May 23, 2022


Residential infrastructure

Determining the Best Location for Your Walk-In Bathtub

Upgrading to a walk-in bathtub is an upgrade to your bathroom in many regards. Not only does it improve the safety and accessibility of your home, but most walk-in bathtubs also include spa-like features that can turn your bath into a relaxing experience. Of course, it’s important that your tub is installed in the right spot to make it easier to use and to minimize the amount of time it takes to install your tub. Keep reading to get tips on finding the best location for your walk-in tub.

The Old Tub’s Location

In most cases, it’s a good idea to install your new walk-in tub in the same cutout your old tub was in. This makes installation fast and easy, as you don’t have to worry about serious construction or rerouting of any plumbing. If you hope to place your walk-in tub in your old tub’s cutout, then make sure that you purchase the right size to fit in that spot. Additionally, ensure that the drain is on the proper end of the tub to align with the drainpipe in your tub cutout.

An Accessible Location

However, installing in the previous tub cutout may not always be an option. Whether your new tub is too large, the drain is not in the right spot, or that corner where your old tub was is just too cramped, you might find yourself needing to choose a different spot for your new tub.

In these cases, your first task is to ensure you choose a location that is easily accessible. This means you’ll need plenty of room around the tub to maneuver. If you have an outwards-swinging door on your tub, ensure there’s enough space for the door to fully open and allow you to move around the door and into the tub. Avoid installing the tub too close to other bathroom fixtures, particularly sinks, cabinets, and counters.

Close to Existing Plumbing

You’ll want to talk to your contractor about this one, but ideally, you’ll want to find a location for your tub that is at least close to the plumbing for the old one. If you can install your walk-in tub relatively near the location of the old tub, you’ll minimize the amount of piping that needs to be rerouted to the new tub’s location. This reduces the amount of time it’ll take to install your tub, minimizes demolition and construction, and cuts down on costs for you.

You should pay attention to whether your tub is a “left-hand” or “right-hand” tub. This has nothing to do with which hand is your dominant hand. Rather, it refers to which side of the tub the door and plumbing are on. If you route the plumbing incorrectly for your tub’s installation, you’ll end up with the door against the wall, and that doesn’t help anyone!

Close to Your Water Heater

This might sound strange, but if there are multiple bathrooms you can choose from for installing your walk-in tub, you should choose the bathroom that is closest to your water heater. Why? In many homes, water pressure decreases the further you get away from the source of water. 

This isn’t a huge deal in many cases, but with a walk-in tub, you have to remain in the tub the entire time the tub is filling up. If you have low water pressure because you’re on the opposite side of the house from your water heater, this is going to take much longer. It’s much more convenient for walk-in tub users to have higher water pressure so that the tub can fill faster, and you can get on with your bath.

Near a Safe Electrical Source

Your average tub doesn’t need a source of electricity. But many walk-in bathtubs have extra features, as mentioned earlier, and a lot of those features require electricity to function. If your old tub was far from any electrical source, you might need to run some extra wires behind the walls or under the flooring so that your tub can be safely connected to electricity. If you have to choose a new location for your tub, talk to your contractor about the best locations for connecting to a power source safely.

Reconciling These Requirements

Again, if you can fit your tub into the old one’s cutout, this is going to be the simplest option for you, even if it requires running wires to the spot to make those features work. But if that’s not possible, to install your new walk-in tub in that cutout, you’ll have to reconcile all of the different requirements mentioned above to find the perfect spot for your tub.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a spot with easy plumbing and electrical access, close to your water heater, that is also easily accessible. However, you can work with your contractor to determine several location options for installing walk-in bathtubs in your home, then select the spot that balances all of these requirements the best.