Freestanding Tubs: The Basic Facts

You Know You Want One of These Tubs!

In today's hectic, shower-and-go society, does anyone need—or even want—a freestanding bathtub? Absolutely.

First, the practical reasons: A tub is a necessary convenience for families with small children and pets, and many real estate pros advise that having at least one bathtub helps insure a home's resale value.

Then there's the purely aesthetic: The traditional beauty of a claw foot or pedestal tub is unparalleled.

It often becomes the focal point of the bathroom, anchoring other elements such as the tub surround, the faucet, the lighting and the windows.

Last, but certainly not least, are the benefits of bathing to body and mind. Water therapies have long been used in Eastern medicine to enhance well-being, relieve pain and restore emotional balance. Some of today's freestanding tubs offer features like heating pads, bubble jets and even chromatherapy to add comfort to your daily soak.

Have I convinced you yet? If so, here are some important tips for buying a freestanding tub.

Size Definitely Matters...

It probably goes without saying that you need to know how much space you have to work with. Measure the area where you plan to place your tub, and don't forget to record the dimensions of all door frames, hallways and stairwells that the tub must pass through on its way to your bathroom.

If you're planning on a tub plus a separate shower, suggests a minimum of 12' x 6'.

Consider who will be using the tub. If space is tight, it's possible to find tubs less than 60" long that are comfortable for most people. But if that's not enough, you can find a tub that's extra long, extra deep, extra wide or all three. If the tub is for a couple’s master bath suite, you might consider a double-slipper tub designed to fit two people.

...So Does Scale

Square footage matters a whole lot less than scale to ensure that a freestanding tub works in your bathroom. You’ll want to make sure your tub has the proper balance of shape and dimensions so that it doesn't visually overwhelm the fixtures or cabinetry.

...And Water Usage

While 40 to 50 gallons of water will fill a standard 5' tub, larger tubs can take as much as 80 to over 100 gallons. If you crave a big tub, you might want to ask your contractor about a large capacity water heater or even a separate water heater for the tub. Of course, a more economical and eco-friendly alternative is to size down.

Should You Choose A Cast-Iron Tub...?

Cast-iron tubs are historically authentic, with porcelain surfaces that are harder and more scratch-resistant than today's acrylic tubs. But the weight of a cast-iron tub might be more than your floor can handle. What's more, once you scratch or chip the porcelain, the blemish is pretty much permanent.

...An Acrylic Tub...?

Acrylic tubs are lighter in weight than porcelain-coated cast iron, and minor nicks and scratches are easier to repair. Acrylic also warms up faster than cast iron, although once heated, cast iron's greater thermal mass tends to keep water warmer longer.

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