What to Consider When Removing Your Unused Bathtub

In the golden era of the late 80s and 90s, a sprawling master bathroom equipped with an oversized garden tub was the hallmark of luxury in home design. These large tubs, also known as whirlpool tubs, Jacuzzis, soaking tubs, or corner tubs, were not just a fixture; they were a statement. But as we have moved into more modern times, the once-coveted garden tub seems to have lost some of its luster. Today, many homeowners question the practicality of these voluminous bathtubs, which now often serve more as a decorative relic than a functional feature of their bathrooms.

Primary bathroom with walk-in shower in Cincinnati by Legacy Builders

The Shift in Bathroom Remodel Preferences

Are garden tubs outdated? 

The sentiment around large tubs is reflected in the evolution of market trends and customer feedback. The desire for expansive, spa-like showers is now overtaking the need for a massive tub that takes up valuable square footage. Many folks are now furiously googling “garden tub replacement ideas" and "are corner tubs outdated" to modernize their bathrooms. 

When it comes to modern bathroom renovations, one of the most significant shifts has been the growing trend of removing garden tubs and replacing them with showers. Removing the corner tub allows for a larger shower area for those with oversized garden tubs, which can be customized with features such as rainfall showerheads, built-in seating, and multiple spray jets. 

Walk-in shower with built-in bench and shelf in historic bathroom renovation in Wyoming, Ohio by Legacy Builders

As lifestyles have become more hectic, people take fewer baths and more showers. Why keep a large bathtub you rarely use? Understanding when and why getting rid of a bathtub might be a good idea is crucial for anyone considering a bathroom remodel today. Whether driven by the desire for a more streamlined bathroom layout or the practicalities of cleaning and maintaining a large tub, the move away from garden tubs is unmistakable.

Factors to Consider Before Removing a Bathtub

Selling the Home: If your remodeling plans are motivated by the intention to sell, it's important to consider potential buyers' expectations. While transforming a rarely used tub into a spacious shower can be appealing, evaluating whether such a renovation will offer a return on investment is crucial.

Existence of Other Bathtubs in the Home: Another vital factor is whether there are other bathtubs in the home. Removing the master bathroom’s oversized tub could be a viable option if there's at least one more tub available, especially for families with small children or for resale considerations where potential buyers might expect a tub. 

Design Considerations and Solutions for Removing Old Tubs

When contemplating the removal of a large bathtub, especially one situated under large windows or in a corner, the bathroom’s existing design plays a crucial role. Often, homeowners face the dilemma of whether to undertake costly modifications to window arrangements or to work creatively within the current layout. For instance, removing large windows entirely could be expensive and complex if large windows overlook the tub. A more practical solution might involve adapting the space to enhance functionality without drastic structural changes.

Cincinnati bathroom remodel with freestanding tub by window and tile flooring

One effective strategy is to raise the sill of the window, converting it into a transom window that allows light to enter above head height, ideal for a new shower space. Alternatively, installing a bench seat with built-in storage under the window can transform an underutilized tub area into a functional, attractive bathroom feature. For those who prefer privacy while maintaining natural light, replacing clear glass with frosted or obscured glass blocks offers an elegant compromise. Replacing the oversized tub with a smaller, more compact model or a tub shower combo could be the answer for those not fully ready to part with a bathtub. This allows for expanding the shower area while retaining a tub, ensuring the bathroom remains versatile and appealing to future buyers.

Bathroom in West Chester, OH home remodel with frosted window in walk-in shower

Cost to Remove a Tub and Budget Management

Understanding the average cost of converting a tub to a walk-in shower or removing a bathtub is essential for any bathroom renovation project. The total cost can vary widely depending on factors such as the need to modify plumbing, structural changes, and the quality of materials chosen for the new shower. For example, when remodeling a bathroom to remove a Jacuzzi tub, consulting with professionals who can safely disconnect and reroute necessary utilities is essential. Starting with a clear budget will help guide decision-making and ensure the renovation meets your aesthetic desires and financial constraints.

While the initial expense of converting your bathtub might seem high, especially if window changes are involved, there are several ways to manage costs effectively. Working with a design-build contractor can offer clarity and creative solutions that optimize your budget. For example, if removing the tub is cost-prohibitive, your design-builder may propose less extensive updates like retiling the existing setup or updating fixtures to refresh the space without a full overhaul.Brass bathroom fixtures on sink and walk-in shower door in Cincinnati remodel by Legacy Builders

Innovative Alternatives to Bathtub Removal

If you're considering repurposing an unused bathtub without complete removal, here are some creative options.

  • Convert to Storage Space:
    • Install custom shelving or cabinets within the bathtub's footprint.
    • Use this space to organize linens, toiletries, and other bathroom essentials effectively.
  • Transform into a Seating Area:
    • Install a bench with cushioned seating and storage drawers within your bathtub footprint.
    • Extra storage and seating will create a luxurious dressing area within the bathroom.
  • Convert into a Closet:
    • Utilize the bathtub area for additional bathroom or bedroom storage.
    • Install closet features like hanging rods or built-in shelves for clothes and accessories.

Wondering What to Do With Your Oversized Tub in Cincinnati?

If you're considering remodeling your bathroom and are unsure about removing a large, seldom-used tub, consult with design-build experts who can offer tailored advice and innovative solutions for every quandary. Contact Legacy Builders Group today for a consultation, and let's explore the possibilities together.