Is replacing your bathtub with a walk-in shower worth the investment?


If you’ve ever tuned in to a home improvement show and gotten inspired to completely rip out your bathtub and replace it with a spacious walk-in shower, you wouldn’t be alone.

“It’s a very popular remodeling project right now,” American Home Builders spokesperson Adam Fielden told Knox News. “We’ve seen a lot of folks wanting to make changes (to tubs and showers) for a lot of different reasons.”

More than a quarter of homeowners (26%) are removing tubs during bathroom renovations, according to a 2023 Houzz bathroom trends study. Most people (77%) are enlarging their shower space, and one in five people report that their new shower is at least 50% bigger than a previous one.

“We probably do 20 walk-in showers to every one tub,” Scott Swain, co-owner of Modern Bath, told Knox News.

The no-tub trend began around 2019, as homeowners and property flippers opted for larger, luxe showers to upgrade bathrooms with a modern look. Even hotels, which used to have those fun jacuzzi tubs, have started phasing out bathtubs in favor of walk-in showers, including Dolly Parton’s latest resort in Pigeon Forge, HeartSong Lodge.

Why are showers replacing bathtubs?

The demand for walk-in showers in the East Tennessee area has been consistently high for a little more than five years, according to Fielden and Swain.

Homeowners are using bathtubs less and wanting a fresh look and style when remodeling. They feel these showers are convenient and provide additional safety.

“I think it’s easier just to jump in the shower real quick and jump out,” Fielden said.

“Some folks do it out of necessity because they need something easier to get in and out of as opposed to like a bathtub. They’ll go to a walk-in shower with a seat in there, a grab bar. It just makes life easier,” Fielden added.

Spacious walk-in showers often include multiple handlebars to grip, and some can be equipped with seats. Showers with acrylic walls instead of tile also are easier to clean because the material is mildew- and mold-resistant.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a customer who didn’t love it,” Swain said.

Younger and older homeowners are fueling the trend. Showers with a threshold less than three inches are easily accessible, especially for older people, and younger owners and buyers also appreciate the updated remodels.

Fielden said American Home Builders gets some inquiries regarding walk-in bathtubs, as well. And the traditional tub-shower combos with tile haven’t completely gone out of style yet, he added.

Is the no-tub trend worth the money?

Prospective buyers are attracted to homes with updated kitchens and bathrooms. But curb appeal projects like HVAC electrification, stone veneer siding and new windows have higher investment returns, according to the 2023 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling.

A midrange-budget bath remodel with an average price tag of $24,606 will yield a return-on-investment of 66.7%, according to the report. The ROI drops to only 36.7% for more ambitious and expensive projects.

Converting a tub to a shower can range in cost from $1,200 to $8,000, with walk-in shower installations upwards $15,000, according to Architectural Digest.

A quarter of homeowners (24%) report having no bathtub prior to a renovation, the 2023 Houzz bathroom trend report found. But does suggest keeping at least one tub in the home.

Devarrick Turner is a trending news reporter. Email [email protected]. On X, formerly known as Twitter @dturner1208. 

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