Choosing a new tub is a fun endeavor! Still, you have several elements to consider beyond aesthetics. Among them are tub sturdiness, heat retention, your available space, and maintenance costs.
For instance, a tub’s water demand can overwork your water heater, necessitating a larger one.
Some bathtub styles require more power. Another factor is whether a tub needs professional installation.
By reading this post, you’ll learn what’s best for your situation. Then, you can anticipate delightful baths!
In this article we’ll discuss and describe several types of bathtubs for your home, so let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Types of Bathtubs by Material
- Bathtub Types by Placement or Access
- Bathtub Types by Comfort Features
- Bathing Bliss
Types of Bathtubs by Material
Does an affordable price top your wish list? If so, consider fiberglass, the least costly of all tub materials. This bath consists of reinforced plastic covered with a gelcoat resin.
Fiberglass tubs have an extensive range of sizes, shapes, and styles. Since they suit the dimensions of most bathrooms, they’re easy and cheap to install.
They’re also lightweight, sparing your floor of needing bolstering. Meanwhile, the resinous coating lends a lovely shine.
With the right maintenance, your fiberglass tub should last from 10-15 years. To prolong its lifespan, replace the gelcoat periodically.
Fiberglass tubs lack sturdiness. Despite their resinous coatings, heavy hits leave fissures and dents.
Since fiberglass is porous, water can seep through, causing warping over time. Moisture can also spawn mold, mildew, and floor damage.
Moreover, fiberglass doesn’t hold heat well. Do you relax by taking long baths? If so, you may need to add warm water while soaking. In turn, the increased water use will raise your utility bills.
Meanwhile, the tub finish can peel. That’s because the gelcoat is sprayed on the surface. For this reason, the lacquer’s thickness may vary in places. In turn, its color may not be uniform, resulting in spotting and gradual fading.
Fiberglass tubs are budget-friendly, adapting to any size bathroom. Yet, they’re susceptible to peeling, fading, and warping. As such, they often need replacing in 10 to 15 years.
2. Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron
This classic beauty is cast iron bonded to porcelain and coated with enamel.
A cast iron tub is tops in durability! Due to the enamel coating, the surfaces defy stains, scratches, chipping, and heavy impact. With the proper care, a cast iron tub can last up to 70 years.
Meanwhile, it has fabulous heat retention! Thus, you can bask in lengthy soaks.
These tubs are cumbersome, weighing from 300 to 500 pounds! Due to their titanic bulk, cast iron baths are the toughest to install.
First, carrying and positioning the tub is quite the chore, taking several brawny men. Secondly, you’ll likely need to augment your flooring. Hence, a cast iron bath is best for ground-level installation.
Enameling the tub raises production costs. For this reason, cast iron tubs are pricey. Also, keep in mind that heavy objects can chip the enamel. Repairing the damage adds further expense.
A cast iron tub is charming! Still, you must ensure that your bathroom floor can take the hulking weight.
Furthermore, cast iron tubs are the most costly on the market. Even so, they have superior durability, lasting for up to 100 years. Thus, a cast iron bath has enduring value.
Comprising this tub are plastic sheets reinforced with fiberglass. Manufacturers form the sheets over a mold, vacuum-sealing them in place.
This production method makes acrylic much stronger than fiberglass alone. Moreover, the resultant material is non-porous, repelling water absorption.
Hence, the surfaces stay sleek and shiny, not warping and peeling with time. They also withstand heavy impact better than most other tub materials. Meanwhile, acrylic retains heat, ensuring balmy bathing.
Acrylic tubs average 100 pounds in weight. Thus, they’re a breeze to install, contributing to their low cost.
Since molding frames vary, acrylic baths have more shapes and styles than any other tub material! They also come in a broad color palette.
While acrylic tubs are robust, fending off dents, they often show stains and scratches. So, for aesthetic purposes, you may want to replace your bath within 10 to 15 years.
Acrylic tubs are economical, durable, lightweight, and easily installed. Choose from a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors. Yet, they’re vulnerable to scratches and discoloration, reducing their longevity.
Copper baths are spectacular! Both their gleam and hues summon awe. Typically, they’re hand-crafted by heating copper sheets and forging them into a bathtub shape.
Copper’s warm color adds coziness to your restroom. As the metal ages, its luster or “patina” mellows and deepens.
Meanwhile, copper excels at retaining heat, prolonging your bathing comfort. Furthermore, it resists scratches, dents, bacteria, and mold.
Amazingly, if scratches do occur, they vanish with time, replaced by the rich patina. Moreover, copper tubs don’t rust or corrode.
They’re also low-maintenance. You won’t need to clean your tub with antibacterial, abrasive, or harsh products. Instead, after bathing, simply dry the wet surfaces with a towel.
Copper tubs have a huge selection of styles. Since most are custom-made, you can specify the features you desire. Finishes vary, ranging from chestnut brown to bright pink, like that of a shiny new penny.
Note that you can recycle copper, making it eco-friendly.
Copper tubs are intensely heavy. So, before buying one, ensure that your bathroom floor can take the weight of a tub, bathwater, and a given user. Moreover, since the baths require skilled craftsmanship, they cost a bundle.
With their radiant aura, copper tubs are breathtaking! They’re superb at retaining heat while repelling germs, dents, and scratches. They’re also easy-care and recyclable.
Yet, copper tubs are heavyweights. Moreover, they require master craftsmanship, accounting for their steep prices. Still, a copper tub can last your lifetime.
5. Stone Resin
This tub material is crushed stones bound by a polymer resin and minerals. Also called composite stone, it can have a matte or glossy finish.
Composite stone molds into any tub shape, size, and style! The polymer makes it impervious to water, banishing mold and bacteria.
The coating also staves off yellowing, staining, chipping, cracks, and scratches. Since stone resin tubs conserve heat, you can bathe leisurely.
Meanwhile, the material is lightweight, although heavier than acrylic. Still, an upper floor can sustain the tub without needing reinforcement.
With appropriate care, a stone resin tub can persist for 70 years. Should you choose to replace it, the material is recyclable.
The only downside is the moderate cost, more than acrylic and fiberglass.
Stone resin tubs are sleek, dressing your restroom in elegance. They need minimal maintenance, defying germs and surface damage.
Hence, you can bank on a lifetime of pleasant baths.
Bathtub Types by Placement or Access
Does your bathroom have odd dimensions or meager space for a tub? Or would you like to add a chic element to your restroom? If so, enter the corner tub! This compact basin hugs the space where two walls meet.
A corner tub can fit angled bathrooms. In turn, it creates more floor space, especially in the center of a room. These baths come in several sizes, shapes, and configurations. For instance, you can:
- install a sunken basin
- outfit your tub with gorgeous decking
- streamline access with terraced steps
Some corner tubs can be bulky, making them tricky to maneuver.
If your bathroom is small or angled, a corner tub is ideal!
Also called a fitted tub, an alcove bath is bound by three walls. The sides of the tub facing them are sometimes unfinished. The front threshold or “apron” is supportive and styled.
Many bathrooms are designed for alcove tubs. Their walls match the dimensions of a standard size bath, 60 inches long x 30 inches wide. For this reason, all home improvement stores sell alcove tubs.
In some modern installations, a large window replaces a wall, lending airiness. Moreover, the alcove design is space-saving. You can pair an alcove tub with a shower fixture since it mounts to a wall.
Typically, an alcove bath is shallow with a short apron, facilitating access. Hence, it suits those with reduced mobility and young kids. Since walls surround the tub, you can affix handrails for greater safety.
Meanwhile, both the tub and professional installation are affordable.
Alcove tub shapes are limited, either rectangular or square. Additionally, some folks prefer bathing in a deeper tub.
Is your bathroom perfectly sized for an alcove tub? If so, installation is a cinch! Picking a unit is easy since all home improvement stores carry alcove baths. Consider buying a tub/shower combo, which I describe later in this post.
However, with an alcove tub, you’ll need to settle for a square or rectangular bath.
This design has a watertight door and a low threshold, aiding use. Moreover, a person bathes while seated, handrails within reach.
Walk-in tubs help prevent falls. Many models come with slip-resistant floors and extra-wide seats.
Some have self-cleaning systems, resisting mold and mildew. Hand-held shower wands facilitate bathing.
Standard features also include scald-prevention valves, keeping bathwater at a safe temperature, vital for seniors.
Depending on the model, filling and emptying the tub can take eight to 15 minutes. While waiting inside, one can get chilled, especially an older person. For this reason, I recommend a heated seat, promoting comfort during the delay.
Additionally, walk-in tubs cost more than conventional types. Typically, installation warrants an experienced electrician and plumber.
Walk-in tubs have safety in mind, guarding against falls. Moreover, they can help seniors stay independent. The only downside is the installation cost.
Do you have a good-sized bathroom? If so, consider a freestanding tub. This sculptural beauty has a striking profile, viewable from every side. The entire bath glints with a pristine finish.
All freestanding tubs are deep, up to 25 inches, fostering comfy soaks.
You can put a freestanding tub anywhere, provided there’s plumbing access. Moreover, you won’t need to fit the bath between existing walls.
Since the tub is a standout furnishing, it can serve as a focal point. Or it can be your private oasis, sidled against a window with a soothing view.
Choose from the following lovely and practical designs.
– Double-ended – With this style, the hardware is at the middle of the tub. Plus, the bath is large enough for two people.
– Single-ended – The faucets and drain are at one end.
– Pedestal with a rolled rim – You’ll feel secure in this stately basin, your neck and arms supported by the curving lip.
– Footed – Its artistic form invites you to an idyllic soak.
– Double Slipper – Stretch out against either sloping end, helping you unwind.
A freestanding tub consumes more space than a built-in bath. Also, using one can be challenging without grab bars. To install them, you must station the tub against a wall, limiting your placement options.
Since a standalone tub is heavy, you may need to brace your bathroom floor, especially on an upper level.
Freestanding baths are costly due to their upscale hardware and styling.
A freestanding tub is a statement piece! So long as plumbing is nearby, you can place one anywhere.
Still, this design needs ample space. It’s also pricey.
This tub fits inside a custom frame or “deck.” You can locate the unit anywhere within plumbing reach.
For instance, you can station it against a wall, in a corner, or at the center of your restroom. Or the tub can nestle inside an alcove or a sunken recess in your floor.
A drop-in tub makes efficient use of your bathroom space. Meanwhile, it comes in various shapes and sizes.
Moreover, you can choose a deck material matching your sink and vanity. Plus, updating or replacing the tub is a piece of cake, achieved at a low cost.
Most drop-in tubs are acrylic, making them strong, lightweight, and simple to clean. Additionally, these baths are nicely priced.
Still, professional installation is best, an added expense. For self-installation, you need solid experience in plumbing, deck construction, and setting a bathtub in mortar. Also, plumbing access can be tricky depending on where you situate the deck.
Since a drop-in tub fits into a custom frame, you can install one anywhere near plumbing.
You can also pick any tub size, shape, and decking material. Moreover, the unit is affordable.
However, due to the complex installation, this isn’t a do-it-yourself project.
11. Tub/Shower Combo
Enter the ultimate space-saver! This package deal houses a tub, shower, and plumbing for both systems. It also includes a waterproof “shower surround,” keeping your walls dry and channeling water to the drain.
Only a large lavatory can fit a separate bath and shower. With a combo unit, you’ll have considerably more space in your bathroom.
It’s also ideal for families and overnight guests, suiting all bathing habits. So, whether a person likes quick showers or lengthy soaks, you can accommodate them.
Tub/shower combos come in several sizes and configurations. You can customize a unit with your choice of tub material, hardware, and a shower door. Or you can opt for shower curtains, sold in countless colors, patterns, and textures.
Constructing a combo tub/shower is simple and budget-friendly. Even if you choose high-end materials, your overall cost will be less than installing separate baths.
Does your household take only showers or baths? In that case, a combo unit might be unnecessary. Still, it has value for overnight guests if you ever host them.
A tub/shower combo offers both brief and leisurely bathing. Kits facilitate installation while trimming the cost. Combo units also suit overnight guests and families with different bathing habits.
Yet, for those who only take showers or baths, one dedicated unit may be preferable.
Bathtub Types by Comfort Features
12. Whirlpool Tub
This luxurious bath has strategically placed water jets, powered by an electric pump.
With the control dials, you can vary the water pressure and speed. Some models have a small, built-in heater, keeping the water warm for extended periods.
A whirlpool’s kneading massage delivers “hydrotherapy,” reducing inflammation and pain.
Since the water jets target specific muscle groups, the pressure can work out knots and soreness. It can also improve your joint flexibility. Meanwhile, your worries and cares float away.
With all its high-tech components, a whirlpool tub is expensive. Moreover, it’s hefty, weighing between 200 and 500 pounds.
Add to that the weight of bathwater and a given user. Thus, your floor will likely need extra support.
Meanwhile, your water heater must work harder. Thus, check its maximum capacity, noting whether it can handle more demand. You may need to buy a larger one.
I don’t mean to douse your dream of owning a whirlpool tub. Still, I want to spare you financial strain. So, be mindful that your utility bills will be higher. Furthermore, the electronic parts can break, incurring replacement costs.
Also, whirlpool baths spawn high levels of humidity. Hence, you’ll need to install a fan, either mounted to your ceiling, window, or wall. Without it, your bathroom will harbor mold and mildew. Moreover, breathing the air will be hazardous.
To ensure that your tub works effectively and safely, I urge professional installation.
Pressurized, heated water can worsen some health problems. Thus, if you have a medical condition, get your doctor’s approval before buying a whirlpool bath.
Whirlpool tubs render deep, targeted massage, easing anxiety and discomfort.
Still, these baths are pricey, and the electronic components can malfunction. The tubs are also quite heavy.
Thus, your bathroom floor will probably need reinforcement. A strong fan is vital, promoting safe air quality while preventing mold and mildew.
13. Air Tub
This is another type of jetted tub, massaging you with tiny air bubbles.
The bath features a blower, sending air to a distributor and channeling it to multiple jets. Typically, built-in heating elements are standard. Air tub styles are comparable to those of whirlpools.
Air tubs confer mild massage. The bubbles relax taut muscles and joints, taming inflammation, aches, and stiffness. Meanwhile, the air streams buoy you, a weightless feeling! In turn, stress evaporates.
Some air tubs have a “microsilk” feature, a light vibrating element. In turn, the pulsing gently cleanses and exfoliates your skin. Furthermore, air tubs are quieter than whirlpool baths.
They’re also self-drying. When your tub is empty, just turn on the jets, and any residual moisture flees. Some models have a dedicated drying cycle, thwarting bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Generally, air tubs are less expensive than whirlpools due to their simpler mechanisms. Thus, you’ll have fewer concerns about breaking parts and replacement costs.
You’ll need a plumber and electrician to hook up the jets. Since air tubs are weighty, your floor will probably need bracing.
Moreover, air tub jets don’t target specific muscle groups. That’s because the ports are on the basin floor or low along its walls.
So, you get a whole-body massage, less effective than a whirlpool for stubborn muscle knots.
The air pressure and heat can be harmful for certain illnesses and diseases.
Consider an air tub if you want mild, whole-body massage. Air tubs cost less than whirlpools, and they run quieter. They’re also self-drying, preventing mold and mildew.
Still, like whirlpool tubs, they require expert installation, likely including added floor support.
14. Hot Tub/Jacuzzi-Style
You can appoint this jetted tub outdoors or inside your home. Some people use the terms hot tub and Jacuzzi interchangeably.
Still, Jacuzzi is a particular brand of hot tub. So, for clarity’s sake, I’ll call this bath a hot tub, also known as a spa.
A hot tub has a large frame, housing a whirlpool and heated water. Many folks use it for socializing and entertaining guests.
For these purposes, some models have an MP3 audio system and a flat-screen TV. Other possible features are waterfalls, LED lighting, electronic controls, and Bluetooth capability.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Before installing a hot tub in your home, evaluate whether you have:
- – doors wide enough to fit the frame
- – ample room for setup
- – adequate ventilation
For outdoor placement, bear in mind that:
- – the tub will draw bugs, rodents, leaves, and other debris
- – you won’t likely use it during foul weather
Hot tubs have all the therapeutic and health benefits of whirlpool baths. Soaking in one can soothe tight muscles and joints while easing mental strain. It can also promote better sleep.
Plus, hot tubs are a fun venue for social gatherings and a romantic refuge for couples.
Meanwhile, a hot tub can raise a home’s resale value.
A hot tub is a big-ticket item! Along with the steep price, you’ll need to buy water maintenance supplies, such as filters and chemicals. Furthermore, your utility bills will be higher, reflecting greater use. Technical parts can malfunction, spurring repair costs.
Just like whirlpool baths, hot tubs need extensive cleaning. They also run loud. For an indoor hot tub, your floor will need bracing.
As with all heated baths, hot tubs can be dangerous for pregnant women and young kids. People with high blood pressure should avoid them as well. If you have a medical condition, get your doctor’s clearance to use a hot tub.
A hot tub is a high-end jetted bath. Still, it promotes relaxation, socializing, romanticizing, and healing from certain medical conditions.
If you’re fine with the related costs and maintenance, a hot tub is worthwhile. It offers a respite from physical and mental distress. It can also add value to your home.
Before buying a new tub, consider these factors:
- your available space
- ideal location
- the best material for your purposes
- the style suiting your needs
- desired amenities, such as jetted air or water massage
- costs of the tub, installation, and maintenance
Then, imagine bathing blissfully. The right tub can add comfort to your life!
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