Doors may not be the first thing you think about when shopping for a walk-in bathtub, but perhaps they should be. There’s a fair amount of door features to look out for and a number of problems that can arise if you don’t make the right choice. If you want to make your bathroom as safe and accessible as possible, pay close attention to the doors on each model you consider. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to look out for in a walk-in tub door.
Are Tub Doors Really That Complicated?
A walk-in tub door has two main jobs. Most importantly, it opens and closes so the bather can get in and out, easily and safely. But in order to do this, the door has to be a size and shape that fits in your bathroom without knocking into counters, toilets, or anything else when it opens. Depending on the user, it might also need to be fully wheelchair accessible.
Then of course, it has to hold water in the tub. And to do this, it needs to have a proper latching system and a trustworthy seal.
From here, you can start to see how things could go wrong if you don’t choose the right tub door for you.
Common problems that can arise if you choose a model with a door that doesn’t work for you:
- The door may not be able to fully open if it hits other objects in your bathroom
- The bather could have trouble closing the door once they’re inside the tub if space is tight
- The door might not be compatible with wheelchair use
- Some doors were designed to last, some were not; find a door that won’t leak
- If the door does leak, repairs can be costly without a warranty
- The door latch could be cumbersome to operate from inside the tub
Door Features to Consider
Door Swing Direction
Walk-in tub doors can swing inwards or outwards. The first models of walk-in tubs had inward-swinging doors because that’s the design that makes the most sense from a physics perspective.
Imagine being inside a walk-in tub and watching it fill with water. As it fills, the pressure of the water pushes on the door and, since this one opens inwards, it pushes the door more tightly closed.
The next logical scenario is identical, however the door opens outwards to make it even easier for the bather to get in; you would think that the pressure of the bath water would push the door open, spilling a wave of water all over your bathroom—but that doesn’t happen.
At Safety Bath, we designed one of the first outward-swinging doors that changed the industry. With our auto-locking mechanism and leak-proof design, you don’t have to worry about leaks, repairs, or replacement costs. We believe in our product so strongly we offer a limited lifetime warranty.
To help you decide on an inward- or outward-swinging door style, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of each below.
The Pros and Cons of Inward-Swinging Doors
|They save space in the bathroom since it’s impossible to hit the counter or other objects with the door.||The door can be awkward to close once the bather is inside. They will have to push their legs to the side to make room for the door.|
|They make it easy for the bather to get in an out.||Not as accessible for people who use wheelchairs.|
The Pros and Cons of Outward-Swinging Doors
|They make it even easier for the bather to get in and out when compared to an inward-swinging door.||They take up more space and may not fit around other objects in the bathroom.|
|They’re wheelchair accessible.||They tend to bring the price of a tub up|
|There’s no need to push your legs to the side when closing the door in preparation for a bath.|
Door Shapes & Sizes
If an outward-swinging door is a necessity for you but you have a small bathroom with lots of obstacles, there are a few work-arounds.
First, take precise measurements of the location of objects around your tub. If you’d like help figuring this step out, we encourage you to contact one of our Safety Bath dealers near you for advice and guidance.
Pay attention to the shapes of doors when browsing through our models; some doors were designed to fit around toilets and some doors are narrower than others.
People who use walk-in tubs often lack a degree of mobility that others may take for granted; because of this, they may need assistance getting in and out of a traditional bath.
On most of our models with outward-swinging doors, you’ll notice that the door extends over the seat of the tub. It’s designed this way so the user can open the door, sit down, then swing their legs inside and close the door. With other models, the user can’t sit down right away because they have to walk in first, then sit down.
Having the seat accessible from the outside is particularly useful for people who use wheelchairs because it makes it easier for them to get into the tub from their chair without assistance. It gives them back a feeling of independence that may have been lost as they recieve help with various daily tasks. Having said this, everyone’s situation is different and we can’t guarantee that a user will be able to get in and out on their own, but having the right set up certainly helps.
If you’re shopping for a walk-in tub for someone who uses a wheelchair, we recommend a tub with an outward-swinging door for increased accessibility.
We can’t talk about walk-in tub doors without mentioning the Conversion Kit. It’s a DIY product that lets you (or a handy friend, family member, or professional) install a door on the bathtub you already have.
A conversion kit is an excellent choice for people who don’t want a costly renovation in their bathroom but still want to make getting in and out of the bath easier. It’s an affordable and safe solution for many homeowners.
The Best Choice For Your Bathroom
All things considered, the walk-in tub that’s best for you will be the one with a door that fits in your space and fills your accessibility needs. Make sure you figure out your measurements and preferred seat placement so you can narrow down your options when you’re shopping for your new tub.
We have many dealers across Canada and the US, check our map to find a dealer near you who can show you our walk-in tubs in person.