When it comes to bathroom remodeling projects, there is a question that has been perplexing the minds of homeowners and contractors since the dawn of creation: tub or shower stall? Okay, maybe not since the dawn of creation, but at least for the last few years. The price of remodeling a bathroom has come down enough to encourage more and more homeowners to undertake these projects. Unfortunately, when it comes to the choice between a tub or shower stall it’s not as easy as it sounds. Both choices have their pros and cons that need to be considered.
An older couple in upstate New York decided to remodel both bathrooms in their 2,000-ft.² ranch. The bathroom in the lower level originally had a full tub with a single sink/vanity unit. Unfortunately, there was no linen closet. In order to solve that problem they replaced the tub with a shower stall and used the extra space to install a closet. This solution worked well for them because they still had the tub in the main bath upstairs. However, homeowners with only a single bath may not have that luxury. For them it becomes a question of how important having a tub is.
Down the street from the older couple was a young family with four small children. When they purchased their California Split, it also had two bathrooms; one in the lower level and a second upstairs near the bedrooms. When it came time to remodel, they put full bathtubs in both. For them it was a question of family circumstances. With four young children and plans to have more, they knew there would be plenty of challenges getting all the kids in and out of a single bathtub at bedtime. By having tubs in both bathrooms, mom and dad had twice the space to work with. For them a shower stall would have been impractical because of its limited use.
The Rental Unit
A third scenario to consider is the homeowner who decides to convert unused living space into a small rental unit. This is a fairly common practice in urban areas where homeowners have more space than they need. If the homeowner plans to rent his unit to a young college student or a still-single professional, he could probably get away with installing just a shower stall. The active lifestyle of these types of people suggest they will not be spending a lot of time at home anyway. Installing a shower stall is a way to save a little money and make more effective use of space. Perhaps the scenarios we presented here do not help you make a decision for your bathroom-remodeling project. But that’s okay. Deciding whether to choose a tub or shower really depends on your circumstances and what you are trying to accomplish with your remodel. Do what you think is best for your current circumstances, knowing you can always change things around in the future.