So you’re in the market for a bathtub, and you probably don’t even know where to start. There are thousands of different options at all different price points. Do you want a freestanding bathtub? Copper bathtub? Or you may not be able to choose between an antique tub, a contemporary tub, a contemporary tub, or a transitional tub. Well, take your worry hats off because we’re here to help you with our bathtub buying guide!
There is nothing better in life than filling up the tub and relaxing after a long day. If you’re only taking a shower, you’re really missing out. I think you can lie in the shower, but don’t tell anyone because they might start worrying about you. If you’re looking to replace your tub, this guide can help. Regardless, there are some general things you should consider before you start shopping for a new tub. How often will you use it? How much are you willing to spend? What kind of material are you looking for? what style? With the Jets or without the Jets? We’ll answer all these questions and more.
1. Bath Experience
This may seem a little silly, but one of the most important things to consider is what kind of bathtub experience are you looking for. With such a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials, it’s best to know what you want. Hope you can find everything you need to know in our bathtub buying guide. If you can spend an hour in the tub and value the time to relax, you should consider a soaking tub made of a material that insulates well.
A soaking tub will give you more room to relax, while the high thermal insulation will keep you cool before the water starts to get cold. Another consideration is your height. If you’re a big guy, you need a bigger tub! Trying to cram yourself into a bathtub that is too small can lead to a lot of frustration.
You’ll also need to consider what proportion of your residence’s walk-in tubs and showers are actually used. If you’re a die-hard “tub freak,” freestanding and platform tubs should be just fine. If you like to “soak” occasionally but use the shower a lot, an alcove mount might be a better idea.
The cost of the tub and installation can be a big deal for many people. If you’re on a budget and looking to maximize cost and space, many acrylic tubs start at $200, the cheapest option, and alcove mounts are the least expensive installation option. On the other hand, a whirlpool with a deck mount is far more luxurious but can cost between $2,000 and $6,000. Of course, there are plenty of options in between, but these are just a few examples to get you started.
2. Bathtub Material
Bathtub materials generally include 6 kinds: respectively Acrylic Bathtub, Glass Fiber, Copper, Cast Iron, Ceramics, and Resin Stone.
1) Acrylic Bathtub
Acrylic tubs are one of the more common options due to their relative affordability. Acrylic sheets are soft and malleable, so they can be made in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. These are perfect for large, small, and funky spaces. Choosing an acrylic bathtub means you will have many different options. The surface is smooth and non-porous, which means it retains heat better than some other tub options.
This is a great option if you want to relax in the tub for a long time and want the water to stay warm. Since acrylic is a very soft material, it is relatively easy to scratch. While it’s not ideal, the soft finish means scratches can be easily filled in with more acrylic or polished away. Another factor to consider is that acrylic is a bit fragile because it is so soft. This is most noticeable during installation. One way to remedy the flimsiness is to purchase an acrylic tub reinforced with fiberglass. While it’s a bit pricey, the added stability brings some peace of mind, and the tub doesn’t feel as cheap.
2) Glass Fiber
Fiberglass tubs are another affordable option. They are often even less expensive than acrylic tubs. One of the biggest advantages of fiberglass bathtubs is their ease of installation. Fiberglass is a lightweight material that can be picked up and moved easily. If you are considering a DIY bathroom remodel and are looking for a bathtub, this is a great choice if you don’t want to install a heavy bathtub. Like acrylic, fiberglass has a soft surface that scratches easily. As with acrylic, it is easy to repair any scratches that appear. You can buy inexpensive DIY fiberglass repair kits. With a little sanding, filler, and epoxy coating, your bathtub will look new again. It’s a little time-consuming, but a good option.
Fiberglass has some disadvantages worth considering before purchasing. The lifespan of a fiberglass bathtub is about 10-15 years. Towards the end of their useful life, you’ll start to see fading and cracking. The material is pliable and will move, which can cause the caulk around the tub to crack. If it starts to get worse, the tub may move when you get in it. Fiberglass is made by forming several layers into a shape. This means that uneven surfaces may occur.
Copper bathtubs are made by hammering several sheets of pure copper into the desired shape of the bathtub. The appeal of copper bathtubs is their stunning design aesthetic, but the price point reflects this. They’re a bit uncommon, so it can be difficult to find a tub that fits your space, and when you do, it’s one of the most expensive options. A huge benefit of copper tubing is that they are naturally resistant to scratching and chipping.
Also, maintenance is almost non-existent. Another thing to consider is that copper tubing is very heavy. Installing them can be a real pain, especially if they’re going up a flight of stairs. Overall, the luxurious aesthetic is quite appealing if you don’t mind the price tag.
4) Cast Iron
Cast iron bathtubs are made by pouring molten iron into a bathtub mold, which is then smoothed and covered with a layer of enamel. One of the great advantages of cast iron bathtubs is that they are the most durable option on the market. They are very resistant to scratches and chips and are very low maintenance. Most, if not all, stains and marks can be removed with warm water and baking soda. You can also use a light cleaning solution like Comet if that doesn’t work. Another great advantage of cast iron is that it retains heat the best of all materials. If you plan to relax for a long time, cast iron will be your best friend.
The downside of cast iron is weight. As you can imagine, it is one of, if not the heaviest options. The extra weight is important, and it’s worth taking the time to make sure your bathroom is structurally strong enough to accommodate a cast iron tub. Depending on the materials involved and making sure your structure is strong enough to accommodate a cast iron tub, the cost ultimately makes these tubs one of the most expensive around.
Ceramic bathtubs are made by joining the tiles together and heating them until they come together. There are many options for this material, as it is easy to mold tiles to almost any size and shape. On the downside, ceramic bathtubs often require a lot of maintenance. The grout that holds the ceramic in place requires constant attention and maintenance to keep it from deteriorating. Also, your tub won’t be very smooth because the different tiles will stay in sync. Overall, ceramic bathtubs are an acquired taste and may not be suitable for most people.
6) Resin Stone
Stone resin is a cool material because it looks like natural stone. The material is non-porous and very smooth. It doesn’t absorb any moisture and also retains heat really well. Stone resin tubs look more high-end and luxurious than other options. An added bonus is the long lifespan which requires little maintenance. Once it finally reaches the end of its useful life, the entire tub is 100% recyclable. If you’re looking for sustainable options, you’ve found them! Overall, the price, quality, and durability make this one of your better options
3. Types of Bathtubs
There are 5 common types of bathtubs, standard bathtub, soaking tub, whirlpool, Air Bathtub, and Walk-in bathtub.
1) Standard bathtub
As you might have guessed, a standard bathtub is the most common type of bathtub. There’s nothing special about the standard bathtub, it’s just a nice place to relax after a long day, no frills. Most standard tubs are about 5 feet long, 30 inches wide, and 14″-16″ tall. This is a great option if you’re just looking to replace an old bathtub and don’t want to break the bank. Prices for these guys range from $200 to $500. Prices may go up depending on your installation method, which we cover in the next section of this article.
If you’re on a budget and aren’t looking for anything special, this should be the one for you. It gets the job done, with no strings attached.
2) Soaking tub
Soaking tubs are often considered an upgrade from the standard bathtub. Because of the large number of options available for soaking tubs, the price range is quite wide. They are larger than standard bathtubs, usually 60”-72” in length, wider and deeper than standard bathtubs. There are even models that fit two people comfortably. Base prices for soaking tubs typically run around $500, but can quickly run into the thousands, especially if you’re a fan of sprinklers. Soaking tubs also come in the most common styles, such as traditional, modern, contemporary, and transitional.
Whirlpool tubs are often associated with comfort, relaxation, and luxury. It’s like a mini hot tub in your home. Jets are strategically placed at various heights throughout the tub and target different muscle groups. This setup is ideal if you’re dealing with any type of chronic muscle pain. As you can guess, this luxury doesn’t come without a price. Most whirlpools start at around $700 and quickly jump to over $1,000. If you’re serious about relieving and relaxing your muscles, this should be at the top of your list when you visit a hot tub shop. If your hot tub starts to fail, hot tub electricians in Lacey, WA can help.
4) Air Bathtub
Shockingly, an air tub is more than just a tub filled with air. Air tubs are similar to whirlpool tubs, but instead of jets of water, they jet air. Compared with a water jet, the pressure distribution is wider and less concentrated. For a lot of people, it’s an easier experience. The way they are built ends up costing more than a whirlpool. They typically start at $800 and are often closer to the $2,000 price point.
5) Walk-in Bathtub
Walk-in bathtubs are aimed at seniors and seniors due to their ease of use. Getting into a regular bathtub is a bit difficult for seniors, so for those who don’t want to give up the fun of the tub, stepping into the tub is a good compromise. With senior living centers declining in popularity and seniors opting to stay at home, this is a great option. However, these are much more expensive than some of their tub counterparts. The prices for these tubs end up in the thousands. The general price range is between $2,000-$6,000
4. Bathtub Installation
The installation of the bathtub is one of the most important aspects of choosing a bathtub. The type of installation required depends largely on the space and layout of the bathroom. Also, certain types of installations require specific categories of tubs. The last thing you want is to pick out the perfect tub, only to realize it doesn’t work for your bathroom. Returning the tub is one hassle you definitely don’t want to deal with.
You also need to consider the surroundings of the bathtub. A bathtub surround is a smooth surface that runs along the wall and surrounds the bathtub. No worries about cracks or grout lines, and no maintenance. Installing surround sound is usually easy, and you can buy DIY kits that allow you to do it yourself. The price of tub installation also depends on the tub material you ultimately choose. Here’s a quick guide to give you an idea of general costs.
5. Questions to Ask Before Buying a Bathtub
Here are some common Questions to Ask Before Buying a Bathtub:
1) How Are You Going To Use Your Bathtub?
Your answer determines whether an inexpensive basic design will suffice, or if you need an upgraded, higher-quality tub. For example, a standard soaking tub needs only to be filled with water, while a whirlpool or air bath has nozzles or channels that deliver massaging air. Extras in a soaking tub are usually limited to grab bars or headrests, grab bars, and non-slip floors.
There are even more options for whirlpool, air, or combination baths, including adjustable jets, ambient underwater lighting, aromatherapy functions, heated blowers, and self-cleaning systems. The more elaborate your tub is, the more expensive it will be.
2) How Much Space Do You Have?
Before you can fall in love with a particular type of bathtub, you need to know what your bathroom can accommodate. Standard tubs are 60 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 14 inches deep, but there are many other sizes and shapes available.
To determine how big your tub is, take careful measurements of your bathroom and doorways. Make note of where the drain will go on the floor to make sure it will work with your chosen tub design. Also, some bathtubs do not allow a shower, so check to see if a tub-shower combination is a must-have feature for your home before buying.
3) Are There Any Special Precautions For Bathtub Installation?
If you’re considering a jetted tub, you need to plan for a water pump, air switch, and electronic timer. Many pumps are installed inside the tub unit, but some manufacturers have remote pumps that can be placed up to 5 feet away from the tub and hidden in a closet or vanity. A non-electric air switch may be located on the tub unit. Plan to install the electronic timer a safe distance (at least 5 feet) from the bathtub to meet bathroom code requirements.
4) Is Your Water Heater Up To The Task?
The size of your bathtub can affect your monthly expenses. A typical bathtub is one-third cold and two-thirds hot. If you have a hot water tank, does it provide enough hot water? Tubs vary in size and hold 25-150 gallons of water. Make sure your water heater is large enough to fill about two-thirds of the tub with warm water.
5) Have A Problem With Your Weight?
Plastic tubs weigh as little as 50 pounds, while cast iron tubs can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. If you are considering heavier materials, can your floor handle the weight? When you add up the weight of the tub, plus the weight of the water and the person, it may be necessary to reinforce the floor beneath the tub with braces or braces. Also, a bathtub that is too heavy may not fit into a second-floor bathroom or be prohibitively expensive.
6) Is The Bathtub Comfortable?
Before you buy a tub, try it on for size—literally. Climb in, sit down, and imagine yourself soaking in the water. Does it fit you and make you feel comfortable? Don’t be embarrassed; this is the best way to find out if you are satisfied.
6. Should I Repair or Refinish My Tub?
If your tub is leaking, cracked, or worn, it may be time to replace it. However, maybe the nature of your old tub—or the daunting task of removing it—doesn’t justify a replacement. Unsightly chips and stains can be fixed by refinishing or lining your tub. Some companies can refinish your bathtub with a polyurethane coating that gives it a hard, high-gloss finish. Other companies can outfit your tub with an acrylic liner molded to its exact size, shape, and style.