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What Should I Look for When Buying a Bathtub?

A white bathtub next to a window

The tub is where many people go to relax. That is why buying a bathtub is a big decision because it can be a hefty investment for your home. Take a look at these eight things to consider when buying a bathtub!

Lifestyle

The first thing to consider when shopping for a bathtub is your lifestyle. How will you use your tub, and who will use it? Do you need something you can soak in comfortably, bathe the kids, or that is easily accessible to people with limited mobility? Do you want a beautiful bathtub that makes a statement, or do you want a regular everyday bathtub? Whatever your needs, there are bathtubs perfect for every situation.

Space

Now that you’ve considered you needs, look at the space you’re working with and decide what you have room for in your bathroom. For example, do you have a small bathroom and need a more compact tub, or do you have the space for something bigger?

Size

Large bathtubs are popular, but again consider your space and your hot water tank. Most homes have a 40-50 gallon water heater, if you buy a large 60-80 gallon tub, your water heater won’t be able to support the hot water needs of your tub, much less the rest of your home.

Measure your space and the bathtub carefully. Some tubs, such as alcove tubs, need exact measurements to fit into their assigned places.

an illustration of bathtub measurement

Types of Bathtubs

There are many different types of bathtubs. Your needs and budget will help you decide which tub is best for you.

Alcove Bathtubs

Alcove tubs are the most popular type of bathtubs. The tub has one finished and three unfinished sides, and it fits into a nook with the three unfinished sides touching the bathroom’s walls.

Pros: Easy to install, space-efficient.

Cons: Not stylish, small, measurements have to be exact.

Freestanding Bathtubs

The great thing about freestanding bathtubs is you can install them anywhere you want, as long as the appropriate plumbing is there to accommodate the tub.

Pros: Beautiful, elegant, increase the value of your home, come in many shapes and sizes.

Cons: Take up a lot of space, no shelves or storage, hassle to clean, can be difficult to install.

Walk-In Bathtubs

Walk-in bathtubs are an excellent choice for people with limited mobility. These tubs feature a watertight door, a shelf to sit on, and grab handles for extra support and safety. In addition, most walk-in tubs have jets to aid pain relief and relaxation.

Pros: Accessibility and safety features, comfortable, jetted, compact.

Con: Expensive

Corner Bathtubs

Corner tubs are exactly what they sound like, bathtubs that fit into the corner of your bathroom. They are usually triangular but can come in any shape desired.

Pros: Stylish, work great in some small bathrooms, have a wide variety of features and styles.

Cons: Can be expensive, aren’t readily available in most stores.

Whirlpool/Jetted Bathtubs

These tubs push air and water jets throughout the tub, creating a massaging sensation and causing whirlpools to form.

Pros: Relaxing, combines with other tub types.

Cons: Expensive

Read Also: Whirlpool Bathtub

Drop-In Bathtubs

Drop-in tubs are installed inside a raised platform or deck leaving their rim flush with the deck.

Pros: Stylish, can be placed anywhere with needed plumbing and deck.

Cons: Can be expensive, take up a lot of space.

Bathtub/Shower Combo

Bathtub and shower combinations are found in many homes.

Pros: Saves space, is multifunctional, showers can be added to most tub types.

Cons: Can be expensive.

Read Also: Rub-A-Dub-Dub! Want to Buy a Tub?

How to choose the right bathtub shape?

When choosing which shape bathtub is right for you, consider your bathroom’s space, location of drain and pipes, and comfort.

The size of your bathroom is a huge factor that helps you choose the size and shape of your tub. Alcove tubs, corner tubs, or walk-in tubs can be compact and work great in small spaces.

The plumbing holes on your new bathtub need to match the plumbing in your bathroom.

Do you enjoy soaking? Take tubs for a dry run; lay in them before you buy one. Is the tub’s shape comfortable on your back?

a showroom displaying bathtubs, lighting fixtures, and plumbing fixtures.

Material

Bathtubs are made out of several different types of materials. Bathtubs that are more readily available are made out of fiberglass, porcelain, and acrylic, while bathtubs that will most likely need to be specially ordered are made out of ceramic, stone resin, cast iron, copper, cultured stone, and wood.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is reinforced plastic made from layers of tiny interwoven glass strings heated together, then molded, shaped, and coated with a resin gel.

Pros: Affordable, easy to install, easily repaired.

Cons: Brittle, porous, crack easily, tend to warp, the color/ finish wear over time.

Porcelain

Porcelain bathtubs are constructed from a base of iron, steel, glass, or tile. The bathtub is then covered with a layer of porcelain enamel and temperature fired to make the enamel coating hard and more durable.

Pros: Maintain a beautiful sheen and a smooth surface, stylish, easy to maintain, affordable, scratch-resistant.

Cons: Can be slippery, don’t hold heat well, chip easily.

Acrylic

Acrylic bathtubs are made using vacuumed sheets of acrylic, which are reinforced with fiberglass.

Pros: Not porous, holds heat well, easy to clean, repels mold and general staining.

Cons: Tends to warp, prone to scratching, can be expensive.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile bathtubs are shaped using ceramic tiles then heated at high temperatures to harden. The cost depends on tile choice, size, and bathtub style.

Pros: Many options for shape, size, and style.

Cons: May feel uneven or bumpy and require a lot of maintenance.

Stone Resin

Stone resin is meant to mimic the look of natural stone.

Pros: Stylish, hold heat well, aren’t porous, long life spans, durable, 100% recyclable, color doesn’t fade, easily maintained.

Cons: Expensive

Cast Iron

Cast iron bathtubs are created by pouring molten iron into a bathtub mold, smoothing it out, and then covering it in a layer of enamel.

Pros: Very durable, scratch and chip resistant, easily maintained, high heat retention.

Cons: Heavy and expensive.

Copper

Copper bathtubs are made by hammering thick layers of copper together and curving them to form a bathtub.

Pros: Beautiful, durable, scratch and chip-resistant, and easily maintained.

Cons: Not available in most stores, heavy, expensive.

Cultured Stone

Cultured stone bathtubs are made by crushing chunks of stone, mixing them with resin, and then molding them into a bathtub. The tub is then finished with a gel coat.

Pros: Easily customizable, retain heat well, scratches are easily repaired with car wax.

Cons: Heavy, expensive, require a lot of maintenance.

Wooden

Wooden bathtubs are unique and handmade, often out of cedar. Although stylish, if underused, the wood will dry up, causing it to rot, and if the tub is overused, the excess water will cause the wood to rot.

Pros: Beautiful, holds heat well, customizable.

Cons: Deteriorate quicker than other tubs, require high maintenance.

a green bathtub at a showroom

What is the most durable material for a bathtub?

The most durable bathtub material is cast iron. These tubs are scratch and chip resistant, easy to maintain, and have excellent heat retention meaning your bath water will stay hotter longer.

Does weight pose a problem?

Yes, weight can pose a problem. Your house needs structural supports capable of handling heavier bathtubs, such as cast iron, copper, and cultured stone tubs. Consult a contractor, they can reinforce your floor to support the tub’s weight.

Buying a bathtub can be a stressful process. Start by deciding what you need, then assess what you have space for in your bathroom. Next, look at your budget and determine if you want extra features or luxuries.

Are you looking to buy a bathtub in Lafayette, LA? Schedule an appointment with Facets of Lafayette and let our team help you. We have a large selection of bathtubs and a knowledgeable staff ready to serve you.

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