Living in condos presents both unique advantages and challenges in all aspects of life, including having renovations completed. When shopping for safety and accessibility solutions, there are no limitations to your selection of choices. Any walk-in bathtub on the market will fit in your condo the same as it will in a single-family residential property.
There are additional challenges that your contractor will face both preparing for the installation and during the installation. These items should be addressed during your in-home consultation. Your product specialist or contractor will survey your property, looking to identify certain key components vital to your installation.
Mechanical items such as water shutoff, water heater, electrical panel as well as the path through your home to the bathroom, doorways and hallways. Secondly, they will be surveying the path from the installation truck to your home and areas to cut and stage materials.
Common items that may come into play in a condo that are not found in typical single-family homes may include items that affect the time and extend the installation. In addition to items during the installation, your contractor will need to account for time spent prior to installation coordinating with your building management to facilitate a smooth and professional installation.
The mechanics in your unit that will need to be surveyed and should affect your installation estimate will include electrical, plumbing, and framing/trim. Condos typically do not have basement or attic access. Installing 1-2 electrical circuits to your new walk-in bathtub will take more time when this is the case. All wires must be pulled through finished walls and inside of existing conduits. This takes significantly more time, materials, and effort.
Water shutoffs commonly control entire tiers or floors of buildings. The water shutoff needs to be scheduled and coordinated with your building, and your neighbors need to be notified. This will not affect the installers much, a minor time delay. However, the preinstallation process of coordinating this with your building needs to be done successfully, and fly-by-night contractors may not feel the burden of this important task.
Carpentry and framing can affect the installation as well. Often construction in condos bears a high fire rating, including steel studs and metal door frames. These items, especially steel door frames, need to be discussed, and you should be aware of how these are dealt with. Remember there is a solution for everything. However, it is important to work with a qualified and experienced contractor who accounts for these items when estimating the job.
The path from the truck and wear it will park, stage provisions and cut materials is vitally important to accurate scheduling and project cost. Items that affect pricing include materials and labor, and time is money. A remote or public parking area may mean that each trip to the truck takes a minimum of 15 minutes round trip. A community elevator or assigned contractor elevator may add another five-plus minutes to each trip. When an installation team takes 10+ trips back and forth to the truck each day, you can see how this could affect the cost of installation.
Condos are amazing candidates for walk-in bathtubs. When you are shopping for your new bathtub keep these two simple key ideas in the forefront of your mind when making your decision. One, be sure your product specialist mentions and covers all the aforementioned mechanical and physical factors of your building. Two, be prepared to have higher quotations than a single-family residential property. While many companies will not specifically say that the cost is higher because you are in a condo, rest assured that your cost is higher than the same project in a typical single-family property. Best of luck and take the plunge, walk-in bathtubs really are all that they are cracked up to be.
By, Nicolas J. Boatner
Fox Valley Home Services