How difficult is it it regularly shower in a soaking tub?
May 30, 2020 1:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm renovating a small bathroom (5x7 now; we are adding some space from a closet but will still be small). I'd like a soaking tub, but it'll be hard to fit a soaking tub AND a shower. How uncomfortable is it to regularly shower in a tall soaking tub (say with a 24-30 inch wall rather than a regular tub/shower that is more like 14 inches high)? Something like this is what I'm envisioning; possibly a slightly taller tub.

Mobility is not a concern (and I would swap it for a shower if it ever is), but I could install handrails just for ease of access. I'm looking at both round and oblong soaking tubs with a little seat.
posted by acidic to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's not uncomfortable at all. My sister has one, we're both short people with short legs and getting in and out is no problem.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:45 PM on May 30, 2020

I lived with one for a few years about 20 years ago. The biggest issue I had was the shower curtain sucking in due to the convection/drafts. I'm sure this now easily solved with the greater variety or curtains available.
posted by srboisvert at 1:46 PM on May 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don't have a soaking tub but I do have an ancient, deep clawfoot tub that presents similar problems. It's not difficult at all if no one was mobility issues.

Really, the most annoying thing is that there are no shelves inside the shower curtain, since the shower curtain goes all the way around the inside of the tub. So I have to bring my shampoos and soaps into the shower with me. They make shower curtain liners with pockets, though. Just haven't tried to find one in the right size yet, so that shows you how much of a "problem" this really is...
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:52 PM on May 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

How high is your ceiling or, conversely, can you go partially through your floor? Our tub is somewhat sunken into the floor and then supported with a steel cradle. It steals a little height from our front hall, but that just makes moving into the great room, which has a 25 foot ceiling, more dramatic. Anyway, we put a teak cover, made to fit, over the tub and when we shower that's what we stand on. The water falls through the teak and goes down the tub drain. When we want to use the tub, we winch up the cover and use the tub, which has a separate set of temperature controls and its own spigot. Sometimes you want to use the tub and discover it needs cleaning, but that's the only drawback.

The surround is built so there doesn't need to be a shower door. You can see pictures in this flickr album.
posted by carmicha at 2:28 PM on May 30, 2020 [9 favorites]

i stayed a few weeks in a place with a deep clawfoot tub. the shower apparatus was installed in the middle of the tub (like in your photo), which made moving around difficult, as you had to stand directly under the rainfall showerhead in the narrow center of the tub. the tub had sloping sides, which made for little room for your feet. i thought a showerhead at one end of the tub would be better, and one that can be angled so that you can take advantage of the room offered by the length of the tub. i need glasses and struggled with finding a nearby, dry place to keep my glasses in easy reach. lastly, as mentioned above, the shower curtain sucking in and sticking to me was a problem. these are all issues that can be easily solved, but wanted to give you some food for thought.
posted by smokyjoe at 2:30 PM on May 30, 2020

Like others have said, the time I subletted a place that had a deep tub with a curtain all around, it was actually kind of inconvenient (no shelves, nothing to hold on to) and it felt gross when the wet shower curtain would suck in and cling to you.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:37 PM on May 30, 2020

I've also seen designs where the tub and shower are behind a glass wall and there's just a drain in the floor. Usually called a "wet room".
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:51 PM on May 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

Another option might be tubs that are designed for people with mobility issues, with actual doors in the side of the tub. They're called "walk-ins" if you want to google. I have no idea how well they work, or if leaking is an issue. Most that I've seen have a built-in seat, but as a person who sits down to shower because of mobility issues, I wouldn't be too bothered by that. The aesthetics seem to be less fancy than the tub you linked to, so it may not meet your needs in that way.

Now that I am disabled, I really get that it can happen to anybody, any time. If it's possible for you to get a tub to soak in that doesn't require clambering over an unusually tall side, you maybe should go for it, especially if you plan to be in the house for a long time.
posted by Orlop at 4:03 PM on May 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

as others have mentioned, you have to really weigh down the bottom of the curtain to keep it from flapping wetly against you CONSTANTLY, it's extremely annoying and clammy and awful. other than that, the main concern is if anyone in your home ends up with a mobility or balance issue that would make getting in or out difficult. you can put shelving on a nearby wall if one is close enough, as in the example photo you provided, which will be a big help also in case of future mobility issues with the installation of railings, but it will never be truly accessible.

it will definitely be a big bonus if there's also a detachable handheld shower that can be used while sitting down.

also everybody in this question is about to show up at carmicha's house with their towel and scrubby brush
posted by poffin boffin at 4:07 PM on May 30, 2020 [7 favorites]

You can get a shower rack that works with an enclosed tub. They work on compression of springs and I see no reason why you couldn't put one on the corner of the tub (probably at the back) and have some shelves for bath things. Or a caddy hung from the shower head. If the tub is metallic, magnets on the curtains eliminates the sucking in curtain thing..

It depends on mobility and whether or not you want that picture perfect look vs a soaking tub and shower.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:16 PM on May 30, 2020

You say mobility is not an issue, but it can become one pretty quickly - all you have to do is trip and sprain your ankle. Spending a little more to get something with access and handrails is totally with it, even just for cleaning purposes.
posted by epanalepsis at 4:23 PM on May 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

Another former claw foot tub showerer and I haaated it for all the reasons mentioned above. In fact now I hate all shower/tub combos and my ideal is a walk in shower room (sigh). Anyway, I had my shower stuff in one of those 3 tier metal mesh vegetable baskets (something like this, but mine had straight sides). I took the bottom one off because it made it too bulky but the upper two baskets hung from the curtain rod inside the shower. If I ever feel like taking a bath again, I'm thinking about one of those inflatable soaking tubs. Might work, might be disastrous, who knows.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:33 PM on May 30, 2020

I used to have an apartment with an old, 1920s clawfoot tub with a showerhead over one end and curtains all the way around, and it was... fine. Like everyone on this thread has said, the curtains flapped around and were annoying, and since there was no place to put my soap/shampoo/etc, I ultimately ended up buying a tub tray and sticking it at one end of the tub. It worked fine, but the whole setup was hard to clean. I think having the showerhead in the middle would be worse.

Instead I'd recommend something like what I have now - a soaking tub with a showerhead over it more like this. It's basically a normal tub with a showerhead over it but it's extra deep and has a slant on one end that makes it comfortable to sit in. It's much easier to shower in and more pleasant to soak in as well. There's also shelf sunk into the wall to hold my shower things, which is fantastic if you go this route.
posted by A Blue Moon at 5:41 PM on May 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have an old claw foot tub / shower, and I find it works great!

I have no curtain-sucking-in problem, perhaps because - and this is key in general I think - a friend made me a curtain rail that is a foot or so wider than the tub on all sides (I believe you can buy these pre-made as well). Before we installed the wider rail the curtain was uncomfortably close, now it is excellently spacious inside. The curtain simply tapers down into the tub from above - it looks fine and doesn’t take up much extra room at all.

The other thing that makes the arrangement work is this set of hanging shower baskets. They hang off the curtain rail really well. Lastly, we have a little shelf at tub height between the tub and wall - this helps too, as a flat surface just outside the tub for whatever wouldn’t work well in the basket (e.g. glasses).

These things together solve for the tub/shower nicely - I have no complaints about it whatsoever (and I really like the feel of the standing tub in general).
posted by marlys at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

I agree with marlys up above - in a rental with a deep claw-foot tub I helped the landlord replace a tiny hoop-shaped shower curtain rod with a larger D-shaped curtain rod that attached to the wall next to the tub. Turns out D shape is the term to find these.
posted by sol at 6:03 AM on May 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm late to this, but for future reference I just wanted to share what I learned about those walk-in soaking tubs when I was getting my mom settled into her facility, which has a few of them. I mentioned that I would love to have a soaking tub like that, and the woman showing me around told me about the drawbacks I had not considered: to use it, you have to walk in, sit down, and wait for the tub to fill. Then when you're done bathing, you have to sit there and wait for the damn thing to drain before you can get out. It's not the most pleasant experience to sit there naked while it fills, then naked and wet while it drains. She told me most of the residents preferred walk-in (or roll-in) showers with a shower stool if it was difficult for them to stand.
posted by caryatid at 7:51 PM on June 9, 2020

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