh these budgetary considerations against your personal preferences and requirements for functionality, comfort, and design.

Long-Term Plans: Investing in a bathtub, particularly in homes where another full bathroom is available, can enhance the property’s appeal to potential buyers, especially families with young children or individuals who enjoy a relaxing soak. Also, think of you and your future needs. If you are reaching your elder years, mobility and safety can be reasons why a walk-in shower would work best for you.


There are a lot of decisions to make when deciding if a walk-in shower or a bathtub would work in your home and for your family. Key points such as children, safety, convenience, and resale value are important factors to consider before making this decision.

At International Bath and Tile, we can help you make these decisions. We will work with you and your family’s needs to help determine if a walk-in shower or bathtub will be the best in your home.

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