Bathtubs are many things: a place to wash up, a spot to relax, and the location of the nightly kid-cleaning ritual. Everyone uses it differently, and thankfully there are a variety of tubs — claw-foot, whirlpool, freestanding, pedestal or soaking — to fit all unique needs. If you’re tub shopping, consider the aesthetic as well as usage when making your decision. Here are some helpful tips to help out with your shopping experience.
How big should my tub be?
This all depends on who will be using it and what for. Will you generally be soaking alone or should you consider room for two? Do you simply want to get clean, or would you prefer a spa-like experience? Will you be bathing kids? All this dictates the type of tub you invest in. After all, a whirlpool bathtub helps create a relaxing getaway but take up a lot of space, while claw-foot tubs are great for old-world charm but are inconvenient for little kids.
What type of bathtub should I purchase?
The location and available space will likely dictate the type of tub that is going to work best in your bathroom. In general, they’re available in the following four styles:
Recessed/Alcove: The most commonly installed tub, recessed tubs have walls on three sides with only the fourth side finished. These are easily doubled as showers with the addition of a surround or wall kit, and are generally more affordable.
Corner: These triangular-shaped tubs are designed to save space by being installed in a corner area. These are available in several design options, but not all are able to accommodate a shower.
Freestanding: Freestanding tubs provide placement versatility, are easy to install and don’t require special faucet drilling. There are several different designs, and they often come with a sloped back for extra comfort.
Platform/Drop-in: These tubs are dropped into a platform or sunk into the ground, and therefore do not have any finished panels. They’re easy to clean and can be placed almost anywhere, yet are pricey and can be more difficult to install.
What types of materials should I consider?
Once again, this is dictated by your style and use. If you’re going for look more than comfort and use, consider cultured marble, which is sleek and stylish yet may be brittle and scratch easily. If you plan to soak for hours, enameled cast iron might be your fit; it’s heavy, but durable, solid and retains heat well.
What other considerations might I want to think about?
Make sure it’s comfortable by lying down in the tub before you buy it. In addition, check your water heater to ensure it can generate enough hot water to fill the size of your selected tub. Is there someone in the household who is elderly or handicapped? Be sure your tub is ADA compliant so they can use it with ease.
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