Bathtubs. They come jetted, stand-alone, claw-footed, and built in. Back in the ‘50s families used them once a week whether they needed to not (ew), and showers were considered less common, relegated to a tiny corner of a bathroom or contained within huge shower curtains that made a mess of the bathroom when you were done. Over the years, many homeowners found they no longer had the luxury of time to sit and soak, favoring shower heads over faucets, and suddenly showers began to grow into the behemoth two-headed luxury creatures they are today. But are bathtubs going the way of the dodo? Not any time soon, according to design and real estate experts.
An article by realtor.com's Barbara Billinger examines the evolution of the bathtub, saying “They fell out of favor as many homeowners found they just didn’t use them as much as they expected to. Other users were frustrated by the time deeper tubs took to fill. Some tubs even posed health concerns due to piping that was tough to keep clean.”
While the run-of-the-mill rectangular tub never really disappeared from floorplans, it was soon replaced by the deluxe shower, big enough for two, crowned with rainfall heads to offer a spa experience. For the aging boomer population, the walk-in tub market gained in popularity. But selling a home with this type of tub screams old age to younger homebuyers. For real estate pros showing a listing with such a tub to younger buyers, it can be labeled as a step-in spa, but most know the reasoning behind the design.
In the article, Ballinger cites experts’ tracking of 30 housing markets throughout the country where at least one bathtub is considered a must. It now falls into the “amenities” category, such as having an upstairs laundry or a mudroom, making a house appeal to the widest audience possible.
Designers agree that many of their clients want at least one tub or a tub-shower combination in the house, even if it doesn’t appear in the master bathroom. Why? Studies show a full 38% of U.S. residents still soak weekly, half of them being men. Bathtubs are most favored by two specific homeowner groups: young families with small children and luxury homeowners whose dwellings usually have multiple bathrooms.
“The luxury home market—much thanks to high expectations of master bathrooms inspired by hotels and resorts—is obviously pricier,” says Ballinger. “Plumbing manufacturers have been trying to rev up interest in the high-end niche by introducing hip, sculptural variations on Victorian-era claw-foot tubs, which are designed to suggest long, leisurely soaks.” These newer models vary in shape from rectangular to oval, egg, and slipper, and are fabricated from more modern materials than the traditional porcelain. These materials include acrylic, resin-stone composites, concrete, stainless steel, and even copper, which retains heat well.
According to remodelers, the cost to remove tubs can cost more than installing one if a lot of tile and floor repair needs to be done. “Of course, homes without bathtubs are not impossible to sell,” says Ballinger. “Some bathrooms are just too small, and the shower wins out as the better option.”
Next Page Realty