Modifying an existing tub with a walkthrough door

pderasOctober 7, 2012

I'm looking for information on how these perform and hold up?

My uncle is 87 and not so steady on his feet as he once was.

Manufacturers seem to be Safeway Safety Step and Easy Step.

Here's a uTube video:

Any info, pros and cons, would be appreciated.

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If you do the Safeway tub door or similar, the con is that you have to wait for all the water to drain out before you can open it and exit the tub. That means whoever is bathing is going to be wet and very cold while waiting for the water to drain.

Is your uncle a bath person or a shower person? If a bath person, I'd weigh the options with a taller walk-in tub as they have a seat in them which would be easier to lower himself onto and off of vs. floor level with a regular tub.

I don't have any personal experience with these type of modifications or whole unit walk in tubs, but the observation above was made by a friend who was looking into this type of tub/tub modification for her DM. It does seem like a viable alternative to a total tear out. Don't forget to install grab bars!

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Thanks for your response.
All definitely valid considerations.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:09PM
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If the issue is just getting in to use the shower, a transfer bench would work well. They allow you to sit on part of the bench outside the tub, then get your legs over the wall, and then scoot over so you are all in the tub and you can then proceed to shower standing or while remaining on the bench like a shower stool. No modifications needed.

There was a thread on here not long ago about those tubs with a door, scroll back a bit or google search and I'm sure you will find it. The OP was actually asking about a lift if I remember right.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Like williamsen, I highly recommend a transfer bench. Start with that. If that solves your uncle's issues, then there you go. In that link there are several versions...static benches, benches that have sliding seats, and benches with swivel/sliding seats.

The bench is an added bonus in that it gives him something to sit on while in the shower.

If his shower is a standard shower head on an arm, consider swapping out his standard shower head for a handheld on a hose that mounts on the existing shower arm, sort of like this..

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Has anyone just done the tub cut thing, no door? This is where you end up with a lower stepover into shower (no longer bathtub). Would appreciate any comments on cost and/or experience with this sort of thing. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:37PM
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southboundtrain-estimated cost for the tub step including install is listed on website linked in OP's initial post.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:16PM
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I've never modified a tub like that.

I will add one other thing...sanitary code usually requires a minimum of one tub in a residential household. Cutting down the wall for the simple "step-over" modification certainly wouldn't be an issue now, but if the house were to be sold sown the road, it might not meet inspection due to the house not having a "by-definition" sanitary tub.

If this was the one and only tub in the house, the door could work in terms of keeping it classified as a tub for code purposes. Though it might scare off families with young children.

Although there are ADA guidelines for drain times for walk-in tubs. You're residential, and ADA doesn't apply to residential. Regardless, if you did go to resell, you'd have to be wary of that as well.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Thanks for your comments mongoct.

I have checked my local building department and other California cities for your statement that "sanitary code usually requires a minimum of one tub in a residential household". All the locales I have checked in California say instead "tub OR shower".

You may be quoting an older version of the code, or code that applies to your state. So many people are changing tubs for showers these days that the code seems to have evolved to suit demand. Or, at least, it has in California.

I should also point out that a typical tub has a 1-1/2" drain line and (here in California) a 2" drain is required for a shower. That would certainly add some unexpected expense to the tub cut-through option.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Thanks for the input and directing me to cost estimate. Had a contractor in yesterday and he had never heard of tub cuts! He did bring up a good question, though, and that was my problem with the walls not being tall enough in shower and water getting on the wallboard above fiberglass surround. Oh, well, it appears I'm headed for removal of perfectly good fiberglass tub/shower and replacement. I kind of feel I've hijacked this thread; my apologies. Oh, this is the second bath, so no worry about tub requirement.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:03PM
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