In the late 80s and the 1990s many homes were designed and built with a large master bathroom that included an oversized garden tub (also called whirlpool tubs, Jacuzzis, soaking tubs, or corner tubs). At the time, these tubs were highly sought after and were expected in any well-designed new home or remodel.
Well, it appears the tide has turned. Our lifestyles have changed.
The most common question I get about master bath remodels is: “Can I get rid of this huge tub? It hardly ever gets used and my shower is so small!” The simple answer is yes, but there are some important factors to consider.
Are you remodeling in order to sell the home? If you are considering removing the tub and plan to put in a larger shower with the sole purpose of resale you should reconsider your plans. While a spacious and grand shower may be very desirable to a potential buyer in the short term you will not likely recoup the cost of the work. Instead, consider leaving the tub and sprucing things up with new tile and hardware for a fraction of the cost.
Do you have another tub in the home? If you have another bathtub in the house then removing the larger garden tub is certainly a viable option for consideration. We have found that about 8 out of 10 people considering a master bathroom remodel do not use their tubs and desire a spacious and beautiful shower area in lieu of a having a tub. But, it’s a good idea to have at least one tub.
How is the tub situated in the bathroom? Does it have one or two large windows over it? While we believe that in most cases removing a master bathroom tub is the preferred option, we also understand that the overall design is an important factor in the decision. Often there are one or two large windows over the tub. Removing the windows can be expensive and a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible. Most often we design the new space around the existing windows. Here is a short list of solutions we have used:
- Raise the sill of the window and replace it with a transom window so it’s above shoulder or head height in the new shower and still allows light to enter the room.
- Create a bench seat with cabinets and storage underneath the large window.
- Replace the existing window with obscure glass block.
- Replace the large tub with a much smaller tub that still allows for the expansion of the shower.
Check out our Facebook page for some pictures of these options.
What is the overall budget for the bathroom renovation? Removing the tub and increasing the shower size is not an inexpensive renovation especially if there is a window change involved. Starting with the overall budget for the project can help determine the best direction for you. Even if cost is a deterrent to removing the tub, there are always creative ways to improve your space. Working with a design-build contractor will help to bring clarity to your remodeling plans.
Fact or Fiction: “I’m stuck with this huge tub I never use!” FICTION! It certainly is a viable and, often, highly desirable option.