Everything You Need To Know About the Different Types of Bathtubs

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When it comes time to renovate your bathroom, one of the most important decisions you will make is what type of bathtub to choose. There are many different types of bathtubs available with different dimensions, shapes, and materials.

It’s important to choose the right one for your home and lifestyle. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of bathtubs that are available, as well as the different materials and styles of faucets. As I’m sure you are aware that replacing a bathtub can be very stressful, expensive, and time-consuming, so make sure you have all the information before deciding. 

We hope that this information will help you make the best decision for your home!

What To Consider When Buying A Bathtub?

What To Consider When Buying A Bathtub?

What is the main purpose of the bathtub?

The more features you want in your bathtub, the more expensive it will be. Whilst whirlpool baths or air baths have jets that shoot air out, mimicking a massage effect,  standard soaking tubs just get filled with water.

Soaking bathtubs do have extras which are usually limited to arm or headrests for comfort, grab bars, and slip-resistant flooring for safety.

If you are looking for those extra features, then a whirlpool, air bath, or combination tub may be the best option. These tubs include underwater lighting, jets that can be adjusted, aromatherapy features, heated blowers, automatic cleaning systems, and many more.

Naturally, the more features you add, the higher the cost of the bathtub.

Can your floor handle the weight?

Bathtubs come in different weights. A plastic bathtub is much lighter than a cast-iron one. If you choose a heavier tub, ensure your floors can support the weight. When you add up the weight of the tub, water, and people, it may be necessary to reinforce the floor with support or to brace.

Also, If your bathroom is on the second floor, it might not be possible to put it there due to the excessive weight.

Is your water heater good enough?

If you are considering buying a large bathtub, then you will need to remember that it will directly affect how much money you spend on water bills each month. A typical bathtub usually holds about two-thirds hot water and one-third cold water.

If you heat your water via a hot-water tank, make sure it is able to cope with the larger amount of water required.

How big is your bathroom?

Before you buy a bathtub, you need to think about if your bathroom has the space. The standard tub measures 60 inches in length, 30 inches in width, and 14 inches high. But of course, there are many different shapes and sizes of bathtubs available, as you will see below.

To find the right one for you, measure your bathroom and doorways. Make sure the drain is in a good spot for the tub you choose. Not all bathtubs can accommodate a shower, so think about that before buying.

Also Read: Different Types of Bathtubs and How To Measure Bathtub Size for a Perfect Fit

Alcove Bathtubs

Alcove Bathtubs

The alcove bathtub is the most popular type of bathtub on the market. This tub is designed to fit into a three-sided alcove, which makes it a great option for small bathrooms. Alcove bathtubs are available in both simple and luxury styles.

The simple alcove bathtub is typically made from porcelain or enameled steel, and it has a basic rectangular shape. The luxury alcove bathtub is usually made from cast iron or acrylic, and it often has features such as built-in seats and jets.

What We Liked

  • Perfect for small size bathrooms
  • Cost-effective
  • Standard sizing

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • Requires a wall surround
  • No flexibility in positioning

Simple Alcove Bathtub

Simple Alcove Bathtub

Luxury Alcove Bathtub

Luxury Alcove Bathtub

Freestanding Bathtubs

If you have a large bathroom, you may want to consider a freestanding bathtub. This type of tub is not attached to any walls, which gives you the freedom to place it wherever you want in your bathroom.

Freestanding bathtubs are available in a variety of materials, including cast iron, acrylic, and stone. Some freestanding bathtubs even come with their own pedestals or bases.

Clawfoot Bathtubs

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub

Modern Solid Base Freestanding Tub

Modern Solid Base Freestanding Tub

Clawfoot tubs are a type of freestanding bathtub that is supported by four legs, or “claws.” These tubs are usually made from cast iron or acrylic, and they come in a variety of styles.

Round “Soup Bowl” freestanding tub

Round “Soup Bowl” freestanding tub

Freestanding in an alcove

Freestanding in an alcove

Clawfoot bathtubs are often considered to be more luxurious than other types of tubs, and they can be supported by four legs. This style of the tub was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

What We Liked

  • Very Elegant
  • Open and airy experience

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • Requires large bathroom space
  • Plumbing can be exposed

Built-In / Drop-In Bathtubs

Standard built-in tub

American Standard 2392202.020 Princeton 60 in. x 30 in. Americast Above-Floor Rough-In Bathtub with Left Drain and Built-In Overflow, White

Step-up drop-in

Step-up drop-in

A drop-in bathtub is a tub that fits into a specially-made deck that sticks out in any bathroom. The tub is finished on the inside. However, the outside of the tub has an unfinished look because it will be covered up by the deck.

Most likely, you will need to have a carpenter build a deck or peninsula. The tub then drops into that structure. Drop-in tubs come with their own rim, which is usually used to place your shampoo and other solutions.

Corner Triangle built-in tub

Corner Triangle built-in tub

Corner Rectangle built-in tub

Corner Rectangle built-in tub

These tubs can be installed in an alcove but most often are installed in a more open area. As such, they usually require more floor space than alcoves and can cost a little more.

Drop-in bathtubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be either rectangular, triangular, or oval and give your bathroom a more luxurious finished look.

What We Liked

  • It has a luxurious look to it.
  • It has space around it.

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • It cannot be easy to install by yourself.
  • Extra expense for a carpenter.
  • It needs a spacious bathroom.

Hot Tub / Whirlpool / Spa Bathtubs

Outdoor hot tub / spa

Woman bathing in hot tub at mountains

Indoor hot tub / spa

Rear view of woman in hot tub or whirlpool in spa

A hot tub is a large tub used for relaxation, hydrotherapy, or simply just pleasure. Most hot tubs have jets for massaging and are sometimes also known as spas or, by the trade name, Jacuzzi.

Most hot tubs seat four to six people, but some can seat up to ten. There are also smaller versions that seat two people. Hot tubs can be used indoors or outdoors.

Hot tubs are usually made out of acrylic, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, porcelain-enameled steel, stainless steel, or wood. They are powered by electricity or natural gas. The water is heated by a gas heater or an electric element.

What We Liked

  • Heated water for a relaxing experience
  • The Jets can provide a massage
  • It can be used indoors or outdoors

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • A lot of water is required to fill up
  • Requires a lot of electricity or gas to operate
  • It can be very expensive to purchase and maintain

Garden tubs

Bathtub on ground grass with forest garden background

Garden tubs are one of the most luxurious options for a soaking bathtub. They are large and freestanding, so you can soak in them. They used to be put outside, but now they are being used inside in a variety of places.

If you have the luxury of space, then you could have a garden tub with steps and jets in it with accessories like steam showers, waterfall shower heads, towel heaters, and bathroom fireplaces.

Japanese Style Tub

Japanese-style tub made from ceramic

Japanese style tub made from wood

Japanese style tub made from wood

The Japanese soaking tub is a deep bathtub meant for relaxation and contemplation. It usually has a built-in seat and is not meant for washing, which would be done in a separate area. The tubs come in many different shapes but are usually cylindrical. They were originally made of wood but are now available in acrylic, fiberglass, steel, or copper.

A few Japanese soaking tubs are more than 4 feet in diameter so that they can fit in bathrooms of almost any size. Most homes will use it as a centerpiece where it will be most appreciated. The tub will come with a central drain, but faucets will have to be standalone.

Usually, the tubs tend to be between 30 and 36 inches tall, so entering and exiting the bath may require some assistance.

What We Liked

  • Deep soaking experience.
  • Comfortable seating.
  • It can be made from a variety of materials.

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • It can be more expensive than other types of tubs.
  • Tubs made from porous materials can be difficult to keep clean.

Walk-In Tub

A walk-in tub is a type of bathtub that has a door to walk through in order to get into the tub. They are designed for people who have trouble getting in and out of a regular bathtub. Most walk-in tubs have doors that open outward, but some models have doors that open inward.

Walk-in tubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are usually larger than a standard bathtub. They also have more features than a regular bathtub, such as jets for hydrotherapy, heated seats, and built-in showers.

What We Liked

  • The door makes it easy to get in and out
  • Perfect for seniors or people with back issues
  • Many walk-in tubs have features like jets and heated seats.

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • Walk-in tubs can be more expensive than other types of tubs.
  • They usually require more space than a regular bathtub.
  • You will need to wait until the water has drained before exiting the tub.

Jetted Tubs

Jetted tubs are basically like hot tubs, and they have jets that have a massaging effect allowing them to soothe sore muscles. There are two types of jetted bathtubs: whirlpools and air bathtubs.

Whirlpool uses water through the jets, while the air bathtubs use compressed air to create bubbles. These types of tubs are beneficial to people who suffer from chronic pain or arthritis.

What We Liked

  • The jets can provide a massage
  • It can be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Extremely relaxing.

What We Didn’t Like So Much

  • A lot of water is required to fill up.
  • Requires a lot of electricity or gas to operate
  • It can be very expensive to purchase and maintain

Different Bathtub materials

The best quality bathtubs will be made from the highest quality materials, regardless of the style. Before deciding between standard tubs or freestanding bathtubs, make sure you find out what kind of material the tub is made out of.

Some materials will have a much longer lifespan than others, while other materials may be easier to keep clean.

1. Plastic

There are two types of plastic bathtubs: fiberglass and acrylic. Both are very flexible in terms of the shapes they can be fabricated into. They insulate well and feel warm when you touch the surface, meaning the water stays warmer for longer compared to enameled steel or cast-iron tubs.

Plastic tubs are also the lightest, weighing only 60-70 pounds. Chipping may not be an issue; however, plastic tubs do not take kindly to abrasive cleaners and can damage the surface.

2. Enameled Steel

Steel bathtubs that are coated with porcelain-enamel are the cheapest type of bathtub. However, this material has some downsides: it conducts heat, resulting in the water cooling very quickly, and it is likely to chip easily, not to mention the weight issue with this material.

3. Cast Iron

Cast-iron tubs have an enamel coating that makes them less likely to chip than steel tubs. They also heat up water quickly and keep it warmer for much longer than steel tubs.

However, they are much heavier than steel tubs weighing from 350-500 pounds, so they may not be suitable for installation on the second floor.

4. Cast Polymer

Cast-polymer tubs look like granite, marble, or onyx and come in different solid colors. They cost more than acrylic tubs, but their surface doesn’t wear as well. Cast-polymer tubs generally have a gel-coat finish which can crack over time.

5. Composite

Composite bathtubs are made of a combination of materials, like carbon fiber, plastic, and resin. This results in the tub being light but very strong. Generally, the floors in multi-story apartments are not able to hold heavier tubs, so composite tubs are the perfect solution.

Coated with a fine layer of enamel to give a glossy, smooth finish. However, unlike the other tubs, this type of tub needs to be properly looked after and regularly cleaned to avoid build-up or chips.

6. Cultured Solid-Surface

Cultured solid-surface tubs are constructed with a rock mixture and polyester resin. After the rocks are crushed, they are then mixed with the liquid resin. This material is very strong and durable and does not require much maintenance.

A cultured solid-surface tub, unlike its counterparts, is mildew and mold-resistant, making it extremely beneficial for people who may have allergies.

7. Glass Tub

Glass tubs have become very popular in recent times due to their unique appearance. They look sophisticated and can make a bathroom seem more luxurious. However, they need a lot of care and maintenance after every use, so they may not be suitable for everyone.

8. Wood

Wood tubs have been around for centuries, and they are usually made with strips of wood that are molded into round, oval, or oblong shapes. It is rustic and looks good. Wood bathtubs cost around $2,000.

The wax seal will last for several years, but after a while, the wood will start to break down with regular use. Wood bathtubs are not seen as lasting investments like copper bathtubs.

9. Copper

A freestanding copper bathtub can be a great feature in both traditional and contemporary schemes. It is an impressive sight, and it can also be a costly investment, with prices ranging from $2,000 up to $10,000.

As well as having antimicrobial properties meaning it can kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, copper is a great conductor of heat, which means that when the bath is filled, the water will be evenly warm throughout, and it will also stay hotter for longer.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different types of bathtubs to choose from. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Be sure to consider all your options before making a decision on which type of tub is right for you. Thanks for reading!

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