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Showers and Bathtubs

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People in wheelchairs or with limited mobility want to keep their ability to bathe themselves, without assistance, for as long as possible. Alternative bath and shower environments can enable them to keep their independence and privacy. No-threshold showers allow wheelchair users to roll into the shower with no difficulty, while walk-in bathtubs allow those with lower body impairments to step easily into the tub.

No-Threshold Shower

Paraban Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool
Paraban Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool
Liberto Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool
Liberto Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool

In a conventional shower stall, the floor of the shower area is bordered by a raised threshold to keep water from running into the rest of the bathroom. In contrast, no-threshold shower floors are at the same elevation as the main bathroom floor with no lip or ledge at the entrance. Water is kept out by the orientation of the tiles which slant very slightly towards the drainage. The Paraban Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool is an example of this type of shower.

Some no-threshold showers can be built slightly recessed for drainage, but are covered by a wooden platform with slats. Some prefer the wooden platform because the finish gives a better grip on the feet, and slips are less likely to happen. The Liberto Italian Shower Cabin by Systempool is an example of a doorless, no-threshold shower with platform in a modern design.

No-threshold showers are ideal for wheelchair users, and are therefore also known as roll-in showers. No-threshold showers have also become popular in luxury homes with large bathrooms to give the room a beautiful flow and make the room appear larger. These showers are not at all difficult to remodel from an existing bathroom.

Walk-in Bathtub

The Twinline by Artweger
The Twinline by Artweger

Walk-in bathtubs are also known as safety tubs or step-in tubs. They contain a door built into the front or the side. The user opens the door and steps into the tub. The door threshold that you need to step over to get into the tub is usually less than 4 inches high making access safer and easier than a conventional tub.

The door for a walk-in safety bathtub is designed to seal shut so that no water escapes. The biggest disadvantage of such a bathtub is that the person must enter before filling the tub, and the tub must be drained before they can get out. Fortunately, most walk-in tubs feature more robust draining systems for faster draining.

Unlike conventional tubs, most walk-in safety bathtubs have seats, so that sitting in the tub is like sitting in a chair. The majority of the seats are molded into the tub’s shape. A few walk-in tubs have no seats but do have a sloped back.

The Twinline by Artweger is a complete shower and bathtub in one area. It’s a good solution for users with limited mobility, and for homeowners who have limited space in their bathroom for a separate shower and bath. The barrier free entry (optional) is only 7cm high. Importantly, it looks like a modern, stylish bath, instead of an assistive feature for individuals with mobility problems.

Product Links

[1] Twinline by Artweger


Author: Cristina Del Rosario
Affiliation: College of Architecture in Georgia Tech