Shower vs Bathtub Resale Value: Is It Important in 2020, 2021, 2022?

Make no mistake—a bathroom remodel is one of the best investments you can make as a homeowner. 

There are many good reasons to renovate a bathroom. It adds storage space and can improve energy efficiency. You can add more functionality and fix existing problems. 

More importantly, it adds to the resale value of your home. But it could also allow you the possibility of letting your furry cat or dog friends get a good washing.

wet cat in the bathtub

One thing that can significantly impact your home’s resale value is choosing between a shower and a bathtub.

It’s a tough decision to make. We’ve put this article together to help you decide. Let’s go over their respective pros and cons. Read the ultimate throwdown of a shower vs. bathtub resale value in 2019, 2020, 2021, & 2020 proving whether or not it is important.

Best value products

If you are remodeling your bathroom, we spent 20 hours finding THE best options for you to install in your home. They will increase their value no matter whether you’re installing a value or a high-end option shower or tub.

Company
Best value shower
DreamLine
Aston Avalux
Best value tub
American Standard
Woodbridge
Photo
DreamLine Cornerview 34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72 in. H Framed Sliding Shower Enclosure in Chrome, SHEN-8134340-01
Aston Avalux Completely Frameless Shower Enclosure, 42" x 36" x 72", Brushed Stainless Steel
American Standard 2391202.020 Princeton 60 in. x 30 in. Americast Apron-Front Bathtub with Right Hand Drain, White
WOODBRIDGE 71" x 31.5" Water Jetted and Air Bubble Freestanding Bathtub, Whirlpool Tub
Size
34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72
42" x 36" x 72"
60 in. x 30 in
71" x 31"
Professional opinion
Impressive design vs cost
Beautiful shower
Great investment
Beautiful tub for high-end home.
Best value shower
Company
DreamLine
Photo
DreamLine Cornerview 34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72 in. H Framed Sliding Shower Enclosure in Chrome, SHEN-8134340-01
Size
34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72
Professional opinion
Impressive design vs cost
Company
Aston Avalux
Photo
Aston Avalux Completely Frameless Shower Enclosure, 42" x 36" x 72", Brushed Stainless Steel
Size
42" x 36" x 72"
Professional opinion
Beautiful shower
Best value tub
Company
American Standard
Photo
American Standard 2391202.020 Princeton 60 in. x 30 in. Americast Apron-Front Bathtub with Right Hand Drain, White
Size
60 in. x 30 in
Professional opinion
Great investment
Company
Woodbridge
Photo
WOODBRIDGE 71" x 31.5" Water Jetted and Air Bubble Freestanding Bathtub, Whirlpool Tub
Size
71" x 31"
Professional opinion
Beautiful tub for high-end home.

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Advantages of installing a shower

Are you thinking of installing a shower? Here are several good reasons why you should go through with it.

Require less space

Showers take up less space, at least if you’re going with a standard-sized stall. By themselves, they measure nine square feet. On the other hand, a standard tub takes up around 13 square feet. Big difference there!

You guessed it. You’re better off installing a shower if your bathroom is small—especially if you want to make more room for other fixtures. You can even have some wiggle room for a walk-in shower or a double vanity if you like.

Use less water

Are you always worried about your water bill? Then you might want to go with a shower instead. Think about it.

Did you know that using a standard-sized tub consumes between 25 to 40 gallons of water? If you think that’s a lot, wait till you use a whirlpool. It consumes between 80 to 100 gallons. 

You don’t have to worry about losing that amount of water if you’re using this option. According to Home Water Works, the average American consumes 17.2 gallons when showering for 8.2 minutes (the average length). Now go over the figures again and convert them to monthly (or yearly). Done? As you can already tell, the difference is staggering.

Are easier to access

Entering is an effortless thing. You open the door (or curtain). Adjust the heat regulator. Pull on the nozzle, and you’re off to the races. They can also come in with grab bars or non-slip tiles. Include a bench to make them more user-friendly!

On the other hand, stepping into a bathtub requires more physical work. You have to climb in to use and climb out when you’re done. Entering one can also be dangerous for the elderly. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, one-third of the elderly struggle to get in and out of the bath

Offer many features

They offer many features that make bathing more user-friendly. They are also practical and can be luxurious. Steam options, custom wallpapers, & rain showers are just some options. Heck, even small tables. The point is this: They can offer so much more than a bathtub when you get the right additions.

Advantages of installing a bathtub

On the other side of the argument, here are the advantages of the other side.

beautiful tile in two bathrooms

Are cheaper to install

If you’re on a tight budget, you’re probably better off installing a bathtub. While prices vary, a regular option can cost between $500 and $8000. A shower installation can cost you between $600 and $12,000. Of course, materials and design factor into the equation. For example, a walk-in option will typically cost you $6,000 to $7,000. This includes labor and materials. It can reach up to $10,000 if you want one that is custom-tiled. To customize your tiles, you may want to hire a professional.

Have more resale value

They add that “special sauce” that appeals to many homebuyers. There’s increasing interest in feature-heavy, walk-in models. Despite this, many buyers are still likely to want one in their homes. 

That’s not to say that bathrooms without ones are difficult to sell. For starters, homes with smaller bathrooms go better with showers. 

But overall? Potential homeowners are likely to ask, “But is there a one?” and we have to get used to it.

small child in a bathtub

Safer for small children

Stephanie Mallios is a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales rep. She says that most parents want a traditional tub because it’s safer for children.

Better yet, there are many ways for you to babyproof it. You can install a non-slip bath mat made of rubber, for starters. If you’re a parent, chances are you’re worried about that spout sticking out of the wall. Thankfully, you can put a cover on it to protect your little one if she knocks her head against it. You can also prevent your baby from scalding accidents by installing anti-scald faucets. They are also great for pets. If you’re trying to wash your dog or cat, this may be better.

Your kids will love it, and it’s money well spent. Home buyers will love it!

Have more health benefits

Bathtubs offer many health benefits. Studies show that taking a hot bath has health benefits similar to exercise.  Taking a hot bath can also boost your mood and help with cold and flu symptoms. It can even give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off viruses. 

To top it off, nothing beats the feeling of a relaxing bath after a long day. Throw in additives like Epsom salts and ginger, and it turns into a nice experience. Experiment with essential oils and other additives, and you get the perfect recipe for even more soothing baths.

modern bathrooms

3/4 versus Full Bath: What gives you more value?

We briefly discussed how significant bathtubs increase a home’s resale value. Of course, your number of features is a big part of that. 

But before we proceed, let’s get something out of the way. When talking about bathtubs with companies and potential buyers, you may encounter the terms “¾ bath” and “full bath.” The confusing part is that people often mention any of these terms but are referring to the other. 

To avoid any confusion, let’s break down what each one comprises.

shower vs tub

Full Bathroom

A full bathroom comprises four components: a bathtub, a toilet, a shower, and a sink. Without these key items, a room has no right to be called a full bathroom. 

Three-Quarter Bathroom

A ¾ bath comes with three of the previously mentioned components. You have a ¾ bath if your bathroom consists of a toilet, tub, and sink. If you take that same bathroom and replace the tub with a shower, you still have a ¾ bath.

So which one provides more value?

Since a full bathroom is often bigger than a ¾ bath, many think it’s the more expensive one. In reality? Not really. The value of a bathroom depends on so many factors, regardless of whether it’s a full bath or a ¾ bath. Most notably, the preferences of potential buyers. 

Most of the time, it comes down to whether a potential homebuyer prefers one or the other.

How important is it to have a bathtub for resale? Do you need one for resale?

Having a bathtub is extremely important for the sake of your home’s resale value. Consider all the other aspects we cove to maximize your home value. Since adding one helps increase home value, removing a tub would reduce the value. A free-standing tub is especially popular in a master bath, often creating a shower combo.

Outdoor bathroom

Let’s take a deep dive into why most potential homeowners are always looking for a tub when buying a new home.

A home’s resale value is mostly dependent on trends. Over the last few years, oversized walk-in showers have been the rage. Many buyers want to own one in their homes. Most homeowners still view tubs as a required fixture in the home, particularly young families with children. 

So, should you install one for the sole purpose of boosting your home’s resale value? 

Our answer is a resounding yes. A bathtub is necessary for resale. It doesn’t matter whether the year is 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022. The answer is the same. However, you may want to reconsider if your bathroom is small or if you have small children. 

Does replacing a bathtub with a shower decrease your home’s resale value?

Maybe you’re done with your bathtub and want to turn it into a shower instead. But you’re hesitating because you don’t want your home’s resale value to dive. After all, a bathtub adds more to a home’s value than a shower does.

It also begs this question: will you stay in that home long enough to justify replacing it? If you’re staying there for many years, why deprive yourself of the conveniences one can bring you? 

To find out if converting your tub is worth it, you may need to think of it in terms of what it will mean for your ROI. 

You may want to think twice about going through with it if you’re selling the home to parents of small children. Why? Because a bathroom without one is a deal-breaker for most of them. It’s safer to bathe children in a bathtub than in a shower, where they’d be more likely to slip and fall.

woman soaking in a tub

The general rule of thumb is that it’s perfectly fine to replace a tub as long as there’s still one remaining in the house. In most cases, the remaining one can spell the difference between a home that gets sold for a premium and one that doesn’t. It’s a good idea to install a bathtub to increase the resale value of a home. 

Suppose there’s anything that proves that tubs are highly valued without any shadow of a doubt. The survey data compiled by NAHB between 2007 and 2018 states that 70% of millennials prefer whirlpools. For Gen Xers, the number is 62%. Baby boomers hover at 47%, and seniors at 44%.

Always remember this: when you’re selling a home, you’re not just selling a bathtub. You’re selling a lifestyle. 

Steps to Converting a Tub to a Shower

So you’ve decided to convert your bathtub into a shower? Good on you! But before you do, make sure that you know the proper procedures. Converting it into a shower is not easy and involves many mini-projects. Some of the things include plumbing and insulation. However, people often forget about demolition. But if done well, the myriad of benefits you get more than makeup for the time and effort spent on the project.

The easiest way is to install gorgeous prefab options, although we’ll go through the steps for a custom one underneath.

Company
Best value
DreamLine
Runner-up
DreamLine
Best high-end
Aston Avalux
Best design
DreamLine
Photo
DreamLine Cornerview 34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72 in. H Framed Sliding Shower Enclosure in Chrome, SHEN-8134340-01
DreamLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 76 3/4 in. H Center Drain Acrylic Shower Base and QWALL-5 Backwall Kit In White, DL-6195C-01
Aston Avalux Completely Frameless Shower Enclosure, 42" x 36" x 72", Brushed Stainless Steel
DreamLine French Corner 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 74 3/4 in. H Sliding Shower Enclosure in Satin Black and Corner Drain Black Base Kit, DL-6789-09
Size
34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72
32 in. D x 32 in. W x 76 3/4 in
42" x 36" x 72"
D x 36 in. W x 74 3/4 in
Material
Aluminum
Acrylic
Brushed Stainless Steel
Acrylic capped ABS
Professional opinion
Great value shower from a reputable company.
Strong contender, good value
Beautiful, modern option
Impressive, modern design
Best value
Company
DreamLine
Photo
DreamLine Cornerview 34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72 in. H Framed Sliding Shower Enclosure in Chrome, SHEN-8134340-01
Size
34 1/2 in. D x 34 1/2 in. W x 72
Material
Aluminum
Professional opinion
Great value shower from a reputable company.
Runner-up
Company
DreamLine
Photo
DreamLine 32 in. D x 32 in. W x 76 3/4 in. H Center Drain Acrylic Shower Base and QWALL-5 Backwall Kit In White, DL-6195C-01
Size
32 in. D x 32 in. W x 76 3/4 in
Material
Acrylic
Professional opinion
Strong contender, good value
Best high-end
Company
Aston Avalux
Photo
Aston Avalux Completely Frameless Shower Enclosure, 42" x 36" x 72", Brushed Stainless Steel
Size
42" x 36" x 72"
Material
Brushed Stainless Steel
Professional opinion
Beautiful, modern option
Best design
Company
DreamLine
Photo
DreamLine French Corner 36 in. D x 36 in. W x 74 3/4 in. H Sliding Shower Enclosure in Satin Black and Corner Drain Black Base Kit, DL-6789-09
Size
D x 36 in. W x 74 3/4 in
Material
Acrylic capped ABS
Professional opinion
Impressive, modern design

Let’s get to installing a custom option, shall we? Here are the steps to converting a bathtub into a shower.

How to convert a tub to a shower

  1. Decide on the size

    If you’re removing a standard-sized one, replace it with a roughly similar shower. Standard ones are 60 inches long and 30-32 inches wide. This way, you don’t need to modify the wall and the shower pan. If you go with a smaller option, you will have to carry out minor repairs to the walls and the floors. On the bright side, you’re getting more wiggle room in the bathroom as a result.

  2. Get the necessary permits.


    Check with your municipality to ensure that you’re not violating any local laws. The conversion project you’re planning on undertaking could require permits. 

  3. Shut off the water supply.

    Is it connected to a shut-off valve? Make sure you shut it off before pushing through with the project. 

  4. Remove or strip away the surround,

    Remove the tub surround with a pry bar and an oscillating multi-tool. If you’re having difficulties prying it off, give it a little nudge using the pry bar and a hammer. If the surround is made of plastic, it might be glued to a substrate material. You’ll need to strip it off.

  5. Remove the tub,


    You may need to ask for assistance to do this. To remove the tub, you will need to unscrew the wall from the rim. Once it’s unscrewed, ask someone to help you lift one side and tip it over. Set it aside for the meantime.

  6. Fix the studs and flooring.

    Once it is removed, you must repair the studs and flooring exposed underneath. Make sure the joists are in good condition.

  7. Adjust the valves and the showerhead.

    At this point, the water outlet and controls are positioned to service the bathtub. You need to raise both to position them for use. Typically, the valves should be located approximately 47 inches above the floor. The showerhead is right smack dab in the center, 78 inches from the floor.

  8. Install the pan.

    Next, you must install the shower pan. But before you do, you must set up a mortar bed for the pan to stand on. Make sure it is attached securely by screwing its lip tight to the studs.

  9. Install the surround panels.

    It bears noting that you need to install the large back panel first when working with surround panels. Once it’s set up, install the side without the controls before doing the same with the panel on the control side. Drill holes through the controls and showerhead and then attach the last surround panel by nailing studs and caulk along the seams.

  10. Install the door.

    Next, install the door by following the directions provided by the manufacturer.

  11. Install the showerhead and the controls.

    Check to make sure the rough-ins align with the surround panel holes before installing the controls and the showerhead.

  12. Test it.

    Turn the shut-off valve back on and test if it is working.

Steps to Converting a Shower into a Bathtub

Now, what if it’s the other way around? There are many ways to convert a shower into a bathtub, and the type of conversion you want to do will depend on many factors. But to give you some idea about the scope involved, here’s a standard procedure you can follow as you deem fit:

1. Get the area’s dimensions.

The first order of business is to measure the area. You have two approaches to choose from. Either you demolish the area and install a bathtub as a replacement or modify the area to be converted. 

2. Check if it will fit.

A standard tub measures 60 inches (length) x 30 inches (width) x 14 1/4” (height). Now, look at the area’s dimensions. Is it big enough to accommodate standard-sized options? If not, you’ll need to carry out a demolition so that it can fit inside the area for installation. If you don’t want a full demolition, you can choose a smaller model. 

3. Build a wall.

To build the wall, cut a rectangular frame and place support boards every 10 inches along its length. Attach the frame in the front and secure it by drilling long screws to the floor and adjacent walls.

3. Screw the concrete backer board into the wood frame.

4. Tile the new wall.

Install the first tile to the adhesive and put a spacer next to it before installing the next tile. Continue doing this until you get to the other end. Use a cutter if some of the tiles don’t fit. 

5. Apply bullnose tile pieces on the top of the wall using the adhesive.

6. Start grouting.

You can use premixed grout or prepare dry mix grout. Word of caution: make sure you wear safety gear to protect your eyes and skin from grout. The rubber float must be used at a 46-degree angle for the best results. It ensures that the grout is spread smoothly across the tiles and into the gaps.  Wipe away any excess grout by using a sponge.

7. Clean up.

Clean the tile after the grout has hardened. Then apply some water-soluble caulking along the part of the tile that meets the walls and the edge. 

8. Grout it up.

Wait a week before applying grout sealer on the joints and the grout lines. Make sure you get the finishes right.

two tubs

6 Cheap ways to remodel a Bath for resale before selling

So, are you going with a soaking tub? Or is it a shower? Or a good combination of both? Whatever your decision is, it’s worth considering what changes can improve your home’s resale value. Owning a home is a good investment, after all. And if you’re going to make any changes, you need to know what it entails for your home’s ROI.

Without further ado, here are cheap bathroom upgrades that will bode well for your home’s resale value down the line.

two showers side by side

1. Install a new showerhead

If your shower head is old and outdated fashion-wise, you’re not doing your bathroom any favors. You can do many “upgrades” with a showerhead that both homeowners and prospective homeowners will find appealing. For one, current technology allows showers to maximize water flow with minimal water needs.  Some options also have added massage action to help you get rid of those tension aches after a long day. When it comes to these, there’s plenty for everyone. Consider ones with multiple spray settings to embedded Bluetooth speakers, anti-scald technology, or water conservation.

2. Reglaze or Install a New, Prefab Stall

Bathtubs & showers may accumulate chips and cracks over time. If you’re going to sell your home, you better make sure that they look good as new. You can pull this off with the help of a reglazing kit. However, it bears noting that reglazing is only for cosmetic purposes. Call a professional plumbing contractor or a remodeling contractor if you want to restore it fully. You’ll need a mobile home contractor if the bathroom is in a trailer or a camper.

There are a lot of instances where it may not even be worth it to reglaze it. Installing a new shower stall may be better, as that’ll yield better results at the same price.

3. Retiling

If the bathtub is too damaged for reglazing, you can do better than restore it. You can also change the style by retiling everything. There are many styles to choose from. Popular ones include glass and marble. Metal is also popular. Allow yourself to be creative by choosing patterns and designs that showcase your personality.

4. Install a concealed shower valve

A “concealed” shower is the way to go if you want your bathroom to have a streamlined look.  Let’s face it, exposed fittings and pipes aren’t nice to look at. Besides, they give your bathroom a more contemporary look. It will make it look more attractive to prospective homebuyers.

5. Convert yours into a steam shower

Why go to a spa if you have a steam shower right in your own home? Having one isn’t only soothing and pleasant. It also improves blood circulation and relieves muscle tension. Do you want to remove toxins from your body? Yes, it does that as well. Okay, fine. Converting it into a steam shower isn’t exactly cheap. It costs between $2,500 and $6,000. Still, the price people are willing to pay for that added feature will more than compensate for it.

6. Install shower body sprays

Who doesn’t like a good massage? Believe it or not, you can get a soothing massage by installing body sprays in your bathroom. All you need are separate mini-body sprays that can apply water pressure across your entire body. Who needs a masseuse when you have those? Better yet, it will only cost you $500!

This shower vs. bathtub resale value article has hopefully helped shed some light on their importance in 2019 and 2020. We’ve even updated it for 2021 & 2022!

FAQ

Shower conversion is also common during a bathroom renovation. Add your own personal touch by spending a dollar more here and there. Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about showers vs. tubs.

Is it better to have a tub or shower for resale value?


Having at least one tub in the house is considered good for resale value, as stated by the National Association of Realtors. So if you’re thinking of switching up one of the tubs into a shower, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Suppose you’ve only got one tub. It’s best to consider that they are seen as more expensive to acquire and install. It is why their resale value is more than an easily installable shower.


Does having a shower instead of a bathtub devalue a house?


The simplest answer is yes. If you’re thinking of replacing your bathtub with a shower, you should avoid this if you want to keep your resale value up.



Should I replace my bathtub with a walk-in shower?


We would recommend avoiding this at all costs if you only have one bathtub and want to keep the value of your home up. There should be no problem converting just one to a walk-in shower if you’ve got more than one tub in the house. The National Association of Realtors suggests keeping at least one bathtub intact in the house to keep resale values up.