8 Tips for Saving Money on a Walk-in Tub
A walk-in tub may be a necessity immediately or something you’re thinking about for the long term. Either way, it’s a large investment. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on a walk-in tub without sacrificing its function.
What is the Average Walk-in Tub Cost?
The average walk-in tub costs $2,500 – $8,000, depending on the size, materials, and features chosen. This usually includes the labor cost, but it may increase depending on the work that must be done.
Many financing options are available, including personal loans, home equity loans, or a cash-out refinance. Of course, you could also pay it in full in cash.
Fortunately, there are ways to save money on walk-in tubs to keep them cost-effective and viable for your home.
Are Walk-in Tubs Worth the Money?
You might wonder if a walk-in tub is worth the money. If it costs $8,000, that’s a large investment in your home. But here’s what you get out of it:
- You could age in place more easily, knowing you have a safe and viable way to bathe
- You might increase your home’s value if the buyers in the area want walk-in tubs
Pros and Cons of Walk-in Tubs
- Lower risk of falls and trips
- Easier to bathe independently
- Easy to clean
- Offers a place to relax
- Can help soothe sore muscles and joints
- Installation can be costly if you need electrical and plumbing work
- You might need an upgraded water heater
- Can take a while to fill and empty
Tips for Saving Money on a Walk-in Tub
While walk-in tubs are often worth the money, it’s always a good idea to see where you can save on the overall costs. Here are the top eight ways:
1. Buy a Tub the Same Size as Your Existing Tub
The less remodeling you must do to install the tub, the cheaper it will be. For example, if you buy a tub larger than your existing one, you’ll need the bathroom remodeled, including drywall and electrical work.
If you buy a tub that fits where the existing tub sat, you won’t have to pay for remodeling and only have to cover the cost of buying the tub and hooking up the plumbing and electrical. But, of course, if you need a larger tub, such as a bariatric tub, you shouldn’t hold back.
2. Choose and Inward-Opening Door
The typical walk-in tub has an inward-opening door. This means it opens toward the tub’s interior and takes up room in the tub. An exterior-opening door swings out into the bathroom, taking up less room in the tub and costing more. On average, you’ll pay a few hundred dollars more for an outward-opening door.
If space isn’t an issue, save the money and choose the inward-opening door. It won’t affect you while bathing, only when you enter and exit the tub.
3. Choose a U-Shaped Door
The door type also affects how much your walk-in tub costs. U-shaped doors are standard and won’t cost you anything extra. S and L-shaped doors, however, add to the cost and function.
S-shaped doors are wider, allowing more room to get in and out of the tub easier, and L-shaped doors are wider and best for people who need someone to help them get in and out of the tub. The different doors, however, can add as much as $800 to the cost, so choose the standard door whenever possible.
4. Buy your Own Materials
Depending on how you install the tub, you may be able to buy your own materials, including the tub. Many people buy the tub themselves and the materials to install it and then find a contractor to install it for them.
If you buy from a tub wholesaler, they may be able to match you with a contractor, or you can do the legwork yourself. Before buying materials, though, talk to your installer about the materials they can work with, as some have restrictions from their insurance companies or manufacturers if they provide the tub.
5. Get Tax Deductions
If you install a walk-in tub for medical reasons, you may be able to include it in your medical costs for the year. If your medical costs exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you may be able to deduct the costs on your tax return.
Of course, discuss this with your tax advisor, but if you can upgrade your tub and get a tax write-off, it’s a win-win!
6. Get Quotes from Multiple Contractors
Just like you comparison shop when you buy a car or other large purchases, you should do the same with a walk-in tub. We’ve put together six tips and tricks for finding the right contractor.
Shop around for the tub itself and the contractors you hire to install it. You might find tub wholesalers where you can buy the tub cheaper or find contractors that do side jobs and will save you money on labor.
Compare your options and look at the big picture when deciding. Don’t cut corners to save money, but if you find legit installers that will cost less, enjoy the savings and your new tub.
7. Consider Home Modification Grants
If you belong to any special groups or are a veteran, special home modification grants may be available. In addition, each state has programs to make homes more accessible, such as in Illinois, the Home Accessibility Program helps seniors and the disabled with home renovation needs that cost up to $25,000.
8. Look for Manufacturer’s Rebates
Manufacturers often have rebates for their tubs. The rebates are usually on certain brands and even models when they need to sell them off to make more room. They also offer rebates to people with certain medical conditions to make them more affordable.
Is it cheaper to do a walk-in shower or tub?
Walk-in showers are cheaper than walk-in tubs because they are standard for most homes. It also depends on what the bathroom already has. Replacing a shower with a shower is much cheaper than replacing a shower with a tub or vice versa.
Do walk-in tubs decrease home value?
Walk-in tubs can increase home value in the right area. For example, if you live where the population is aging, a walk-in tub can be seen as a benefit because it allows the owners to age in place. In younger areas, though, they may be seen as a downside and may not help the home’s value.
What are the most common problems with walk-in tubs?
Walk-in tubs are generally a great option for the elderly and disabled but have downsides. It can be difficult for caregivers to help their patients bathe, and there is a risk of flooding the bathroom if the door isn’t fully closed. Some people also complain about how long it takes to fill or empty the tub because they must be in it to do this.
A walk-in tub can be a great addition to your bathroom, but knowing how to save money on a walk-in tub is important. Even if you finance the tub, use these tips to help you save money, keeping your costs down while making your home as accessible as possible.