Is a Drop In Tub Right for You? A Complete Guide to Bathtub Options

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Types of Bathtubs

Looking for a new bathtub, and wondering if a drop in tub is right for you? We have the complete guide to help you decide on the best style, material, and bathtub design. Whether you?re replacing a tub or designing a brand new bathroom from the group up. We talk steel tubs, fiberglass and acrylic options, and more.

Whether you?re remodeling your bathroom or designing a completely new home, you?ll need to choose a bathtub. But what kind should you pick? There are a lots of options available, and a common choice is a drop in tub.

Bathtubs range the gamut from standard to exotic, and they have the price tags to match! Let?s cover some of the most popular:

An alcove tub is the most popular, and most likely what you grew up using. This kind of tub has a finished front, also called an apron and three unfinished sides that face the walls. The apron might come already installed, or it may be removable.

Alcove tubs are easy to install and space efficient. In fact, we often see them used in shower/tub combinations. This way, we can enjoy the benefits of both showers and tubs without taking up a huge amount of space.

Think clawfoot tub. A freestanding tub will require the most space but is loved by decorators because of the statement it makes. The weight makes these highly impractical, however. Firstly, it might be difficult to add hand rests or rails for grabbing so you don?t slip. Secondly, these tubs are usually quite deep. Both of these factors make them a poor choice for children or individuals with limited mobility.

A drop in tub often combines the benefits of an alcove tub with the design sensibilities of a freestanding tub. While it can be built into the wall, like an alcove tub, it usually takes theÿcenter stage. The drop in tub has a rim so you can sit on the edge. It can also be dropped into the floor, Roman-bath style. ÿ

Drop in tubs require more room than alcove tubs. However, they lend more opportunities for you to design them to your liking, thanks to their custom-build surrounds.

Log cabin with free-standing clawfoot tub. Although we love clawfoot tubs, they?re heavy and not ideal for those with mobility issues. Image: CC0 Public Domain Kirk and Mimi via Pixabay.

Among all the drop in tubs, the Roman-style bathtub is the most ornate. Image: CC by-SA 2.0 Design Folly via Flickr.

Alcove, freestanding, and drop in tubs aren?t the only options. Walk-in tubs with doors and handles to assist people who are disabled are highly popular. These models let people go straight from a walker or a wheelchair into the tub.

Another tub growing in popularity is the Japanese-style soaking tub, which takes advantage of vertical space when floor space is limited. Bathers sit upright in a deep bucket-like tub or square tub.

When you think about cast iron tubs, you likely picture a vintage, clawfoot, antique tub. Cast iron antique tubs still exist their makers built them to last! Today?s cast iron tubs come coated in porcelain made so strong it won?t chip, stain, or discolor.

Bathtub Construction

However, these tubs are extremely heavy. They?re often not suitable for upstairs use, and you have to carefully consider how much work installation will be due to their extreme weight. Cast iron tubs will, however, last a lifetime.

Steel tubs weigh less than cast iron tubs (though they still weigh a great deal) and are often finished with a hard enamel coating which should be impervious to discoloration. Chipping has been a problem for enamel tubs in the past (enamel is a type of glass), but thanks to better technology, the enamel has gotten thinner but harder, so chipping isn?t a problem.

Choosing the Right Tub for You

Extremely sturdy, steel tubs are a great option for people who want a long-lasting option. They do require more energy to produce in the manufacturing process, but they can be recycled, unlike fiberglass and acrylic tubs.

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