Are bathtubs soon to become a thing of the past? We asked around, and the answers we’ve found make us believe that the answer is a resounding no! Families with small children, athletes, even the ageing population all love tubs. Is there anything more soothing than a good, long soak? We think not!
If you are remodeling, and you have the space, you should consider a tub. Space is really the main consideration. For the sake of this blog, we are going to assume that you do have space so we can discuss the various types of tubs. If you’ve learned anything in the design field – it’s that there is never “just one type” of anything!
Here is a quick rundown on the various types of tubs:
Alcove, drop-in, freestanding, integral and undermount. If you want a more in-depth description of each of those, American Standard has a great website with drawings to help you understand.
Once you’ve decided that your room can support the size of a tub, you need to decide on the style. If your home is more traditional and you love the look of those claw-footed tubs – you are in luck. They are still quite popular and easy to find. Kohler has a number of versions of this particular style.
Alcove tubs might still be the most popular, given the sizes of bathrooms. You don’t have to settle for ‘just’ the tub however – there are wonderful tubs with built-in whirlpools to give you a spa feeling at home.
Here’s a great example of an alcove tub with integrated whirlpool – from American Standard:
As far as the tub materials – here is a little bit of information about the most popular:
Enamel On Steel/Porcelain
Enamel-on-steel tubs (or porcelain-on-steel as they’re sometimes called) have a similar look to cast iron tubs except that they’re lighter. Their surface is easily cleaned and maintained and their lighter weight means they’re easier to muscle into a remodeled bathroom than a heavier cast iron tub.
Acrylic in simple terms is a form of plastic and is another material used to make bathtubs. Benefits include its high gloss finish and lighter weight. It can be scratched more easily but these scratches can also be repaired more easily than a porcelain enamel surface.
Fiberglass Gelcoat (FRP)
Another material used to make tubs is fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) that’s covered in something called “gelcoat”. You’ll find some whirlpools and air tubs made from this material because it can be shaped easily. The gelcoat provides the smooth, glossy surface of the tub and offers an easily cleaned surface. It’s a lot like acrylic but usually not as durable, as it can be scratched and/or cracked if it’s struck hard enough.
Many brands now use composite materials. These tubs are made with proprietary engineered composite materials that form the backing of the tub itself. The finished surface of the tubs are enameled. The intent with these kinds of tubs is to achieve the benefits of cast iron, like heat retention and a durable surface finish, without the weight associated with cast iron. These composite tubs can weigh about 1/3 as much as cast iron, something to think about if you’re replacing a 2nd story bathroom tub.
And now tiles –
So now that you’ve chosen your tub – let’s move on to tiles. The possibilities here are as plentiful as you would imagine! From subway tiles to glass, porcelain, wood-look and metallic-infused, tiles have come a long way from the horrible pink and black of the 50′s.
The best bet when looking at, and choosing tile for a bathroom is to make sure you choose products that will last a long time and need little in the way of maintenance. Porcelain and ceramic tiles come in so many variations, and are so easy to maintain that your main concern will be choosing the colors! Many people choose subtle colored tiles for floors and add accent colors to the borders or they choose to make a mosaic pattern on one wall. Here are some images to give you inspiration – from Daltile.
Here is a bolder use of tile:
If you want a strong, bold look – you can use tiles that give the look of slate – like these field tiles:
We hope we’ve given you some food for thought (and not overwhelmed you). As always – your best solution would be to visit showrooms and speak to experienced salespeople.