Small Bathroom Remodeling: Shower vs. Bathtub?

Bathroom remodels are something that many homeowners put right at the top of their list. The bathroom is a space where most people start their day, where children learn about personal hygiene, and where anyone should have the chance to relax. When initiating a small bathroom remodeling service, one of the biggest questions is whether it's right to choose a shower or a bathtub.

How To Choose Between Shower And A Bathtub For Your Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom renovations often revolve around the largest water feature in the bathroom, the shower or bathtub. This decision deserves quite a bit of thought. Consider how and why your household uses the bathroom most often and whether a shower or tub would best suit your needs. You can find the answer to some of the most common questions to help you with your decision right here!

How much space do you have? 

Bathroom renovations are often restricted by space, and that means that you might only have a handful of choices. Measure out your bathroom and consider if you could fit your ideal tub options or if opting for a shower would be a better choice.

Do you already have a tub in another bathroom? 

If your household already has a tub, then it's likely that you won't need one in your room you're remodeling. A bathtub installation may not be necessary if the other tub meets your needs. However, if you want a soaking tub, or to replace your current tub, then that may be another consideration.

Do you prefer showers or baths? 

Surprisingly, many adults prefer to relax in a tub but use a shower most often for the sake of efficiency. Which do you prefer to use, or would you prefer to have both options available with a tub-shower combo.

Who is using the bathroom you're remodeling?

If you're using the bathroom for children, then you might prioritize a tub. Whereas if adults are using the bathroom, then you may not need or desire a tub. In cases where adults use the bathroom exclusively, you might discuss a tub to shower conversion as part of your small bathroom renovations.

What is the budget?

Budget will often determine the options available to homeowners when doing a remodel. The average bathroom remodels cost can range from about $6,000 to $16,000, depending on the size of the room. The average cost in San Bernardino is about $12,000, with a minimum low-end cost coming in around $4,800.

Walk-In Shower Options

What is a walk-in shower? 

These showers are famous for their lack of doors or curtains. Essentially, the shower itself is completely open but may have a half-wall or some glass element but not a full door. Additionally, walk-in showers don't have a curb or a tub, so there's nothing to step over to enter the shower area.

What is the most common/standard size of a walk-in shower? 

The generally accepted size for a walk-in shower is 170 cm x 70 cm, which would replace a standard bath. This size is appropriate for a tub to shower conversion. However, the walk-in shower could be as big as the room will allow.

What is the minimum size for a shower?

 General code requirements show a 30-inch x 30-inch shower as the minimum acceptable size for bathroom showers. This size requirement does make it possible to have a walk-in shower for small bathrooms.

What are the features of a walk-in shower? 

One of the best features of a walk-in shower is the lack of a tub or curb and the lack of walls, which may present some trouble for the elderly or many within the disabled community. Generally, a walk-in shower provides an easier showering experience.

What is a curbless shower? 

Similar to a walk-in shower, these don't have any curb that you would have to step over to enter the shower area. However, these do have doors that close off the shower, which disqualifies them from counting as a "walk-in" shower.

Shower and Bathtub Combo

About 65% of homes in the United States have a tub-and-shower combo. But why? Because of the small bathroom remodel cost, many homeowners are looking to get the most bang for their buck. So if you could have all the benefits of a shower with the added benefits and convenience of a bath, then a shower and bathtub combo may be the best option.

What is a shower and bathtub combo?

Shower and tub combo has both a tub and a shower. This means that they come with all the benefits and cons of both fixture options.

What is the common size for a shower and bathtub combo? 

The standard size for tub-and-shower combos are 60 inches x 30 inches (or 36 inches) x 72 inches.

What are the features and benefits of a shower and bathtub combo?

The biggest benefit is convenience. If you have small children, then it's possible for you to use the same bathroom with ease. You can shower, they can take baths, and you can enjoy a soak when you need to relax. It can even help sell your home!

Bathtub vs. Soaking Tub

Types of Bathtubs:

Recessed, or Alcove, tubs meant to fit up against three walls.

·     Tub-and-shower combo

·     Clover-shaped or corner tubs

·     Drop-in tubs

·     Freestanding tubs

·     Walk-in bathtubs

·     Soaking tubs

What is the size of a standard bathtub?

Most bathtubs range between 14 and 16 inches high while maintaining a constant 30-inches wide and 60-inches long.

What is the size of a soaking tub?

These tubs can range quite a bit more in length than a standard tub. A soaking tub could be anywhere from 55 to 72 inches long. They can span up to 20 inches high and up to 32 inches wide.

What is the difference between a soaking tub and a regular tub?

Soaking tubs tend to be deeper than a bathtub. Soaking tubs may also be longer for easy submersion and may come with more features such as jets. However, it's worth noting that it is possible for a bathtub to have more length than the standard size and to have additional features without being a soaking tub.

Is it necessary to have a tub in a master bath?

A bathtub is nice, and a soaking tub could be a visual bonus for the master bath. However, a master bathroom does not require a bathtub at all. Many modern master bathroom remodels opt for a spa-like shower with special shower head features, sprays or rain-shower heads.

What are the features of bathtubs and soaking tubs?

The primary feature is luxury and leisure. Bathtubs and soaking tubs are places to wash away the day-to-day and a bit of stress too. Additional features can include jets, walk-in designs, and more.

What are the Benefits of a Bathtub for a Small Bathroom?

Having at least one tub in the house with small children is more convenient than a shower-only home. This reason for having at least one bathtub also contributes to the popularity of tub-and-shower combos.

The tub is great for relaxing. Have a spa day at home with a bath bomb, a face mask, and luxuriously warm water.

Tubs come in different sizes to fit in almost any room. Even during a small bathroom remodel, you can almost certainly fit in a tub.

There are many different varieties of designs to suit any taste. You can even choose a walk-in tub to cater to different needs within the household. Use your family’s needs along with clever design to create a visually stunning master bath remodel.

Tubs can have extra features like jets. During small bathroom renovations, you should discuss the additional features you hope to access with your bathroom contractors.

For a small master bathroom, it is nice to have a tub to soak in. It gives a luxurious feel to your house. Adding a soaking tub or bathtub can affect your small bathroom remodel cost, but the feeling of luxury and added convenience, it's often worth the investment.

What are the Cons of Having a Bathtub?

A tub can be more difficult for older people to get in and get out of, given the height of entry. Even walk-in bathtubs may have a lip or step that could be trouble for older adults. Although they may enjoy a small soaking tub, it may not be reasonable for the household's needs.

Tubs take up more space. Many people choose a tub to shower conversion in an effort to gain more space in their bathroom.

Taking a bath requires a lot of water. Bathtub installation can often throw off homeowners when they realize the high water demands of a bathtub.

A water heater has to keep up with the water demand for a bath. Along with high water demand comes a high demand for the water heater. The average water usage for a shower of about 8 minutes accounts for about 17 gallons of water. At the same time, a standard size bathtub can hold up to 42 gallons of water.

It is time-consuming to fill the tub and take a bath. Filling the tub and taking a bath generally consumes more time than showering. People often choose to shower for the sake of saving time. Overall, installing a bathtub can lead to a higher water bill, gas bill (for your water heater) and take more of your time.

What are the Cons of Installing a Shower?

A shower is not practical with young children. Many children would rather soak in a tub, but many are also averse to water constantly falling over their head or feeling rained on.


Glass shower doors need lots of cleaning. Some people will keep a squeegee or cleaning device hanging in the shower. However, for many households, the glass door cleaning is a chore that doesn't get the attention it deserves.


Installing a shower comes with a few benefits, but the cons are general everyday aspects of life. If you hate cleaning glass doors, then you might choose a walk-in shower or a shower-bath combo without doors.

Why Hire a Professional for Small Bathroom Remodeling?

Hiring a professional is always the way to go when you're handling water fixtures. A bathroom shower remodels, or master bath can call for bathtub installations, conversions, and more. A shower remodel cost might cause you to realize that you could install a bath-shower combo and get more value for the same price.

Why hire a professional contractor for a small bathroom remodel?

Even with a small bathroom remodel, you may need to pull out existing fixtures, work behind walls, or pull up flooring. These are not simple DIY projects!

Why hire a contractor for a soaking tub installation?

A soaking tub installation may be a bigger job than a typical new tub installment. These tubs tend to be larger and may require additional attention during the installation process.

Why hire a contractor for a walk-in shower installation?

Walk-in showers require a specific design and can impact the entire room since the water and humidity aren't sectioned away from the rest of the bathroom. A small walk-in shower is something that you could discuss with a bathroom contractor, and it may completely change how you feel about your bathroom.