If the person has difficulty lifting his/her legs over the tub wall, consider having part of the tub wall removed, called a “tubcut” or a “tub cut-out,” which reduces the lift required to step over or swing one’s legs into the tub and turns the tub into something more like a walk-in shower. A tub cut-out can be performed on most tub types. Keep in mind that the tub will no longer serve as a tub, as there is no door for the tubcut.
A professional installer removes a section of the tub wall and repairs the cut sections, usually in one day. There are two types of inserts to repair the cut tub walls. One is cap that fits over the cuts and the other is installed within the cut, leaving a smooth surface (shown above). Some installers will customize the width of the opening.
This is a relatively new adaptation and there aren’t yet many national services. You can use a search engine to find a trained professional in your area. Try searching on the terms “tubcut” or “bathtub cut-out.” You can use this site here to locate a certified installer in your area. Keep in mind the cost for this service is around $1000.
- Makes the bathtub more accessible
- Can reduce caregiver strain
Local companies offer variations on this service, so you’ll want to ask some questions to make sure you end up with a tub cut-out suitable to your situation.
- Ask what the new curb height will be; this is the height of the cut-out from the bathroom floor. The height can vary from as low as four to as high as ten inches, but the lower height may cost more if there is extra work involved.
- Ask whether the tub be restored to its original condition. Some installers state they can reinstall the existing tub section at a later date, with no change in appearance or function.
- Service can be expensive, depending on where you live and the height of the new curb.