Bathtub or no bathtub

A couple of weeks ago we heard from homeowners who were remodeling their master bath and couldn’t decide between a fancy shower or a tub/shower combination. Some years ago this column threw that same question open to readers, who voted almost exactly 50/50 on “would you buy a house with no bathtub?” Again, the answers poured in. Here are some of the first responses:

• Having practiced dermatology for decades, I can tell your readers there may come a time when you are told to soak in a tub for a skin condition or for muscle aches. People have told me they had to go to a friend or relative’s house to use a bathtub. To me, no bathtub is like not having a kitchen because you don’t like to cook. — L.B.T.

• Our contractor suggested we sleep on it before replacing our only tub with a big walk-in shower and a built-in seat, but we did it. We’re planning on growing old here. A walk-in shower will be much safer. We have plenty of room for built-in tile seating and other amenities. We love the luxurious spa-like look and even added a heated floor. Our house might take a few days longer to sell or bring a few thousand less, but let the kids worry about it; I’ll be dead by then. — J.W.

• I asked myself — who are the next buyers of my small house? They will be a young couple with perhaps one child. Young children need bathtubs. Decision made — I keep the existing equipment. But I still wish I had a large modern stall shower! — M.J.

• Tubs are used by people with young kids, either their own or their grandkids; People who enjoy relaxing in a hot tub with a book, some music, and a glass of wine. — E.

• “Would you buy a house with a fancy shower and no tub?” — my answer is yes. My husband and I are in our sixties. Our current home has two showers and a bathtub — can you guess which one almost never gets used? — D.V.

• “Can you update a bathroom with an upscale shower instead of a tub?” Yes, definitely. Not everyone takes tub baths! Not only that, but it saves money on your water bill. And a shower area can look very luxurious and make the room look larger. — via email

• If the main bath had a standard-sized tub, I would buy that house. — B. K., Realtor, appraiser (and happy to say I was one of your students at SJFC in 1985.)

• I’d buy with shower! Haven’t used a tub for 30 years! — L.

• I wish I had a big modern shower rather than the one I have in a tiny tub. I’m 75 and would be much happier in a walk-in shower that’s easy to get in and out of and to move around in. — M.A.

• If you plan to eventually sell and you only have one bathroom, go with a tub/ shower combo. Parents of young children will want that tub. Without it, you may be eliminating potential buyers. If you are in a senior community, go with the walk-in shower. Add a seat, as well as safety bars. If this is your “forever home” do what you will be happiest with. — via email

• I hate showers and have a tub which I use every day. I would never consider purchasing a house that did not have one. — E.P.

• You need a place to give babies a bath when they are too big for the sink. Then when they are toddlers it’s a great time for them in the bathtub with bubbles, toys etc. I would never buy a house without a tub. I’m now in my sixties with no children, but remember the day when I needed a tub. — D.I.

• In the 80s, I did a complete tear-out remodel of my master bath. A relative (who was also a building contractor) strongly advised against replacing the tub with a shower. Yes, the old argument of “resale.” In the decades since, I’ve used the tub maybe five times. And I’ve been kicking myself for years because I didn’t do what I wanted, instead thinking of what the next owner wanted. In 2016, I’m getting my fancy shower! — No name, just initials if necessary. Some family members would recognize this story.

Edith Lank will respond personally to any question sent to or to 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

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