Tub/shower combo or tub and shower stall

aerogurl87February 8, 2014

We are in the process of finding our first home and came across two houses we liked. One has a tub and shower combo in the master bedroom, which is nice and spacious. The other is a separate tub with a shower stall. My only experience with a shower stall has been at a spa. So I'm not sure if I'd like it or not on a day to day basis. On the other hand, I like the ambience of having a separate soaking tub for when I want to take nice bubble baths. So if you had a choice, which would you choose? Also, if you've had experience living with both, which did you like more?

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We had a tub with a separate shower stall in our previous house. We used the tub for the cat's litter box, although I did use the tub once when I had knee surgery (cat box was temporarily removed). That was awful. The shower stall was nice - just large enough for a comfortable, steamy shower.

In the house we just finished building, we skipped the tub in the master bathroom entirely and just put in a largish walk in shower. Of course, neither of us likes baths; it sounds like you spend a lot of time taking bubble baths, so you'll probably want *want* some type of tub configuration.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:29PM
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My house is 16 years old - when the tubs were huge and the showers too small. I guess the big garden tub meant that you had "arrived". After living in apartments for 10 years I thought it was going to be great. Boy was I wrong. The problem was that the shower is too small 36 x 36 and the tub is too big 72 x 42.You can't stand back far enough from the shower head to rinse off your lower body. You can't lean back in the tub without sliding down until you are almost flat on your back - plus the tub is too big for the water heater and the builder installed a slow fill regular bathtub/shower valve instead of a high flow roman faucet. I'm a shower person in the morning and a bath person at night. I must have a deep soaking tub somewhere in the house.

So with that said. If the separate shower is too small don't do it. A separate shower is not worth it if it is uncomfortable. If the shower is large enough, then go for separate fixtures. But if you like the house that has the tub/shower then don't let that keep you from making a decision. If you had a perfect choice, select a nice sized shower and a comfortable deep soaker that does not use too much water - with a roman faucet of course. Always stand and sit in your fixtures to try them out for size before buying - just like furniture.

Let me continue with my bath. My shower has been leaking and I need to replace it. I am going to get a smaller tub too. The limiting factors are the huge 60 x 60 window above the bathtub that prevents me from expanding the shower on that side and the master bedroom on the other side. So the only thing I can do is expand the shower outward. But I end up with a long narrow shower with the same short distance from the shower head. SOOOOO, I have been thinking about installing a new 60 x 42 bathtub with a tile flange, build a 1 foot ledge on the back, doing super waterproofing around the huge window and turning the bath into a super duper tub/shower. I do not want to spend a lot of money on remodeling, such as a smaller window or moving plumbing - this house and this neighborhood do not warrant that. The retirees are not remodeling and the young folks don't want to spend money on remodeling and just move to newer and/or larger houses. Houses in my starter house section of the subdivision sell very quickly to young families even with the 36 x 36 showers. I plan to stay in this house indefinitely, so I am fine with a tub/shower. Probably because I'm a tub person. Shower people tend to not want to deal with stepping over and into a tub to take a shower.

In the suburbs, you tend to find separate showers and bathtubs in the master baths. The trend now is larger showers and smaller tubs than 15 years ago. Remodels are doing the same or even eliminating the tub. Condos and apartments in downtown large cities many times have tub/shower's with tubs that are large soakers and even whirlpools.

Traditional Bathroom by Newport Beach General Contractors Patterson Custom Homes

Contemporary Bathroom by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Toronto Interior Design Group : Yanic Simard

Contemporary Bathroom by Seattle Architects & Designers FabCab

Traditional Bathroom by Boca Raton Kitchen & Bath Designers Wyman Builders, Inc.

Modern Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Designers John Lum Architecture, Inc. AIA

Contemporary Bathroom by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Toronto Interior Design Group : Yanic Simard

Traditional Bathroom by Charleston General Contractors Cinder Creek Construction

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 11:02

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:16AM
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We have a 10 year old house with a Jacuzzi soaking tub in the master bath, and a walk-in shower that is about 4' X 6'. I estimate we have used the tub about 3 times since we bought the house. For resale value, it's probably important that we have the tub, but otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. I am glad that the tower is roomy and separate, and happy that we don't have a tub/shower combo as it would restrict the amount of room to take a shower in.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:16AM
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My choice would be a separate soaking tub and a shower stall, so long as the shower stall was roomy. If it's a choice between a tiny shower stall and a soaking tub, I'd go for the shower/tub combo, which is what I have in both my bathrooms, and use a curtain, with a liner, rather than glass doors, which require constant maintenance and are expensive, including to repair if needed, and use a curved shower rod, which adds amazing room to a shower/tub combo.

Other nice thing about curtains v. glass doors is that, when the liner gets gross, you just toss it, and for $5, put up a new one. and there are some beautiful shower curtains out there now. Mine is just a simple, off-white linen curtain I got at the Restoration Hardware Outlet. I love it. It hangs so beautifully because of it being linen, and it makes the bathroom look and feel very spa-ish.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 11:37

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 8:47AM
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Tibbrix, thanks for the info on the glass doors. They sure are expensive. I have only dealt with a single shower door and have no experience with large enclosures (and I have hard water) or dealing with sliding track systems. You have helped me make my decision of going with a shower curtain. I have read that the glass shower screens don't really work that well unless they cover a good portion of the tub, and then you might as well get a total enclosure. Also, I don't think I want to take a bath with a glass enclosure - it is too confining.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:57AM
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You will love, love, love the curved curtain rod. It's one of those things that, now that they're out there, you will never go back to the straight kind, and you'll wonder why these weren't always around! It's shocking the difference they make. You wouldn't think so, but they do. Great invention.
Anything on a track is a really bad idea. They are impossible to clean and get totally gross.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 11:39

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:36AM
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We have tub/shower combos in our two main bathrooms (we added a shower stall to the guest bathroom which was previously a half bath, with toilet and sink only).

Our bathrooms are small. MB tiny. Prior to the reno, the MB had a shower stall, but I wanted the tub/shower combo. On those (once in a great while) occasions that I do want to soak, I prefer doing so in "my" bathroom (all my "stuff" is in there!).

We installed curved shower rods with our tub/shower combos, too--love them! Had to hang the one in the MB further in than we might have liked--did I mention that bathroom is tiny(!)? LOL But, it still does a good job helping the tub space feel open and spacious while showering.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Anyone looking to get rid of their 72" x 42" tub, please send it my way! I'd love a tub that roomy. I'm glad anyway that so many others here don't find shower curtains déclassé. So much of the discussion here seems to be of glass block vs. clear frameless doors vs. open showers, with plain ol' curtains not even considered. They're inexpensive, get the job done well, and can be stylish and easily changed for a new look.

For a larger tub, you'll want to be sure you have ample heated water available, fast drain plumbing (particularly if you have a walk-in tubs that have become popular), and high water pressure to fill a deep tub quickly. These are yet three more great reasons not to bathe alone - a second body goes a long way toward displacing tub volume that would have gone towards excess hot water, the time it takes to pour, and the energy it would have taken to heat up. Not to mention you'll have someone to talk to and rub your back.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 1:39PM
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@ Lee676, LOL, "you're just doing it to save the enviroment"! Love your reasoning!

To the OP, you sound like you're young. So, stepping into a bathtub to have a shower shouldn't be an issue/problem for you. But, if you've never tried the shower stall experience, you may not know what you're missing. Depends on how small that stall is. Like Anna suggested, I would wear comfortable clothing if you revisit those houses, and climb in and see how much room there is. Definitely turn on taps. I have excellent water pressure, and would be SO disappointed if I bought a house and then had to deal with poor water pressure and or having to wait several minutes for a bath to fill up. Someone here says it takes 20 minutes for her tub to fill!

And it goes without saying, there will be lots of other features in the houses to base your decision on. But I wouldn't not buy a house just because it has a shower stall, most people end up preferring them. (But having said that, my sister just redid her Master Bath and DIDN'T make the shower bigger cuz her husband likes having a bath every morning...go figure...LOL)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Definitely shower stall and separate tub. I find tub/shower combinations neither here nor there. The tub is usually too short and low, and the shower is a hassle with shower curtains, trying to make sure that the water stays inside the tub. I need to look into curved shower rods....

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:21PM
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If you use a shower liner, you should have no problem with it staying inside the tub, even with an arched curtain rod. Then on the outside, have the curtain.

I just ordered these curtain hooks I found, so the liner can go on the inside hook, the curtain on the outside hook, but the design is such that it also won't come off the curtain rod. This is the only double hook hook I've found that won't come off the rod. I wish they came in stainless steel, bronze, etc. I ordered the clear, much as I loathe plastic. But these will make changing the liner, when necessary, or washing the curtain, so much easier than having to unclip every hook, take both the curtain and liner off, then put both back on and re-clip each hook.

Hmmm…maybe I should put these on my new "Favorite Finds" thread! Probably should wait 'til they get here and try them out!

Here is a link that might be useful: double hook hooks that won't fall off.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 15:19

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 3:15PM
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I think that it boils down to personal preference. And you have to take things in context. If I were to remodel a tub/shower combo in my master like I am thinking then I am going to really plan it out. Of course the tub will have to fit me. My current tub is set 5 inches down in the foundation and I won't change that. The safest way to get into it is to sit on the deck, swivel around and make sure you stand up straight in the tub. Reverse for getting out. I need a soaking tub for my arthritis so I will be doing this anyway. Now that I think about it, a glass enclosure will get in the way of the deck so I will need to install a shower curtain. Of course I will select a tub that will meet my soaking needs plus get me close to the shower head plus give me standing room. I am also thinking about building corners into the tub walls at the opening to keep the water from escaping from the sides of the curtain. I will install both a fast fill tub faucet and a shower head and a handshower. Several well thought out niches. So I think that you have to look at things in context. I don't think I will be able to compare this to the 60 x 30 builder tub/shower in my guest room. This is not an aging in place design, but I am currently thinking about remodeling my second bathroom for that purpose. I know what my father prefers and his super duper handicap bathroom is too large and uncomfortable for him. Bathroom designs and decisions are very personal.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Thank you for the feedback everyone. Bathrooms aren't everything in a house, but the shower stall in the one home is just that. A small stall with enough room to raise your hands up over your head and turn around in. I think I might be claustrophobic if I had to shower like that everyday before work. With that said, I did really want the separate tub, but I think I'll compromise and go with the tub/shower combo if it means more space to shower. The tub is a good size after all, and it is a soaking tub. So I can't complain. Also, after looking at the pictures posted by Anna_in_Texas, I think I could make it work.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 5:02AM
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I know I probably went overboard, but I have been searching Houzz for shower/tub combos for myself if I decide to go in that direction. Most of these pictures have Master Bath titles - they tend to be small houses or apartments in large cities where space is an issue. They all have a generous sized tub. A few have extra shower bling and even a separate tub filler. All of them have material choices and the level of tile work that you see in a master bathroom.

I'm sure that if I searched Houzz I could find just as many, or even more, remodels of small master baths where they have just built a walk in shower. I think the decision to do a shower/tub may be a personal choice because they want a soaking tub - since they are titled Master I'm assuming the bath is not the only bath in the house and they could easily just go with a shower.

Contemporary Bathroom by Aurora General Contractors Heritage Home Improvement

Transitional Bathroom by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Tamara Mack Design

Rustic Bathroom by Portland Architects & Designers Howells Architecture + Design, LLC

Traditional Bathroom by Charlotte Architects & Designers Don Duffy Architecture

Traditional Bathroom by Lake Jackson Kitchen & Bath Remodelers JC Remodeling & Restoration, LLC

Contemporary Bathroom by Nanaimo Tile, Stone & Countertops City Tile

Contemporary Bathroom by New York General Contractors Rusk Renovation

Traditional Bathroom by Canton Architects & Designers Studio Z Architecture

Contemporary Bathroom by Culver City Interior Designers & Decorators Erica Islas / EMI Interior Design, Inc.

Traditional Bathroom by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Nathan Cuttle Design

Contemporary Bathroom by New York Photographers Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

Traditional Bathroom by New York Architects & Designers Incorporated

Transitional Bathroom by New York Architects & Designers John M Reimnitz Architect PC

Mediterranean Bathroom

Traditional Bathroom by New York Design-Build Firms DELUXE Design & Construction

Eclectic Bathroom by Austin General Contractors Greenbelt Construction

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 6:40

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:12AM
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I have a curtain liner but was referring to keeping the water from getting out through that gap between the curtain and the wall on the shower head side. At least it took quite a while to teach our kids to make sure to make sure little water comes out or if it does to wipe it up.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 3:18PM
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