Choosing a bathtub

Bathtubs are important fixtures. Nothing relaxes like a warm bath, and nothing sooths like soaking in a tub with salts, scents, and maybe some jetting to massage tired muscles.

But for as many bathtubs fill homes coast to coast in America, there should be more conversations about what makes a bathtub work well. And frankly, it’s a conversation we think is an important design consideration for every home. Bathtubs are large, sometimes heavy, and require substantial work to install. It makes sense to forward think your home’s bathtub choices.

In this article we talk about bathtub selections. By the end you should know types of tubs, their design intents, and some basic thoughts on what type of bathtub would be right for your home.

Basic bathtub considerations

Sizing a bathtub is the first thing to look at. With bathtub sizes there’s more than meets the eye. First, there’s the outside height, width, and length. These measurements must fit into the bathtub enclosure and the other framing in that bathroom. These measurements must also be within the measurements of your door opening to the bathroom.

Next, the bathtub’s bathing-well dimensions make for comfort and use. The bathing-well is the distance from the floor of the bathtub to side’s top and the inside length and width of the tub. Finally, water height is from the tub floor to the bathtub overflow.

Each of these bathtub sizing considerations affect the use, and the comfort of your bathtub.

Bathtub types and designs

  • Free standing bathtubs
  • Drop in and deck bathtubs
  • Two-person center drain bathtub
  • One-person end drain bathtub
  • Alcove bathtub
  • Undermount bathtub
  • Japanese style
  • Walk-in bathtub
  • Cast iron
  • Ceramic
  • Fiberglass

Bathtub use and comfort

We’ve identified six typical uses for home bathtubs. Each use is a different type of tub and needs specific framing for the bathtub alcove. Within each category you can find various sizes, price points, and construction material.

If you have a generous amount of bathroom space to work with, the sky is the limit for design options. Keep in mind though, that when you’re looking at some of the free-standing tubs on the market today you need to pay attention to the weight.  If the tub is heavier than average, your flooring may need engineered support. This isn’t always feasible in a remodel, but if you’re building new you can work it out with your architect or builder.

Six typical home bathtub uses

  • Traditional bathtubs and showers
  • Bathtubs for one, bathtubs for two
  • Deep soaking bathtubs
  • Whirlpool tubs
  • Bathtub with jets
  • Bathtub for the elderly

Choosing a bathtub for your home and family

You can see now that there are many more decisions you can make about the type of bathtub you put into your home’s bathroom. Homes change with the lifestyles inside them. Much of the decision may be driven by functionality over esthetics or luxury. Regardless, each category we’ve discussed has considerations.

Free-standing bathtubs

Free-standing tubs range from vintage clawfoot designs to elegantly crafted marble and ceramic. Free standing bathtubs need no alcove and stand alone on the flooring of your bathroom. Obviously, you’ll need to have a good-sized bathroom to make one work well. And, as we said above, free-standing tubs can get heavy. You might have to consult an engineer or architect and make sure your flooring can support it.

Drop in or deck mount bathtubs

Drop-in bathtubs come in virtually any shape or size. They are designed to fit an elevated, enclosed surface. The bathtub itself sits on the floor but is hidden by its enclosure. The enclosure can be designed into any décor including tile, rock, or granite.

The bathtub’s deck can be as large as the designer decides. These types of tubs work well with spa configurations because options are endless.

Undermount bathtubs

Undermount bathtubs are contemporary designs that hide the bathtub’s ridges below the deck. Like any undermount fixture the flanges and rim of the bathtub are designed to mate with the top surface which is sealed to prevent leakage.

When you consider undermount bathtubs make sure the controls are installed to prevent clearance issues or installed at the final installation to make sure there’s no issue with fit.

Traditional alcove bathtubs

Traditional alcove bathtubs are the most common bathtubs in new construction and remodeling. Although there are some esthetic design choices, alcove bathtubs serve as a functional family bathing fixture.

Alcove bathtubs are designed to fit into bathroom framing with a simple water wall servicing the faucets. If you have enough space, a nice upgrade for a traditional alcove bathtub could be a bathtub for two. It is also very possible to get a traditional alcove bathtub with water or air jets.

Japanese style bathtubs

Japanese style bathtubs are small and deep. They have seating ledges that allow you to sit and enjoy the deep water and any jet action the bathtub has. Size makes the Japanese style bathtubs interesting. Like a drop-in bathtub or undermount bathtub, the Japanese style bathtub has a deck that allows you to sit along the edge of the tub. But unlike their larger cousins, Japanese bathtubs are smaller and can fit into a smaller bathroom space.

If you’re thinking you haven’t the space for a drop in or undermount spa bathtub, check out options in the Japanese bathtub styles.

Walk in bathtubs and bathtubs for the elderly

Walk in bathtubs and bathtubs for the elderly are designed for easy access. They are deep with a smaller footprint allowing them to easily retrofit most any bathroom.

Walk in bathtubs have a watertight door seal that allows you to open the door and step into the tub. The tubs often have jetting and heating features for relaxation and enjoyment.

The many bathtub choices

We mentioned above that when considering bathtubs there are many choices consumers take for granted. The possibilities with materials, functions, and designs are virtually endless. If you’re looking to upgrade or remodel your existing bathtub, or you’re looking for ideas on new construction, be sure to consider all your bathtub options.

And you can always call us here at Fountain plumbing in Tyler, Texas for a hand. We’ve been helping homeowners around town for years with a commitment to satisfaction. Give us a call and let us show you how we earn every customer’s trust, and business.

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