Pros & Cons Of A Shower-Only Bathroom: Do You Really Need A Bathtub For Resale Purposes? (2023)

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Looking at buying a house with only one bathroom — and it’s a shower-only bathroom with no tub? Or maybe you already live in a house that has a master bathroom without a tub — and you’re wondering how can you sell a house without a bathtub?…

Pros & Cons Of A Shower-Only Bathroom: Do You Really Need A Bathtub For Resale Purposes? (1)

When I bought my first home (a then-recently renovated mid-century ranch home), it came with one full bathroom. In that bathroom is only a shower stall… That’s right. No bathtub!

Originally, the bathroom in my house did have a bathtub. But the previous owners (whose parents had built the home in the mid 1950s) told me they converted the bathtub into a large shower stall to help their ailing father.

While I don’t normally take many baths, I wondered if I’d miss the opportunity to take baths if I bought a home with no bathtub. But the house was calling my name, so I bought it anyway.

Here is it a year later and I still love my home — even without a bathtub!

Still… in the back of my mind, I’ve been concerned that having a house with no bathtub could pose some problems upon resale. I mean, do you need a bathtub to sell a house these days?

Here’s what I’ve learned…

(Video) Bathroom Remodeling: Tubs vs. Walk-In Showers

Homes Without Tubs Are Common

I’ve done a fair amount of research, and I’m finding out that more new and remodeled homes have a master bathroom without a tub than ever before. A master bathroom with a shower only is a very popular new home trend these days.

The days of the massive whirlpool bath are coming to an end regardless of bathroom location, according to Regents Renovation in Atlanta, GA. The remodeling company says it is now renovating more of its clients’ bathrooms with inviting showers. The spa shower is becoming increasingly popular.

~ Source

Even in homes with only one bathroom (like mine), a large portion of homeowners are ditching the bathtub in favor of a shower-only bathroom.

Replacing the tub with a shower in the only bathroom is riskier than switching from tub to shower in a second or third bathroom. Eliminating a home’s only full bathroom could turn off potential buyers. Many parents prefer to bathe children in a tub rather than a shower, and many buyers like to soak in a tub. The National Association of Realtors says as long as the home has at least one tub, switching from a tub to a shower shouldn’t negatively impact resale value.

~ Source

This has me asking questions like:

  • Why are more houses coming without a bathtub?
  • What are the pros and cons of having a shower-only bathroom?
  • Will I ever miss not having a bathtub?

So I decided to look at the reasons homeowners are abandoning the bathtub. Plus, I jotted down a list of the pros and cons of having a shower-only bathroom…

The Reasons For Fewer Bathtubs

I grew up my whole life with having at least one bathtub in my home. Frankly, I never even gave any thought to not having a tub in my home — because I always thought it was standard (at least by 20th-century American standards) for homes to have bathtubs.

(Video) Shower and Tub Wall Panels: 5 Things Your Bathroom Remodeler Doesn't Tell You

So, I was a little taken aback when the house I ended up buying didn’t have a bathtub. When I was considering buying a home with no tub, I gotta tell you… it wasn’t a deal breaker, but it did give me pause.

That is, until I found out that many new and remodeled homes have ditched the bathtub in favor of a shower-only bathroom. This is even the case in houses with just a single bathroom.

Some of the major reasons are:

  • People are too busy for taking baths.
  • People are having fewer children (and increasingly often, no children).
  • Being empty-nesters, there isn’t as muchneed for a bathtub.
  • Wanting to save space (and money) in the bathroom.

As you can see, the reasons for remodeling bathrooms or building houses with only a shower-only bathroom are becoming much more apparent.

Here’s a good summary of bathroom tub trends over the past few decades:

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, whirlpool tubs with multiple water jets were all the rage. 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. The basic rectangular tub returned, although it was soon eclipsed by the oversized, deluxe shower — big enough for two and with multiple controls and rainfall heads offering a personalized experience.

~ Source

The Pros & Cons Of A Shower-Only Bathroom


As I see it, there are many benefits to having only a shower and no tub in your bathroom:

  • A shower-only bathroom saves space. A shower alone typically takes up less space in the bathroom than a bathtub does. In small bathrooms, a shower-only conversion can do wonders in making a tiny space feel bigger.
  • A walk-in shower is safer for those with limited mobility. It’s also more convenient to get in and out of. On the other hand, stepping over the edge of a bathtub can be a huge physical risk for those who can’t lift their legs very high.
  • Taking a shower is faster. Whether you prefer to sleep in later, or you’ve just got other things you’d rather be doing — a shower is much faster than a bath. Most people who have bathtubs don’t use them as much as they thought they would — largely because they take so much time. Even when I lived in a house with a bathtub, I hardly ever (in my adult life) took a bath. In fact, before buying my first shower-only home, the last time I had taken a bath was 5 years earlier. So, there’s that…
  • Showers offer many aesthetic options for homeowners. There are a million and one ways to design and decorate a shower — thanks to custom design options and an endless number of colors, textures, and patterns for the tile, grout, and other components of a shower.
  • Showers save water. Unless you indulge in taking hour-long showers (guilty as charged… sometimes) usually taking a shower consumes less water than taking a bath. This can have positive impacts on both your utility bill and the environment.


Nothing’s perfect — here are some reasons that a bathroom with shower only isn’t the ideal scenario:

(Video) Is A Tub Liner A Good Idea?

  • Bathtubs make bath time fun and much easier for kids. I’m not a parent yet, so right now I’ve got no problems with having no bathtub in my home. But wait until I have a kid or two… It’s not easy bathing a child in the shower, is it? Come to think of it, I didn’t even take my first shower until I was 7 years old! Having a bathtub of some kind seems like a necessity when you have kids.
  • A bath can be relaxing and good for you. With a bathtub in the house, it’s nice knowing that a relaxing soak in the tub is only 5 minutes away. It’s not really comfy sitting in a shower stall. Plus, there are many health benefits of taking baths.
  • You can take a shower in a bathtub, but you can’t take a bath in a shower. A bathtub can serve double-duty meeting your family’s bath and shower needs in one. In fact, most modern bathtub arrangements include a shower head anyway.
  • It might be harder to sell a home with no bathtub. Unless I’m selling to a young, childless couple, an empty nester, or someone who just despises baths (I still haven’t met that person yet), I realize that I might have a hard time selling a house with a shower-only bathroom. Impossible? No. But harder? Yes, especially if the prospective buyer already has young children… or a bun in the oven.

The resale value of a tub-less house is tricky to gauge because half of prospective buyers want one, the other half don’t care. For instance, when the house is listed for sale, those who require a tub will see it missing from the listing and won’t bother to see the house. Also realize that seldom does one buy the perfect pre-existing home — modifications usually happen, especially in bathrooms which (along with kitchens) are the most frequently remodeled parts of the home.

~ Source

Do I Have Plans To Remodel My Bathroom?

After a long, hard day of writing (ugh, those aching hands!), a nice bath sounds good. But I can’t take a bath in my home right now — not without a bathtub, of course.

Yes, there have been at least a few days since I bought my house that I would’ve loved to break my 5-year no-bath streak and suds up in a tub. Then again, I went 5 stressful years with a bathtub and never used it for anything more than taking a shower and emptying large buckets of Pine-Sol after washing the floor.

I guess the old saying is true — you sometimes don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone. I now know that saying can be extended to bathtubs. But, frankly, my 30-something bachelor lifestyle hasn’t been any worse for wear without a bathtub. I love taking one, sometimes two showers a day (the latter especially when I’ve been working in the yard).

At the end of the day (or beginning of the morning, if you prefer…), a shower-only bathroom works! At least it does for me — right now, anyway. And it apparently works for the millions of Americans who also live in a home with no bathtub.

The good thing for me is that my bathroom is big enough that, if I wish, I can convert it back to having a bathtub, as the home was originally built. A bathroom remodel costs, on average, about $11,000. So, yes — that’s a lot of money. But that figure or something like it wouldn’t stop me from remodeling my bathroom with a bathtub should the need — or desire — for having a tub ever hit me hard.

I may someday remodel my bathroom. Or maybe even build a second one. But that’s a decision for another time and day. For now, I love my showers. And that’s good enough for me.

Before You Decide On A Shower-Only Bathroom…

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you decide if a bathroom with shower only is right for you:

(Video) Slab Showers: The Pros and Cons of 4 Different Types

Pros & Cons Of A Shower-Only Bathroom: Do You Really Need A Bathtub For Resale Purposes? (6)


I’m a roller coaster junkie, a weather enthusiast, a frequent traveler, and a numismatist. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I’ve also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green… on a budget. I work from home full-time as a journalist, reporter, and author.


Is it bad for resale to not have a bathtub? ›

“There absolutely has to be at least one bathtub in any condo or home. When you sell, you're also selling a lifestyle and having no tub will hinder a sale to most buyers,” she says. Research backs up the anecdotal evidence.

Is it better to have a tub or shower for resale value? ›

Generally, a bathtub is seen as more valuable in terms of resale value. This is because bathtubs are seen as more difficult and more expensive to install when compared to showers.

How important is having a bathtub for resale? ›

Real estate professionals typically suggest that homeowners have at least one bathtub in the home for the highest resale value: a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that over 50 percent of home buyers prefer a master bath with a bathtub and a shower as opposed to just a shower stall.

Does replacing a bathtub with shower devalue house? ›

The National Association of Realtors says as long as the home has at least one tub, switching from a tub to a shower shouldn't negatively impact resale value.

Do houses really need a tub? ›

It's long been a principle in real estate that a single-family house needs at least one bathtub. However, as design trends move away from bathtubs and towards showers, many homeowners wonder if this is still the case. For most family homes, it is.

Are bathtubs becoming obsolete? ›

Bathtubs haven't gone away, but trends have shifted

However, most home design trends have a shelf-life, and jetted tubs were no exception. People soon came to realize that jets are a pain to clean, and large tubs require a ton of hot water to fill. Over time, many of these tubs became glorified storage bins.

Is walk-in shower better for resale? ›

Bathroom Updates for Resale Value

In general, removing a tub and installing a well-appointed walk-in shower also increases the value of a home.

What is the average cost for a tub to shower conversion? ›

Wet-area renovations like a tub to shower conversions cost about $6,000 to $10,000, including materials and labor. Your project may cost more or less, but this average figure is a good one to keep in mind.

Are showers more popular than bathtubs? ›

In the majority of homes the shower gets used far more than the tub, and as a result there's a trend towards getting rid of tubs completely and instead going for spacious, stand up shower stalls.

Should a bathroom have a bathtub? ›

To sum it all up: No, you do not need a tub in your master bathroom. You can certainly install one if that is your preference, but it's not a requirement. Just keep in mind that, if you are looking to renovate prior to selling your home, it's recommended that you have at least one bathtub in the home.

How important is a tub in a bathroom? ›

A bathtub usually functions as a bathing tool but most importantly as a centerpiece for any bathroom, it takes up the largest area of space in addition to the attention of the bathroom itself.

Why put a bathtub in the shower? ›

Another benefit of putting a tub in the shower, pending the layout and design, is the creation of a curbless shower. If there is ever a time when you need to rely on a walker or wheelchair, the shower remains accessible. If need be, just add in some grab bars for convenience and stability.

Is it a bad idea to replace tub with shower? ›

Showering instead of taking baths can save you a huge amount of money every year, just on the cost of the water that you need to bathe. If you have a big family needing to wash in the bathroom, this water-saving will soon add up even more, helping you to make some real savings.

Are walk-in showers a good idea? ›

Benefit: Easy Cleaning

That's part of the beauty of a walk-in shower: there are fewer nooks and crannies to scrub than with a traditional shower enclosure. Its surfaces are smooth and nonporous, so a simple wipe down and they're good as new. Also, you can say goodbye to dingy, mold-attracting shower doors and curtains!

Should I keep the tub in a bathroom remodel? ›

If you rarely use the tub, just leave it out of your plans. If you feel like an occasional bath, you can always use the tub in the guest bathroom. 2. Larger Showers: If you have noticed in a lot of design magazines, many homeowners opt for larger shower stalls instead of bathtubs.

Can you have a full bathroom without a tub? ›

The short and simple answer to whether a walk-in shower is considered a full bath is “no”. It is not. As mentioned previously, a bathroom is considered a full bath only when it has all the 4 components of a sink, toilet, shower and bathtub. If it doesn't include all 4 features, then it doesn't count.

Are one bathroom homes hard to sell? ›

It is important to make it seem easy for them to do. Also, if they put in a new bathroom themselves then they get to personalize it. Play up the fact that they can make the updates they want. Selling a home with one bathroom can be tough but definitely isn't impossible.

Is a bathroom with just a tub a full bath? ›

A full bathroom is made up of four parts: a sink, a shower, a bathtub, and a toilet. Anything less than that, and you can't officially consider it a full bath.

What is an alternative to replacing a bathtub? ›

The best alternatives to a complete tub replacement are relining it or refinishing it, via the traditional methods or the new PureCoat process. All three of these options add years of life to an existing tub and come at only a fraction of the cost of a full tub replacement.

Why do people remove bathtubs? ›

Removing the tub during your bathroom renovations allows you to turn that hard to access, under-used or out-of-date bathtub into a fully functional, easy to access shower. Showers, after all, feel much more open and less constricting than bathtubs.

What time of year is best to buy a bathtub? ›

The Best Time to Purchase Products

The best time of the year to purchase products, such as plumbing hardware or tile, is usually in the winter, after the holidays. The fall is a busy time for the design industry, since many homeowners are trying to complete their renovation projects before the holiday season.

Which is better a walk in tub or walk in shower? ›

It all depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. If you have a small bathroom, a shower might be the best option. If you want a luxurious bathing experience, a walk-in tub might be the way to go. And if you're concerned about safety, a walk-in tub can give you peace of mind.

How much does a bathtub cost vs walk in shower? ›

Convert a Tub Into a Walk-In Shower

If you're replacing a tub with a prefabricated walk-in shower stall kit, you'll pay $1,000 to $8,000. Converting a tub into a custom, tiled walk-in shower costs $3,500 to $15,000.

Is it easy to convert a tub to a walk in shower? ›

The good news is, installation doesn't take long. Compared to a full bathroom renovation that may take weeks, this tub to step-through shower conversion takes just over an hour to complete. We recommend hiring an experienced contractor who knows the installation process inside and out.

How long does a tub to shower conversion take? ›

For a professionally installed tub to shower conversion allow 2 to 3 days for completion (note: this will include the installation of new plumbing valve, shower head and a glass enclosure with shower wall surround panels). On the other hand, if you do a tile shower add 3 or 4 more days.

Is a curbless shower worth it? ›

For people planning to house family members of multiple generations in the same home, a curbless shower is definitely worth it. The accessibility makes aging in place more feasible, and the entire family can benefit from easy entry and exit. However, curbless showers are only as good as their design and drainage.

Do homebuyers prefer bathtubs or showers? ›

As a result, it's no surprise that bathtubs are one of the most popular features in new homes. In fact, according to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), over 50 percent of home buyers prefer a master bath with a bathtub and a shower as opposed to just a shower stall.

What is the most popular shower type? ›

Thermostatic mixer showers

Thermostatic mixer showers are the most common type of shower available and are sold in two parts: the valve and the shower head.

Is it better to have bath or shower in the bathroom? ›

All in all, a shower is actually better for your skin due to the fact that showers expose the body to less water than a bath. Whether it's a bath or a long shower, exposing your skin to too much water can strip it of its natural oils.

What is a bathroom with just a shower called? ›

A half-bath, (sometimes known as a "powder room", especially in the US), is as the name suggests!

Which bathroom should have a tub? ›

Ideally you should have at least one bathtub in your home if you plan to sell in the near future, but this does not have to be in your master bathroom. If you must choose one bathroom to keep a tub in, go for the hall bathroom as this would typically be used for bathing small children or pets.

What is a bathroom without a bathtub called? ›

What is a Half bathroom? A half bathroom is a bathroom that contains a sink and toilet, but does not contain a bathtub or shower.

Is it worth remodeling a bathroom before selling? ›

When it comes to preparing your home for sale, you'll want to put your best foot forward. Homeowners that complete upgrades — like a bathroom remodel — before listing are likely to gain buyer attention. Plus, sellers may achieve a better return on investment (ROI) thanks to certain renovation projects.

What are the disadvantages of shower bath? ›

However, daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water. Also, the oils, perfumes, and other additives in shampoos, conditioners, and soaps may cause problems of their own, such as allergic reactions (not to mention their cost).

Are tubs out of style? ›

Freestanding tubs are not only as popular as they've ever been, but are growing in popularity among homeowners too, with sales of freestanding tubs rising around 15 percent, according to BC Designs. 'A freestanding tub could never go out of style,' says Melissa Warner Rothblum of Massucco Warner.

Can you have a walk-in shower in a normal bathroom? ›

A walk-in shower can be installed in any bathroom size, as it can be customized to suit your actual space. You will not have any difficulties putting up this type of shower in a room that might be limited in space or of an unusual shape.

What type of shower is easiest to clean? ›

Acrylic. Along with being beautiful and fully customizable, acrylic shower systems are the easiest to clean. This innovative material is naturally resistant to fading, scratching, and staining, and acrylic showers are installed in one solid piece so no stubborn grout lines are present.

How do you keep water in a doorless shower? ›

Splash guards are small, triangular-shaped rubber fins that are placed along the corners where the shower wall meets the floor. They're typically glued in place or attached with self-adhesive strips and can stop water from leaking out the corners of the shower.

Does it devalue your house to not have a bathtub? ›

“There absolutely has to be at least one bathtub in any condo or home. When you sell, you're also selling a lifestyle and having no tub will hinder a sale to most buyers,” she says. Research backs up the anecdotal evidence.

What is the first thing to do in a bathroom remodel? ›

How to Plan a Bathroom Remodel
  • Gather ideas. The first step is to decide how you want your bathroom to look when the project is complete. ...
  • Decide what needs to be changed or added. ...
  • Decide whether to do it yourself or hire a contractor. ...
  • Establish a budget. ...
  • Order materials. ...
  • Complete your design and pull permits.

Should a guest bathroom have a tub? ›

Guest baths are more like hotel bathrooms; they don't have to be as luxurious as a master bath or as whimsical as a powder room. There's no need for elaborate showers, grand tubs or several sinks. The essentials — a sink, shower (and perhaps a tub) and toilet — will do the trick.

Is it better to have a tub and shower or just a shower? ›

Showers are generally a more ecological choice, as the average shower uses less water than the average bath, even when you don't fill the tub: an 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water, while the typical bath uses about 24 gallons of water.

What are the disadvantages of a bathtub? ›

Bathtub Cons
  • Can be difficult for older people and people with injuries to get in and out.
  • Takes up a lot of space.
  • Requires a lot of water.
  • You need a water heater with the adequate capacity to fill the tub with hot water.
  • It can be time consuming to fill a tub and bathe.
Nov 20, 2022

What makes a bathroom timeless? ›

Tips for Creating a Classic and Timeless Bathroom

Avoid trends and bold colors. Get inspired by nature and use natural elements in your design. For example, if you select wallpaper, opt for grasscloth. Consider faux bamboo accent or rattan for a traditional aspect.

What do guests want in a bathroom? ›

In addition to the basics like toilet paper, towels, and hand soap, it's a good idea to provide items that your guest might not feel comfortable asking for, like feminine hygiene products, over-the-counter painkillers, or a plunger. Extra toilet paper is also essential.

How much does it cost to remove a tub and replace with a walk-in shower? ›

The cost to convert a tub into a walk-in shower ranges from $800 to $15,000 and depends on several factors, including shower size, material, style, whether you're installing doors, and any plumbing work. If you're replacing a tub with a prefabricated walk-in shower stall kit, you'll pay $1,000 to $8,000.


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