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Bathtub Buying Guide - Here’s How to Pick Out the Perfect Tub

Bathtub Buying Guide - Here’s How to Pick Out the Perfect Tub

A bathroom tub is an essential part of any bathroom. A bathtub can serve as a fashionable focal point or it can be simply functional. Do you want a tub you can soak in for ultimate relaxation or a practical tub to accommodate a smaller space? Whatever your needs, there is a bathtub to suit your lifestyle.

Types of Tubs

There are a wide range of bathtubs to choose from when updating your bathroom. When selecting a tub, consider how you’ll use it, how much space you have and where the existing plumbing is located.

Also think about style. Do you prefer a modern aesthetic? Is your style transitional or truly classic? Which tub type will help you to achieve your dream bathroom?

Freestanding Bathtub

A freestanding bathtub stands alone and sits directly on the floor. You can place it anywhere in the bathroom as long as it is near the plumbing lines.

A freestanding bathtub:

  • Makes a striking focal point in the centre of a bathroom
  • Also looks beautiful placed against a wall or by a window
  • Comes in sleek, modern designs and classic styles
  • Can feature exposed plumbing for an eye-catching look

Clawfoot Tub

A clawfoot tub is a type of freestanding tub that brings classic style to a bathroom. It sits on feet rather than flush on the floor. You can place this tub anywhere as long as it is near the plumbing lines.

A clawfoot tub:

  • Brings instant charm to a bathroom
  • Complements a wide variety of décor styles
  • Features exposed plumbing for an eye-catching look

Alcove Bathtub

An alcove tub, also known as a recessed tub, is the most common type. It is often the easiest to install or replace.

An alcove bathtub:

  • Installs into a three-wall recessed nook
  • Is a space-efficient and affordable option
  • Comes in a variety of lengths with the drain on the left or right side

Tub Shower

A tub shower combines the convenience of a bathtub and shower into one.

A tub shower:

  • Offers a space-saving design
  • Are available as a molded 1-piece unit or multi-piece kits
  • Often features integrated shelving, grab bars and more for added convenience
  • May include shower doors

Tub Materials

Consider these common materials when picking your perfect tub:

Acrylic Bathtub

An acrylic bathtub is lightweight and easy to clean. The material is thick and unlikely to chip but can become scratched. Acrylic bathtubs come in a wide variety of shape, styles and colours. This is an easy-to-install, affordable and popular choice.

Gel Coat Fiberglass Bathtub

A gel coated fibreglass tub is lightweight and easy to install. It is an extremely affordable option. Gel coated fibreglass is prone to scratches, cracks and fading but can be repaired.

Enameled Steel Bathtub

An enameled steel bathtub is affordable, durable and easy to clean. The enamel may chip, which can require more costly repairs. A steel bathtub doesn’t offer as much style versatility as acrylic, and because steel conducts heat, tub water tends to cool.

Cast Iron Bathtub

A cast iron bathtub is extremely durable, long lasting and low maintenance. It retains heat well for a comfortable soak. Cast iron, however, is extremely heavy and may require added floor reinforcement and professional installation. While it is more expensive, this is a good choice if you plan to use it for the long run.

Bathtub Breakdown

While they may come in a wide array of styles, bathtubs share many common features. The Main Parts of a Tub

The three main parts of a bathroom tub are:

Faucet location: The location for the faucet may vary, and it may have one, two or three installation holes. Some tubs may require floor or wall-mount faucets.

Overflow: A small hole located at the top of the tub that is connected to the drain system. It helps to prevent overflowing if water is left running.

Drain: Located on the bottom of the tub for water drainage.

Must-Have Bathtub Accessories

When you install a new bathtub, you’ll also want to look at tub accessories. Consider their finish and style to create a cohesive look.

Tub Doors: If you have a tub and shower, you might want to consider a bathtub door. It’s an alternative to curtains and can provide a modern look. Bathtub doors come in various finishes, in frame or frameless designs and with features such as soft close and reversible left and right opening.

A tub shield is another option. It provides a clean, open space while still keeping the water in the tub. A tub shield often comes with a pivoting panel for easy use.

NOTE: Make sure the bathtub doors are compatible with your tub.

Spouts: Choose a bathtub spout in the style, size and with the functionality you want.

Accessories: Browse bathtub accessories like overflow washers and plates to make sure you have everything you need!

Size and Installation Considerations for Bathroom Tubs

Start off on the right foot prior to installation by reviewing the following questions:

  • Are you using existing plumbing? This makes renovation easier but requires you to place the tub in the existing location.
  • If you are changing the tub location, are you prepared to move drains, plumbing lines or cabinets or knock down walls if needed?
  • If you are planning to install a tub shower, is the plumbing on the right or left? You’ll need to know this when you buy/order as tub showers come in left and right plumbing models.
  • What size bathtub do you want? A standard tub is 60 inches long, 30 inches wide and 14 inches deep. You may prefer an oversized tub if you are taller or want a luxurious deeper tub design.
  • Does your newly chosen bathtub fit into the existing alcove?
  • Is your water heater large enough to heat your new tub?
  • If you are installing a jetted bathtub, make sure to plan for the pump and electrical requirements.

To Replace or Repair?

Bathtub replacement can update the look and feel of your bathroom. If your tub’s in fairly good condition, a simple touch-up may freshen it up. Bathtub refinishing or reglazing, or lining your tub is a great way to address chips and stains without taking on a full replacement.

However, if your tub is leaking or cracked you may want to replace it. Or you may want to update the room’s design. A tub can go a long way to updating your bathroom’s aesthetic.

Freestanding Versus Built-In? Which One is Right for You?

Consider the following factors when deciding between a freestanding or built-in style of bathtub.

Freestanding Tub

  • Versatile and extremely stylish
  • Comes in a wide range of styles
  • May be moved or replaced easily without structural changes
  • More placement options within the room since it doesn’t need to be placed against a wall
  • Requires skilled plumbing but not additional framing or tiling
  • New reno size options can allow it to fit in the alcove of an existing tub
  • Generally pricier than a built-in tub
  • May require new plumbing and therefore be difficult to install

**Built-in Tub **

  • Space efficient as it sits flush against a wall
  • Generally more affordable
  • More easily incorporates a shower and wall storage than a freestanding bathtub
  • Fewer design options and less flexibility of placement than a freestanding bathtub

Are you looking to create a spa-like oasis in your master bathroom? Or a practical setup for the whole family that maximizes space? Choose a terrific tub from our versatile assortment to help achieve your ideal bathroom.