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What You Need to Know About Bathtubs

What You Need to Know About Bathtubs

Are you ready to upgrade your bathroom? This article will help you select and buy a bathtub.

A bathroom’s overall appearance can be dramatically altered by upgrading its bathtub. A larger tub area, a deeper soak basin, or a more attractive style can make your bath a relaxing, luxurious space.

We will give you a brief overview of the different types of baths, discuss standard and custom options, and offer some helpful tips on choosing professional or DIY installation.

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What are the Basic Types Of Bathtubs?

Usually, bathtubs are described according to their intended use and physical style.


Alcove bathtub

A wall surrounds an alcove tub on three sides. Manufacturers can use spirited tubs or skirted tubs to make alcove tubs. This allows them to use decorative fronts and open sides to the wall cavity. Apron tubs are less expensive than other types because they have less finished material. An alcove tub can be used as a tub only, but the popular combination of a shower and tub falls under this category.


Freestanding bathtub




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A freestanding tub is not attached to any wall. There are many types of freestanding tubs. Pedestal tubs are supported on four stylized feet while claw foot tubs rest on a single, flat base that extends to floor. Slipper tubs have a top that swings up at either one or both ends. This makes it easier to relax while taking a bath.


Walk-in bathtub

The door of a walk-in bathtub is designed to swing open when the basin is empty. These tubs are popular among accessibility-minded homeowners because they allow for easy access. The user must fill the tub and drain it while the door is closed. This means that the bathing time will be slightly longer.


Drop-in bathtub

A walk-in bathtub refers to how a user enters the tub. However, a drop in tub refers only to how the tub is installed. Drop-in tubs are similar to drop-in sinks, but have a rim that is slightly wider than the hole in the support structure. These tubs are great for a centerpiece in a bathroom or to surround a “island”, or a tub that is surrounded by a tiled floor. Drop-in tubs are more affordable than other styles because they have fewer finished surfaces. They are more expensive due to their larger dimensions and the extra labor and materials required to make their support enclosure.


Undermount bathtub

An undermount tub looks similar to a drop in tub but is attached to the bottom of the supporting enclosure and not laid on top. This distinction is similar to that of an undermount sink versus a drop-in tub.


Corner bathtub




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Corner tubs are designed to fit into a corner of a bathroom. Corner tubs are always located in the corner of a bathroom, but they come in many different layouts. Some have two sides finished, while others are rectangular. Others have one side finished. Corner tubs can be made to fit into an alcove, or serve as an undermount or drop-in. Corner tubs often have a whirlpool feature.

There are two main types of tubs. These tubs can be any style mentioned, but they are usually called out individually due to their popularity.


Soaking bathtub

Soaking tubs can hold more water and allow for longer, luxurious baths. These tubs will be either freestanding or drop in/undermount. These tubs may have flourishes like flat bottoms or slipper designs.


Whirlpool/spa bathtub

Whirlpool tubs circulate pressurized water through jets. This creates a relaxing massage effect and swirls the water. A heater may be used to keep the water warm and comfortable for long soaks. “Jacuzzi” refers to a particular brand of bathtub.


What are Common Bathtub Materials?




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Acrylic Fiberglass

Acrylic and fiberglass tubs are light-weight and easily repairable. They are also the most cost-effective in terms of installation and purchase.


Enameled Cast Iron

Tubs made from durable porcelain enamel combined with rigid cast iron are extremely durable. Cast-iron tubs are those that require four people to move an antique claw foot tub. Cast iron tubs are still available, but they are more rare due to the high cost of cast iron and their installation.


Enameled Steel

Enameled steel is lighter than cast iron but slightly noisier and less durable. It’s also cheaper.


Stone Resin

These bathtubs are made from a mixture of resin and natural stone powder. This durable material can be poured in almost any shape you want. They are similar to stone resin countertops in terms of construction and cleaning ease, but they tend to be more expensive than other options.


What are the Standard Bathtub Sizes?

There is no one size that bathtubs should be, but you will see a range depending on which type of tub you are considering. Note the difference between height (the distance from the floor to top of the bathtub) and depth (the distance from the inside of the tub to bottom of overflow drain).


Alcove Bathtubs

Alcove tubs are the closest to a standard size. Most models measure 60 inches in length and 32 or 30 inches in width. There are also longer models, which can be up to 70 inches long, which will fit taller bathers better. Alcove tubs average 15 inches in height.


Walk-in Bathtubs

These tubs are shorter and more accessible because they are designed for accessibility. Walk-in units can be up to 36 inches tall, and there are many length options.


Soaker Bathtubs

A tub that is intended for soaking needs a deeper basin. You should aim for depths between 20 and 30 inches. These larger sizes are why soaker tubs come in either a freestanding or drop-in design.


Tight Spaces

A mobile-home-sized tub is a great option if you are limited on space. It measures 54 inches in length and 27 inches in width.


Freestanding or Drop-in/Undermount Tubs

Freestanding tubs can be made in any size or shape you like, without walls limiting their use. Drop-in or undermount tubs are often supported by an enclosure. They can also be made in many other shapes.


Where to Buy Bathtubs?

When it comes time to purchase a bathtub, there are basically four choices.


Big Box Stores

The big box stores offer a large selection at great prices, and they are easy to find. For common items like alcove bathtubs, it’s difficult to beat their prices.


Specialty Plumbing Outlets

Many specialty plumbing stores have display rooms that showcase the finest bathtubs and knowledgeable salespeople who will help you choose the right tub for you. They are also an excellent resource for those who want to hire professionals to install the tub.


Online Shops

Although there are many options online, it can be difficult to make a decision. It’s important to research the tub type you require. If you receive the tub and find it isn’t the right fit, you will have to return it.


Salvage Stores

Antique tubs can be found in architectural salvage shops, particularly claw foot tubs. You never know what stock will be available, so you might spend a lot of time searching before you find what you are looking for. You may not find a second-hand shop in every place.


What Does a Bathtub cost?

Prices vary based on the size, style and special features of the tub. You can find tubs starting at a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands. The vast majority of these tubs are more expensive.

  • You can find a completely bare-bones acrylic tub in apron-style for $250-$400 at big box stores.
  • Drop-in and undermount bathtubs are available in a range of prices from $500 to $700, and can go up from there.
  • Corner tubs are more expensive due to their larger size and complexity.
  • The price range for freestanding tubs is great, from $600 to $1,000 to as high as $3,000 and up.
  • The tubs with Whirlpool function can be upgraded by $500; heated jets are closer to $700.
  • Soaker-depth tubs can also cost between $300 and $600.


How to Install a Bathtub

It is possible to replace an existing tub yourself, especially if you have a few friends who are intermediate or advanced DIYers. Although it is theoretically possible to replace a tub yourself, due to their size, it will be easier to have a second pair of hands.

It is common for bathtub installation to require more than one skill. Freestanding bathtubs require supply and drain plumbing. Shower/bath combos, however, will need drywall and/or surround. Installation of whirlpool tubs will require electrical skills. Drop-in and undermount tubs may need to be adjusted in the framing and finish.

The tools required will depend on the type of bathtub that you are installing. It is safe to assume that the bathtub you install must be connected to the existing drain and plumbing lines. This will allow the tub to be leveled and prevent water infiltration. Slip-joint tools (such as Chanellocks), an adjustable wrench and level, along with silicone caulk, are all necessary. You may need tools for drywall, wood framing and trim, as well as tile. Although it is possible to install a bathtub within a few hours of purchase, it is best to plan for a full day. If you are installing a bathtub in your only bathroom, it is important to plan ahead. To ensure that your installation goes smoothly, make sure you plan ahead.


Bathtub Installation Cost

A basic bathtub replacement will cost between $500 and $700 (labor only). The cost of a heated whirlpool bathtub will go up by a few hundred.

These figures include the cost of removing an enameled or acrylic steel tub. Cast iron tubs are more difficult to remove so casting iron removal may cost between $150 and $300.