Too often, choosing bathtubs is a task that gets tossed aside casually by the bathroom renovator, and homeowners make a quick decision without really considering the consequences.
Only after the tub is installed, and they step into their tub to take a bath do they realize that just a little bit of research could have avoided a bathtub purchase that doesn’t suit their needs. Bathtubs have an approximate lifespan of 50 years – so it’s worth the investment of time and money!
Bathtub Functionality and Size
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a bathtub is comfort. Since tubs are now being designed in numerous different shapes, sizes, and materials, it’s worth your while to head out to a showroom and – quite literally – get in the tub. How else will you know whether the material the tub is made of feels good or if it’s extremely irritating? Not to mention that you don’t want to misjudge how large the tub needs to be, or else you’ll be showering every day, regardless.
Smaller individuals may need a tub with armrests and a contoured back rest, while larger individuals may need a wider tub in order to avoid being uncomfortably wedged into something deep. However, it is also important to consider what exactly the tub will be used for: bathing or soaking.
Common Bathtub Styles
There are a number of different styles of bathtub available on the market, and each one is designed to meet a particular function of bathtub use – such as soaking or bathing.
- Alcoves: These bathtubs are closed on three sides with the front exposed. They are the most common type of bathtub in North America, however this also means that they are available in a limited variety of styles and finishes – mainly because of their simplicity. If your shower is going to be attached to an alcove bathtub, be sure to ask about shower door installation.
Corner: These bathtubs are installed to either stand alone or to fit into the room, between the cabinets. Some types of corner tubs aren’t able to have a shower installed with them, and are often placed on an angled, raised deck in the corner of the room.
Tub/Shower Combination: The bathtub/shower combination is extremely popular, since they guarantee that you can have two functionalities in the same location. Often, a contractor will install ceramic tile around where the tub and shower will go, unless you’re able to purchase a one-piece acrylic unit. These combinations are highly reliable and should last a long time, though cleaning the grout on the tiles can become somewhat tedious.
Specialty Bathtub Styles
Floor-mounted Sunken: These tubs can be costly, since they have extra faucet ledges and surrounding carpentry. They are easier for the user to get into, but the extra step can be somewhat dangerous when wet, and care needs to be taken to ensure safety when entering and exiting the tub. They are excellent bathtubs for soaking in, since they’re deeper models, but the plumbing is typically behind the wall and difficult to access for repair.
Japanese: A Japanese bathtub is the kind of tub someone might consider if they enjoy using their tub almost exclusively for soaking. These tubs are very deep and can immerse the bather up to the neck when sitting, and are available in a variety of materials.
Whirlpool: Whirlpool bathtubs are units for soaking, and are fitted with pumps and jets that function to circulate the water and add a massage to the soaking experience. They are often made of acrylic or cast iron due to the durability, but the comfort level should be tested before purchase – some styles are very compact and may be difficult for larger individuals to use.
Photo by elly, Creative Commons Attribution License