Some folks are happy with a basic bathtub, while others are looking for a bathing experience. Given that bathing not only offers the opportunity to stay clean but also to feel wonderful, selecting the right option is important. Knowing which combination of bathtub installation types and bathing experiences is the perfect one takes a bit of bathtub exploration.
1. Standard Alcove
These tubs are the most basic convenient because they are usually about the same length, width, and height. Installation usually means simply replacing an older tub in an existing alcove. Standard tubs are all about five feet long, fourteen to sixteen inches high, and 30 inches wide. Alcove tubs only have one finished side and the other three are attached to the walls of the alcove. It’s easy to remove the existing tub and slide in the new one. Average standard alcove tubs usually cost just a few hundred dollars.
2. Whirlpool and Air
Whirlpool tubs and their cousins, air tubs, include jets which shoot water, or air, out of strategically placed jets. The whirling water gives a relaxing massage for people who have muscle or joint pain. They are also wonderful for reducing aches and pains after a long day at work or a concentrated exercise session. These cost between $700 to $2000, or more, depending upon the manufacturer, but the pleasurable bathing experience they provide is well worth their extra cost.
These tubs are most often designed for people with disabilities or seniors who find it difficult to climb into a regular tub. These tubs have doors which open and close very near to the floor and this relieves the problems of lifting and bending legs which are inflexible or unstable. They also have seats and interior rails which solve problems of sitting all the way down to the floor of a standard tub and provide something to grab onto when pulling up and out of the water. They can cost up to $6000 or more, but they offer bath safety and comfort, and allow seniors to age in their own homes as long as possible.
Soaking tubs have become very popular. They are available in materials ranging from inexpensive acrylics to stone and very expensive hand-made wooden versions which are modeled in ancient Japanese tradition. The acrylic versions start at somewhere around $3,000, while the wooden Japanese Hinoki cypress models can run up to $35, 000 or so. The benefits of soaking tubs are that they are constructed so that the water can be added to cover up to the neck while sitting on built-in seats. These deep water baths offer comfort for muscles and relaxing of the senses. It’s also possible to add traditional Japanese Hinoki cypress chips and fragrant herbs to the water to enhance the soothing experience.
Corner tubs traditionally have been tucked into bathrooms which are less spacious. They can be as streamlined as a standard alcove tub, or they can come with an array of bells and whistles. There are many combinations available, such as whirlpool corner tubs or soaking corner tubs. Some are even designed as part of shower/bathtub corner duo so that there’s no reason to not have the best of both worlds. Pricing depends on the manufacturer, but one nice feature is that the plumbing options are also varied, and some are freestanding, so that it is easier to fit these into just about any corner space.
6. Traditional Claw or Ball Feet
These are freestanding tubs which have four feet shaped to resemble either claws or balls. Some have smooth and flat tops and others have the classic slipper profile which features a higher curve on the head end of the tub. They are generally cast as one single piece, and this makes them very comfortable for lounging. Their faucets can be plumbed into the tub, an adjacent wall, or be separate from the tub. This allows for a wide range of configurations within their intended space. Generally available in shades of white, these long-time favorites are also found with new exterior colors of greys and blacks to complement stylish bathroom designs.
7. Contemporary Freestanding
The beauty of contemporary freestanding designs is their flexibility. These tubs look sleek and welcoming in most any interior design. Because their faucets and plumbing come in a wide array of options, they can be installed to suit a variety of design needs. Many come in white acrylic, but there are also designer versions in stainless steel, and high-end materials such as black granite, chiseled stone or marble. They also come in every shape imaginable; square, rectangular, cylindrical, oval, or free-flowing organic.
8. Platform and Undermounts
These tubs don’t have finished sides. They are either dropped into or set on top of frames which are designed the décor of the room they occupy and based on the space they will take. They offer the opportunity to completely customize the exterior appearance of the tub and how it will function within the bathroom. Tubs which depend upon platform or undermount installation gives owners the freedom to situate the tub so it is free of alcove walls, or so it can allow the bather to enjoy the view through panoramic windows.
Though combinations can be designed within the tub, such as soaking and whirlpool functions, combinations can also extend to include new options for various kinds of shower heads. There are amazingly refreshing handheld shower systems, many configurations of generous rain shower heads, or freestanding shower systems.
10. French Bateau Tubs
These tubs are shaped for their French name “bateau” in that they’re shaped to look much like toy boats floating on the water. Their beauty is that both ends are raised, making them either left or right headed, and their fixtures are situated in the middle section, so they are easily reached from either end. There are many finishes: cast iron, white porcelain, and Robin’s Egg Blue… to name just a few exterior colors. There are also some that sit on claw or ball feet, pedestal bottoms and copper patina exteriors. All in all, French bateau tubs are a pleasant combination of function and style.