Bathtubs - Choosing a Bathtub

Bathtubs come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and price ranges. From a traditional step in rectangular bathtub to an exotic vertical cylinder like Japanese soaking tub, the possibilities are endless. Bathtubs 101 is here to provide you with all the information you could ever want to know about bath tubs including types of bathtubs, bathtub styles, bathtub materials, bathtub maintenance, installation, bathtub brands, and bathtub accessories.

Bathtub Types
The number of bathtub types available is very surprising and even overwhelming. The large bathtubs or small bathtubs selected for a bathroom often depends on specific home bathroom designs and takes into consideration the placement of other bathroom fixtures inclduing toilets, bathroom vanities, and bidets. Here’s an overview:

Built In Tubs: These are the most common bathtub styles, with alcove bathtubs being the most traditional choice. Other types include garden, drop in, and corner bathtubs. These tubs can be built from many synthetic and natural materials such as a luxury cultured marble bathtub.

Soaking Tubs: Since these bathtubs are designed soaking, they are usually deeper than a standard tub. Many are deep enough that the water level can come up to the soaker’s chin. Roman, Greek, and Japanese tubs are the most recognized styles.

Free Standing Bathtubs: This option works especially well for a large open bathroom. Included in this type is the well known antique style cast iron bathtubs including pedestal and clawfoot bathtubs.

Specialty Bath Tubs: As the name implies, these bathtubs have special features. Whirlpool bathtubs and jetted bathtubs feature jets for a relaxing massage. Hot Air Aqua Massage Tubs have holes in the bottom and/or sides that produce constant air bubbles for a lighter feeling massage. Walk in bathtubs and other ADA tubs are designed for those with limited mobility to make taking a bath an easier and safer task.

Bathtub Materials 

There are several different materials that can be used to construct bathtubs.

Most basic tubs are made from fiberglass or acrylic since these materials are relatively inexpensive and extremely durable.

For the more upscale luxury bathtubs, stone and metals are not uncommon. Porcelain, ceramic and cultured marble are excellent stone materials for providing a natural feel. Stainless steel, pewter, zinc, aluminum, tin, brass and copper tubs are among the highest priced and most modern looking. Many of the true antique bathtubs (or replicas) are made of heavy cast iron.

Glass and wood are other materials that can be used, but it is not quite as popular as the other ones mentioned above.

Bathtub Maintenance

Like any household fixture, maintenance is necessary with bathtubs and showers as well. Repairing scratches or chips, installation of new faucets or drains, refinishing and resurfacing are just a few of the upkeep issues that homeowners may face.

Bathtub Brands

There are many reliable names when it comes to purchasing a bath tub. Some of the most popular well known brands include Porcher, Jacuzzi, Cheviot, Hamilton, Americh, Vitra, American Standard, Kohler Bathtubs, Bartok, Jetta, Herbeau Creations, Acryline, International Bath Corporation, Toto, and Neo Metro.

There are many stores that sell items for bathrooms and showers, offering a wide selection of bathtubs for purchase. Popular brands such as Kohler can usually be found in stock at Home Depot and in Lowes bathtubs section, but may require special ordering at other stores such as Menards.

Bathtub Accessories

There are many different accessories available for safety, luxury and style.

Safety bathtub accessories include slip resistant bath tub mats, pads, and appliques to prevent falls. Grab bars, safety seats, benches, and foam bathtub liners are also available.

Luxury bathtub accessories include bathtub pillows, bath salts, and bubble bath products.  A bath caddy or shelf for holding various luxury accessories are items popular as well.

Many bath tub accessories are merely for expression of style. These include fancy faucets and hardware, a host of soap dishes, bathtub curtains or doors.