Curb-less Showers Now Among the Most Common Aging-In-Place Projects


Last week’s post covered general issues related to Aging-In-Place (such as how many professional remodelers do it, and how many of their customers are receptive to it), using data from NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the 4th quarter of 2018.  This post covers some of the more detailed questions from the same survey, including specific types of Aging-in-Place projects undertaken by remodelers during the previous year.

It probably comes as little surprise to most readers that bathroom projects dominated the top spots.  Over 80 percent of remodelers who answered the question reported installing grab bars, higher toilets and curb-less showers.  The next-most-common project on the list, widening doorways, followed at a considerable distance (59 percent).

Even though the underlying motivation seems similar in both cases, walk-in bathtubs have not become nearly as common as curb-less showers.  Only 12 percent of remodelers reported installing walk-in tubs in 2018, and only two of the 14 projects on the Aging-in-Place list were cited less often: lowering kitchen cabinets and countertops.

When NAHB began asking Aging-in-Place remodeling questions in 2004, curb-less showers were about as common as wider doorways.  But over the years the share of NAHB remodelers installing curb-less showers has grown, from 54 to 82 percent.  Curb-less showers are now nearly as common as higher toilets—even though installing higher toilets also reached an all-time high of 85 percent in 2018, up from 68 percent in 2004.

Two other projects on the list also reached all-time peaks at the end of 2018: non-slip floors and easy-to-read thermostats.  For easy-to-read thermostats, however, this still took the share up only to 15 percent.

When the RMI questionnaire expanded in 2006, it started asking remodelers about reasons their customers undertake Aging-in-Place projects.  Since that time “planning ahead for future needs” has consistently ranked as the most common motivation, cited by 75 percent of remodelers in 2006, and up to a record 86 percent in 2018.

“Acute age related disabilities” and “non-age disabilities” were also higher than ever in 2018, at 51 and 27 percent, respectively.  This is only a 1 to 2 percentage point gain over their previous peaks, however.  Meanwhile, the share of remodelers citing “living with older parents” as a motivation has tended to drift downward over time, from over 50 percent in 2006 and 2007, to under 45 percent in 2016 and 2018.

For further results on the Aging-in-Place questions in NAHB’s RMI survey, including a complete history for every question, please consult the full survey report.

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1 reply

  1. Concerning “Walk-in-bathtubs”, there’s a company called CleanCut that sells accessories to modify tubs for a step-in option. I don’t have enough experience with their products to actually recommend the company, but they offer what looks like a useful option and I’m not aware of other companies with a comparable product.

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