Choosing a Bathtub

People often underestimate the importance of selecting the right bath tub. Surprisingly, most people spend a large amount of their time in their bathrooms. Bathtub sizes can range from 40 to 85 inches in length, 22 to 72 inches in width and 12 to 32 inches in depth. Deeper tubs are more suitable for soaking, and some larger tubs are designed to accommodate more than one person.

If you are remodeling or renovating your existing bathroom, you need to give much thought to the size, shape, color and other features of your bathtub. These should all also fit into the space you have in your house.


Tub Considerations

There are a few things which need to be addressed before you decide on the size of your tub. Your flooring and framing must be able to support the tub. Cast-iron tubs, whirlpools, soaking tubs, and sunken tubs often require additional support. Also remember that the tub will be filled with water, so water volume must be taken into consideration as well. 

Style and Configuration

There are two most common styles of tubs for the home, built-in and free-standing tubs. Built-in tubs can be alcove, drop-in, or corner style. An alcove tub is standard in most homes and is typically five feet long and rectangular. Alcove tubs are surrounded on three sides, with an exposed front but less finished surface than a free-standing tub, so they are often less expensive. Alcove models are often tub-shower combinations with waterproof surrounding walls. 

Drop-in tubs are sunken into the floor or a tub deck, and are not recommended for those with mobility challenges. These that are mounted into their own frame or deck will require additional carpentry or framework, which can add to the overall cost of the tub. Corner model built-ins are installed in the corner, with surrounds on two sides. 

 A free-standing tub has legs or ball-and-claw feet. These tubs frequently have rolled edges and angled backs for soaking. Freestanding tubs have exposed pipes, making them easier to install and service than built-ins. Unless aiming to enhance the structural support, there is no additional tile work, carpentry, or framework required with freestanding tubs. 

Bathtub Composition

  •  Porcelain on steel (POS) 

The most common bathtub material and is resistant to corrosion, acid, and abrasion. They are light and moderately priced. However, they have the tendency to rust if the porcelain gets chipped or cracked. 

  •  Fiberglass

Also called gel-coated fiberglass, fiberglass tubs are one the least expensive tub materials. Although fiberglass can be repaired fairly easily, it is not the most durable product, and is prone to fading and scratching in as little as 10 years. 

  •  Acrylic tubs 

Prone to wear and scratching over time. Scratches in an acrylic tub can typically be buffed out, and there are products on the market to bring back the acrylic gloss. Acrylic is resistant to chemicals, but corrosive chemicals that can break down the chemical bonds in the acrylic are not recommended. Acrylic is a popular choice for whirlpool baths and soaking tubs, as the lighter material compensates for the larger size and overall weight of the filled tub. 

  •  Enameled cast iron 

While it is one of the most expensive, enameled cast iron tubs are very durable and should last indefinitely with proper care. It is resistant to chipping and scratching

Other material options include solid surfacing and natural stone, such as marble and granite. The natural stone tubs are also considered very high end.