HGTV's Leslie Davis Shares The Feature That Is A Letdown In The Master Bath

An en suite bathroom is one of the rooms that homeowners care most about. These spaces should promote a calm and relaxing environment, a tranquil place to start and end the day. For many people, a nice soak in a bathtub is a great way to relieve stress and unwind. However, Leslie Davis from HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" notes that there are times when a deep soaking tub is more of an obstruction than a benefit. 

In Season 2, Episode 2 of the show, a home's master bathroom featured a large corner bathtub and no shower. "Even though there was that huge soaking tub, it was really not usable," Davis explained to the homeowners (via HGTV). The corner tub created an awkward shape that wasn't conducive to relaxation. And, the lack of a shower was a detriment to the master bathroom. If your home's master bathroom has only a tub with no shower, it may be why your home won't sell.

People tend to want a shower to clean themselves daily, whereas baths are seen as more of a luxury for relaxing. Converting the old corner tub into a walk-in shower was also good for resale, as this feature often increases the value of the home. "What we wanted to give this main bathroom is a really high-end, custom shower," Davis said, "so that [homebuyers] felt like this wasn't a letdown of a bathroom." Since potential buyers would likely also expect a master bathroom to have a shower, the swap made the most sense.

When removing a tub makes sense

Though many potential buyers expect to see a master bathroom with a shower, it's not the only reason why Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb would remove a tub. On the Lamb and Company website, Lamb explained how they removed a heart-shaped tub in one house because the bathroom's layout wasn't as functional as it could have been. A tub shouldn't be an obstruction to the rest of the bathroom. 

This is especially true in smaller bathrooms where space is limited. In general, a minimum of 40 square feet is recommended to have a shower and a separate bathtub. Bathrooms smaller than this may feel tight with a freestanding or separate tub. And, since shower stalls require about 36 square feet, they're often a better option for smaller bathrooms.

Whether or not to remove a tub also comes down to how much value it's adding to a home. For example, if it is the home's only bathtub, you may want to consider keeping it or converting it to a shower-tub combination to allow homeowners the option of having one. It may also depend on the demographics of the area the home is located in. Younger buyers are more likely to be okay with having only a shower in their master bathroom. However, families with young kids are more likely to want a bathtub to bathe children in. When it comes to removing a tub for resale value, you have to consider popular housing trends and what potential buyers will be looking for.

Having both a tub and shower

Though Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb were adamant about removing the odd corner bathtubs in some of their clients' homes, the pair doesn't always get rid of the tub. For a million-dollar home they renovated in Season 3, Episode 3, they added a soaking tub and oversized shower to the master bedroom. In another home that already had a large shower in Season 3, Episode 11, they added a freestanding tub to create a wetroom. These spaces, however, were large enough to accommodate both a tub and shower separately.

For bathrooms that may not have a ton of space, a shower-tub combination is the most common option. These don't take up as much space, so they're less likely to cause issues with the layout or function of the room, though many homeowners may see this as a dated style. For a more contemporary look, install a tub insert without the wall surround, and tile the wall above it, a look Davis and Lamb used in Season 4, Episode 11. Tiling the walls above the tub upgrades the space while remaining a cost-effective and space-saving option.

Bathrooms that might have a little more space but not enough for a shower and tub to be separate can use a free-standing tub with shower attachments. This is accomplished with a wall-mounted shower head and knobs and a bar that is ceiling- and wall-mounted to hang a shower curtain. These are an option to have both a statement free-standing tub and a shower.