May 312010
 

If you want the benefits of both a tub and a shower in the same floor space, a tub and shower combination unit may be your solution. With both a tub and shower unit, you get the best of both worlds.

For example, when you feel like soaking away the stress of the day by surrounding yourself with hot water, fill up the tub and relax. If it’s the morning and you’re rushing to get ready for work, hop in the same space, turn on the showerhead and take a quick shower.

If the space saving and convenience benefits appeal to you, here are some things to think about when considering a combination tub and shower.

There are three primary types of tub shower combination units:

  • Ceramic
  • One piece
  • Sectional

Traditional Ceramic

Traditionally, a tub shower combination can be created by building a ceramic tile shower enclosure around an existing tub. The ceramic tile forms three walls of the shower. An opening for a showerhead is built into one of the walls. The original tub sits below the ceramic tiled walls.

Ceramic tile requires ongoing maintenance and care to prevent mildew and leaks but provides the most traditional look.

One piece combination units

As the name implies, a one piece tub and shower combination unit includes either all three walls that surround the tub or all three walls and the tub. Fixtures are usually part of the combination including the tub faucets and showerhead. Ledges for holding soap and shampoo may also be built into the unit.

The one piece units are made of acrylic or fiberglass and tend to be heavier and bulkier than the traditional ceramic combination units.

Because of its size, you must measure to be sure the unit will fit through the doorway in an existing bathroom. For new construction, you can build in the one piece combination unit, then build your bathroom around it.

Sectional combination units

To address the size issue, a third type of tub shower combination unit is available. This unit comes in sections that can be put together inside the bathroom. The tub is one piece that is usually placed in first. It can be acrylic, fiberglass, or even porcelain. The walls, made of acrylic or fiberglass, are then placed around the tub. As with the one piece combination, fixtures are usually part of the wall pieces.

This type unit provides the benefits of the combination unit while getting around the problem of weight and size.

Sizes

Bathtub shower combinations offer size options depending on the available space in your bathroom. The standard option is a regular sized tub, which is five feet long. But if space is an issue, units are available in smaller sizes, such as a four foot tub. There are also units built to fit into a corner to which you can add a built-in shower seat.

Frames

For the above described options, we’ve been talking about three-sided combination units. But frames are available that can rest on the tub. You can install sliding glass doors inside the frame to provide a fourth wall so water from the showerhead doesn’t get all over the floor.

Depending on the type of glass used, the glass doors can also provide visual privacy when you’re sitting in the tub.

Many finishes are available for these framed enclosures with brushed nickel and chrome being two of the most popular.

Clawfoot tub shower combination

Some people, who prefer a vintage look for their bathrooms, install a clawfoot tub as part of their décor. But here too, combination kits are available that allow users to add a vertical showerhead riser and shower curtain ring above the clawfoot tub. This gives you the option of taking an old-fashioned soak in your tub or standing in the tub for a standard shower.

Summary

If you can’t decide between a tub or a shower, a tub shower combination lets you have the best of both worlds. You can either sit in the bathtub or stand in the shower while saving space at the same time.