Beyond your basic bathtub: standard to stylish
A bathtub has many jobs: bliss and relaxation for you, functional fun for kids and a cleaning corral for the dog. Your lifestyle can inspire many beautiful bathtub options that extend beyond that standard white tub that may have come with your home.
Soaking standards and styles
A standard bath tub is typically 5- or 6-feet long and 14- to 17-inches deep. Other bathtub styles accommodate smaller or larger people and more than one bather at a time while providing functional and aesthetic options.
Tubs fall into these three general categories:
- Shower/tub combo. Popular because they do double duty while taking up less square footage
- Built-in tubs. Built into a corner or an alcove, or installed into the floor as a "drop-in tub." The exposed sides of an alcove or corner tub typically have an "apron" that extends from the tub rim to the floor.
- Free-standing tubs. Includes classic claw-foot tubs, pedestal tubs and modern-style tubs that sit directly on the floor and range from 4 feet to 6 feet in length
Tubs can also be grouped according to function:
- Soaking tubs can be either built-in or free-standing. They are typically deeper and wider than a standard bathtub because you can be submerged up to your chin. Garden, Roman and Japanese tubs are all types of soaking tubs.
- Whirlpool tubs are jetted soaking tubs that are similar to a hot tub and circulate a combination of both air and water. Unlike hot tubs, they get drained with each use.
- Air tubs don't circulate water; instead, hot air escapes through holes to create millions of massaging bubbles. You can use bath oils, salts and mud in these baths.
Bathtubs in many materials
Each tub material has advantages and disadvantages, which include how vulnerable it is to chips and scratches, the range of colors available and the ease of cleaning and maintenance. Here are the most common materials used for bathtubs:
- Ceramic tile
- Cultured marble
- Enameled cast iron
- Porcelain on steel
Additionally, some tub manufacturers have created trademarked "solid surface" tubs made of a material similar to kitchen counter tops.
Well-known bathtub manufacturers
Some manufacturers specialize in a particular style of tub and others offer a variety of tub styles and materials. Contractors are typically able to recommend products from many different manufacturers, including these popular ones:
- Victoria & Albert
Finding a bathtub contractor
Will your new bathtub fit through your door? Contractors often consider many questions you might not think of when helping you choose a new tub. A quick way to find a local contractor is to use the form on this site. If you like a particular manufacturer, they may have a dealer directory for you to browse. Lastly, talk to local friends, family and real estate agents for recommendations.
Prices for tubs can range from $100 to $10,000 or more. Before you choose a tub based on price alone, decide what you want in a new bathtub and consult with a contractor to discuss the best options for your home and lifestyle.