One-piece tub and shower units are affordable, sturdy, and easy to install. Before you buy, check out our guide to the pros and cons of these popular products.

By Kathy Barnes
June 08, 2015

Need a bathtub and a shower but don't have the room for separate pieces in your bathroom? A space-saving combination tub-shower is a smart choice. These two-in-one units make the most of limited space by providing all the benefits of both a shower and a bathtub in a compact footprint, which can be particularly useful in a child's or guest bathroom. When you don't have room or funds for a separate tub and shower, a combo model is also a wise choice for boosting your home's resale value because it serves homeowners who prefer either option.

Tub and shower combos are available as prefabricated kits or can be installed as a custom design. Typically made from fiberglass or acrylic, prefab units are available from very basic and affordable models to pricey versions that include tile-look walls, modern colors, and shelves. Although the design options are limited with prefab units, you can personalize the unit with the fixtures you choose. A glass shower door can also give the illusion of more space than a curtain. A sliding door is installed on a track along the edge of the bathtub, which may require a professional.

One-piece kits are the most watertight and perfect for new construction but they may not fit through doorways in existing homes, so many remodelers choose multipiece units. Sectional units increase the risk of moisture seeping between the pieces and causing damage. Prefab stalls require some assembly, but most novice DIYers can tackle the installation. When purchasing a kit, take exact measurements to find an available size that will fit. Also, be certain existing plumbing matches the placement of any predrilled holes in the kit.

Prefer a more high-end look? Custom tub-shower units allow for any size, configuration, and materials you want, as well as special fixtures and features. In this setup, a tub is typically covered with a deck of some sort, is topped with a shower surround, and includes plumbing fixtures. This type of installation goes beyond most homeowners' skills and is best left to a bathroom designer and professional installer, which can get quite pricey. While prefabricated tub-shower combos can be found for around $1,000, a custom tub-shower can cost at least two to five times that much.

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