Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Cost - new bath or shower?

What are the costs and options for replacing your bath?

Rica, a UK consumer research charity, carried out user research with a range of bath boards and bath seatsThe information here is to help you choose the option that suits your needs.
Rica doesn't sell products.  To find suppliers, search online by product name.

In research for Age UK in 2014, we asked four firms to quote for installing different bathing solutions in each of three houses. We found:

  • The quotes varied quite significantly from company to company.
  • These figures can't tell you exactly what installing a new walk-in bath, shower or wetroom would cost in your home.
  • The final cost depends on your plumbing, layout and choice of finish.

Top tip: get more than one quote - we strongly recommend getting three quotes to compare. 

Sample prices (quoted in 2014)

  Firm 1 Firm 2 Firm 3 Firm 4
Walk-in bath (Surrey) £6,949 £4,000 to 6,000 £4,000 £7,500 to 9,500
Shower & new WC & basin (Leeds) £5,973 - £7,550 £5,517
Wetroom (Cardiff) £10,210 £7,205 £9,695 -

Prices given don't include installation.
The ++ symbol shows there's a wide price range

Showers

A shower over the bath is a simple option if you can easily step in and out of the bath. Options include:

  • bath taps with a shower fitting: costs from £40
  • a rubber shower attachment that fits over the taps costs from £5
  • a separate shower unit (£150 - £500) will give better temperature control - check that the controls are easy to use

A separate shower cubicle - if you can't use a shower over a bath, you'll need a separate shower. Points to consider:

  • a new cubicle, including fittings and grab rails, can cost £1,000 - £2,000
  • most shower trays have a step. Floor-level ones are more expensive and cost from £200, plus fitting costs
  • if you shower from a wheelchair, check that the tray will bear your weight
  • cubicles with a half-door are useful if someone helps you wash
  • you may need a pump for drainage (£100 - £500)

Sitting in the shower - if you need to sit down in the shower there are a few options:

  • shower stools cost £20 - £120
  • shower chairs (£50 - £200) are more comfortable, and some come with castors
  • folding seats (£50 - £250+) are fixed to the wall and can be easily moved out of the way, but it might be difficult for you to transfer from a wheelchair

Choose a seat with drainage holes, and make sure the seat will take your weight. U-shaped seats make it easier to wash your bottom. A seat with large feet spreads the weight you're putting on the shower tray.

Shower loos - look like cupboards, have a built-in toilet and shower, and cost around £2,000:

  • they're very small, so showering gets everything inside wet
  • they're often put in a bedroom or downstairs
  • some come with seats

Baths

Walk-in bath with door open in side

Half-length walk-in bath
Types of walk-in bath

General tips to have in mind when looking for a bath:

  • some bath seats and hoists can only be used with metal baths, which are stronger than plastic baths
  • plastic baths come in more shapes and sizes and are more likely to have built-in handles and seats
  • don't buy an unusually shaped bath unless you're sure your equipment will fit it

There are many types of bath designed to make things easier. Some come with features such as easy-to-use taps and dispensers for shampoo, etc. Others can automatically fill to the right level, at the right temperature.

A shallow bath

  • may help if you have limited strength or difficulty bending down
  • you'll still have to lift your legs over the rim

Whirlpool baths £2,000 - £6,500

  • the Jacuzzi brand is the best known of these
  • can soothe aches and stiffness, but other aids that you use might stop the water flowing freely
  • a kit (£200+) can be cheaper than a whole whirlpool bath

Walk-in baths £950++

  • have a door, so you can walk in, close the door and run the water
  • have to empty before you can open the door to get out, so you need patience and a warm bathroom
  • are often larger than an ordinary bath
  • come as half-length baths with a seat designed to fit in smaller spaces
  • before buying, check that you can manage the step
  • some adjust in height or tilt, making getting in and out easier (and easier for anyone who helps you)
  • drop-down doors can be used as a seat to slide in on and when dressing

Other options - among the other possibilities are: baths shaped to include a built-in seat (£550+); adjustable-height baths (£2,000++); and baths with a built-in swivel seat (£2,700+)

Other solutions to make bathing easier

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Last updated: August 2016


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  • you may need a pump for drainage (£100 - £500)