How to Choose a Bathtub: What to Consider in 2022

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Looking to add a bit more color and depth to your bathroom? Well, an easy way to spruce up any bathroom is replacing an old and outdated bathtub.

Here’s what you should consider when choosing a new bathtub:

modern light style bathroom

1. Bathtub Styles

When it comes to bathtubs, there are quite a few styles to accommodate just about any bathroom with each style placing an emphasis on two key factors: space and material. The amount of space you have will largely influence what style is right for you while you may be inclined to an oval shaped freestanding bathtub, you might only have space enough for a round bathtub.

Complimentary to space, the material will also influence the style as some materials are only made with a specific style such as copper and natural stone.

Freestanding Bathtubs

Possibly one of the most popular styles of bathtubs are freestanding and it’s not difficult to see why. Freestanding bathtubs can freely fit just about any space and don’t require connecting walls to be installed. They also provide a more vibrant centerpiece for your bathroom aesthetically compared to most drop-in tubs and are priced quite evenly to the other options on the market.

Regular

The classic look that has existed since the early 1800s and is widely popular, the normal design for clawfoot’ has been changed today with more of a modern flair, taking away the pegged claws on the base and replacing it with a more sleek, uniform look. Though if you wished, the clawfoot design is still being made today if you prefer that style instead. These are traditionally longer and rectangular in shape, requiring more space than the alternatives.

traditional rectangular bathtub

Oval Bathtub 

Contrary to the more classic design of the clawfoot is the oval bathtub. These bathtubs are round in shape and symmetrical, quite similar to a water basin. Quite popular in apartments or smaller homes where space is a premium, these bathtubs have a more modern look that contrasts well against the sharper corners and edges of the rest of your bathroom.

Angled Tub 

Finally, for those with who want something a bit different from the angled or normal design, there’s the angled style. An angled bathtub is slopped slightly higher on one side, with the idea of providing support for your back and neck during the bath. Highly flexible in size, these can be equivalent to an oval bathtub in size or be found larger than both the oval and normal freestanding styles.

angled bathtub

Clawfoot Bathtub 

The traditional bathtub style, a clawfoot is a freestanding bathtub that is supported by four ‘claws’ or legs on the bottom. This design dates back to early Victorian era bathrooms and is still widely popular today.

clawfoot bathtub

Alcove Bathtub 

Alcove or recessed tubs are tubs that are installed in a recess of three connecting walls with one finished side. These bathtubs are generally found in apartments or smaller homes as they don’t take up a lot of space and many can be combined into a shower combo.

alcove bathtub

Corner Tub

Similar to an alcove, but much larger is the corner tub. These are bathtubs that are much wider than the typical alcove bathtub, but the space they fill is similar. Alcove bathtubs are usually installed adjacent to three connecting walls, usually a window. More for relaxation and therapy, these bathtubs are more similar to hot tubs than normal tubs.

corner bathtub

Drop In Bathtub

Undermount bathtubs are installed underneath the surrounding deck or ingress, so it looks more uniform to your bathroom as the rim is hidden. Drop-ins are installed by dropping them in a carved out area then sealed in, so the rim is more visible. Beyond the visual aspects, there isn’t much difference between an undermount and drop-in bathtub. They both save space, they both come in many different styles and material and many of them can be fitted with powered jets for a more relaxing bath experience or combined with a shower for multipurpose use.

drop in bathtub

Soaking/Japanese style

soaking bathtub or ‘Japanese’ style is a bathtub that is typically either oval or circular in shape. Generally a fair bit taller than normal bathtubs, the purpose of these is to sit comfortably in place to allow yourself to soak. These bathtubs also tend to run a wide spectrum of sizes as there are the longer, more elegant styles for larger homes and of course, the much more compact ones for smaller homes. The smaller size is generally more popular as an apartment bathtub.

soaking japanese style

Walk-in

walk-in bathtub is a bathtub that is fitted to allow the user to walk in and sit down without fear of slipping. There are grooves and notches along the insides of the tub to provide walking grip and generally there is also hand holds to assist balance and stability. These are most prominent in homes that have elderly folk as these will allow them to bathe without further assistance.

walk-in bathtub

Whirlpool

whirlpool tub is a bathtub that houses self-contained jets. These jets are either air or water jets, but their primary function is to massage the user for both relaxation and health purposes. Air jet whirlpools contain dozens of small jets that pump warm air through to create air bubbles while water jet whirlpool have fewer but larger jets that push water at high speeds. The primary advantage of a whirlpool tub is that it creates a deeper massage sensation than any other tub on the market.

whirlpool bathtub

Air Tub 

An air tub is a bathtub that is equipped with multiple small jets that blow heated air into the bath water to create a massaging sensation. Although they are quite similar to water whirlpool baths, air tubs use their jets to create a bubbling sensation rather than a deep, massaging sensation.

This results in a bathtub that doesn’t require frequent cleaning, unlike whirlpools. Conversely, air tubs do not retain heat for as long as whirlpool tubs and are more designed for those that want a quick massage rather than a long soak. 

2. Bathtub Materials

There are two factors in choosing the right material for your bathtub, namely price and comfort. Every material feels different to the touch, so you should test out which is the most comfortable to you as you will be spending a significant time in your bathtub and your comfort is important to enjoy it. However, the most comfortable material may also be quite pricey and quite a tad bit heavier, so you should do research on what your bathroom can handle before purchasing.

modern scandinavian bathroom design

Fiberglass

The cheapest bathtub material, fiberglass is constructed from reinforced plastic sheets which are eventually molded into the shape of a bathtub. The material is quite durable although prone to chipping from heavy impacts and it carries the unfortunate trait of being porous. Porous meaning it will absorb water regularly, eventually resulting in the material warping over time and becoming increasingly unstable.

Porcelain

Porcelain is constructed by layering cast iron or stamped steel with a layer of porcelain enamel-a mixture of powdered glass and substrate heated into a durable coating. As a result, these bathtubs are quite durable, and are non-porous, making it so they will not warp or deteriorate over time. The porcelain coating, however, is quite delicate to heavy impacts, so take care not to drop anything on it or you will leave some very noticeable blemishes on its surface.

Acrylic

Similar to fiberglass, acrylic is formed by taking a solid sheet of petrochemicals, stabilizers, resin and appropriate dye, heating it then molding the result into a bathtub shape which is then reinforced with fiberglass. Lightweight and available in many styles and sizes, acrylic is a popular choice for both drop-in and freestanding bathtubs. Although it looks and feels quite similar to fiberglass, the material is non-porous, making its durability much higher than fiberglass. It is also resistant to chipping and heavy impacts, though typically you should still refrain from throwing things at your bathtub.

Ceramic

Ceramic bathtubs are formed by molding numerous ceramic tiles together until it hardens. The benefit of this method of construction is that ceramic is quite similar to clay, meaning it comes in many different styles and sizes, more than any material on the market. The drawback to this is that ceramic must be continually maintained or it will eventually deteriorate and crumble.

Stone Resin

Stone resin is a material composing of crushed natural stone bounded together with adhesive to give you a composite material that has the look and feel of natural stone without the additional weight and added cost. A popular choice as it is a solid middle ground between cost and quality, stone resin offers excellent durability and heat retention while also being non-porous and quite affordable. The only limiting factor with stone resin is that there aren’t a lot of style choices compared to other materials on market.

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