Today, I want to focus on a hot topic in the interior design world of new builds and remodeling – bathtubs. We all have our own personal preference on bathing, typically you’re either a shower or a bath person! But bathtubs can actually make or break your property, especially if you plan on selling at some point in the future.
Today I’m going to share the bathtub options available. Including the different types, faucet recommendations based on the bathtub type, materials available, and the all-important question – to bathtub or not to bathtub!
Let’s take a closer look.
To Bathtub Vs. Not to Bathtub
When it comes to remodeling your home or purchasing a new build, you need to think about the future of the house. At some point, you are likely to sell and move elsewhere (be it locally or further afield) so having provisions in place for this is key.
There should be at least one bathtub in your home for resale value. Most realtors agree that not having a bathtub where there is space for one makes the home harder to sell and reduces the value. Other reasons to install a bathtub in your house are for kids’ use, or for when you’re older and need to soak for an injury. Sometimes it’s just good to have the option between a shower or having a bath!
Styles of Bathtubs
One of the first things to consider when looking for a bathtub for your home is the style. Is the bathtub being installed in the master bathroom or main family bathroom? For a master bathroom, you may want to frame a window with a freestanding bathtub below, or for the family bathroom, you will need to know the various install options to decide which style is right for the setup.
Here is a breakdown of the most common bathtub styles available and where they are suitable:
These bathtubs are typically found in master bathrooms and look fantastic when framing a window or taking center stage in the room. Normally freestanding bathtubs either have feet or lie flat on the bathroom floor. These are best suited for large bathrooms.
Deck Install or Drop-In
Deck install and drop-in style bathtubs are designed for pre-built decks or surrounding walls. These typically have all four sides that sit on top of a platform material, such as a tiled deck area. Depending on the layout and size of your bathroom, deck or drop-in bathtubs work in many bathrooms.
Alcove or Recessed
These bathtubs are designed to fit into a recessed three-wall alcove and sometimes also double-up as a shower with a shower curtain or screen. Alcove or recessed bathtubs feature one finished side, while the other three are up against walls.
As the name states, these bathtubs are only suitable for corner installation to help save space in a bathroom. Not all corner bathtubs can only accommodate a shower so always check the sizing.
The material your bathtub is made of affects not only the look of the tub but the feel, weight, heat retention, and price. It’s worth exploring the options available to weigh up the pros and cons and establish what you need from a bathtub.
The most common bathtub material is of course porcelain enameled steel. However, there are bathtubs available in other materials, such as acrylic, ceramic, fiberglass, cast iron, or even a cast polymer like marble, granite, or onyx.
It is important to double-check the weight of the bathtub you choose as this can affect its suitability for your house and can make it difficult to install.
Here is a break-down of the four most common materials:
Porcelain Enameled Steel
Undoubtedly the most popular bathtub material, porcelain is often an inexpensive option. This material is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. You should be aware that the surface can chip if objects are dropped (and rust can form with any chips), they can be noisy if the room is not insulated and can lose heat quickly.
Another popular bathtub material option is acrylic. They are durable, versatile, lightweight, and affordable. The surface is also repairable, unlike some porcelain tubs. Acrylic bathtubs are more expensive than fiberglass ones and the surface can scratch if abrasive cleaners are used.
Fiberglass bathtubs are another affordable option, however, despite being less expensive than acrylic they are also less durable than them too. The finish can also fade and the surface can scratch and crack. On a positive note, fiberglass bathtubs are lightweight, easy to install, and easy to clean and maintain.
Enameled Cast Iron
These bathtubs are well known for being very durable and very heavy in weight. You may require a reinforced floor in order to take the weight of these bathtubs. They do have excellent heat retention, offer a timeless look and the enamel is resistant to chipping and scratching.
Other Aspects to Consider
Another aspect to consider with your bathtub choice is whether you only need a soaking tub or prefer to have one with jets. Jetted tubs can provide soothing hydrotherapy and there are other features like LED lights and built-in speakers available.
Soaking bathtubs are standard and do not have any jets built into the inner sides. These are best suited for long soaks with bath oils or salts. These are the most popular types of bathtubs.
Whirlpool bathtubs can help to relieve soreness and tension in muscles by using water jets. These are the most popular for those considering a bathtub with additional features.
Air bathtubs use air jets and bubbles to massage the body to relax the user.
Combination whirlpool/air bathtubs are just that – a combination of both air and water streams that you can control together for a personalized experience.
Once you have decided on the bathtub for your home, you will need to look into the best plumbing fixtures to go with it. There are a few different options, and they include: wall-mounted faucets, floor mounted, or deck mounted. Here are some general rules to keep in mind when choosing the plumbing fixtures for your bathtub:
Wall-mounted faucets and controls are fantastic for modern bathrooms and work particularly well with freestanding bathtubs. However, these can be used for the other bathtub types so long as there is adequate projection of the faucet. These are also popular for shower/tub combos.
Floor-mounted faucets are only suitable for freestanding bathtubs and can be installed almost anywhere surrounding the bathtub providing it is practical for use in and out of the tub.
Deck-mounted faucets are a common option on the market and are best suited for the built-in bathtub types.
So there you have it! A complete guide to everything you need to know about bathtubs and the various options available. Have you recently installed a new bathtub in your home? I’d love to hear all about your experience and final choice in the comments section below!