Bathtub buyers guide

Bathtub Buyer's Guide: What to Be Aware of When Buying Your Next Tub

Sinking into a soothing bathtub can be the perfect remedy for tired muscles or just a frenetic day. Sprinkle in your favorite bath salts and scents like lavender or aromatherapy, lean back, and forget your woes.

Taking a warm bath is the epitome of relaxation. But if you're thinking of a bathroom renovation buying a new bathtub can be a confusing undertaking if you go into it unprepared.

There are different bathtub sizes, weights, shapes, requirements, and technology you need to consider when shopping for a new bathtub. To help you choose we've prepared this post to help you navigate through your bathtub purchase.

Without further adieu, we present you with the bathtub buyer's guide to help you select the right bathtub to fit your home, family, and lifestyle.

The Bathtub Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Tubs Before You Buy

A number of factors exist to help you make your decision. Read on to learn about the world of bathtubs!

Know What Kind of Tub You Want

Are you looking for something basic or prefer to opt for a tub with all the bells and whistles? A basic bathtub is good for soaking. You only need to fill it up with water.  

On the other hand you may want a bathtub with jets to massage you like an air tub. Imagine all those massaging bubbles as powerful jets blow heated air into the water around you. 

Soaking tubs are usually limited to headrests and grab bars. But if you're looking for an air-tub, it comes with a number of options. Some of these include ambient lighting, heated blowers, aromatherapy features, adjustable jets, and self-cleaning options. But of course, more features mean a higher price tag.

How Big Is Your Bathroom Space?

Before selecting your bathtub, you'll need to know the size where it will be placed. Standard bathtubs measure 30 inches wide by 60 inches in length, and 14 inches in depth.

But you can buy larger sizes and a variety of shapes of tubs that go beyond the standard tub.

To know how big your tub can be, you'll need to measure your space. Make sure to consider the space around your tub and don't forget to include the doorways and walkthrough space.

Take note of the placement of the drain because it needs to work with your bathtub's design. Some tubs are stand-free tubs and don't permit a shower installation. If a shower is a must you may need to select another tub.

Plan for the Pump 

Jetted tubs and air baths run on pumps. If you want to buy one, you need to make room for the pump as well as the electric timer and air switch.

While some bathtub pumps and the electric timer may be contained within the unit of the tub other tubs need to be placed up to five feet away from the tub. This is to meet safety code requirements. The pump may need to be concealed inside a vanity or closet.

Can Your Hot Water Heater Provide Enough Water?

Another factor to consider is the size of your water tank. Usually, one-third of your bathtub will be filled with cold water. The remaining water will need to be hot water.

Bathtubs hold from 25 to 150 gallons of water. This amount of water will depend on the size of the tub. The question to ask yourself: "Is my water heater big enough to provide two-thirds of my bathtub with hot water?"

If your water heater can't handle the water requirements of an oversized bathtub, you may need to buy a smaller tub.

Can Your Floors Support the Weight of Your Bathtub?

When considering a new tub, it's important to factor in not only the tub's weight, but also the weight of the water and the weight of the occupant -- and you may discover that you need to strengthen the floor beneath the tub with reinforcement supports or bracing

In most modern homes, the average bathroom floor can safely hold 40 pounds per square foot (PSF). Which means an standard 5-by-10 foot bathroom floor generally supports up to 2,000 pounds. Plastic tubs can weigh around 60 pounds, but a cast-iron bathtub can weight between 400 and 1,000 pounds.   If you're working with an older home, or an unusual space, or considering a heavier tub, make sure your floors handle the weight.

You should carefully study how much weight your floors can handle or contact an expert contractor, structural engineer, or architect. If you have the original plans to your home, that's a bonus, but not necessary..

Materials Make the Difference

The material you select for your tub determines the tub's price, its durability, and how easy it is to clean. Compare materials to help you choose.

Plastic: Plastic is the most flexible material. Made in fiberglass or acrylic, plastic forms to many shapes. It holds heat and water stays warmer.

Plastic is also the lightest tub, weighing in at 60 to 70 pounds. Although it doesn't chip easily, abrasive cleaners often damage its surface.

Enameled steel: Enameled steel bathtubs made from a porcelain-enamel coating will cost you the least. But the material has its disadvantages. The water inside cools quickly. The surface tends to chip. It's also double the weight of plastic tubs.

Cast-iron: Coated with enamel, cast-iron tubs resist chipping as much as steel tubs do. They are more durable and resist impacts.

Cast iron keeps the water warm for a long period. Its weight is its drawback which makes it challenging to install on the second floor.

Cast-polymer: Cast-polymer tubs mirror the appearance of granite, onyx, and marble. They're manufactured in a variety of colors and cost more than acrylic. Their gel-coat finish may become brittle and crack.

Proprietary composites: New to the marketplace, proprietary composites include porcelain enamel, resins, and steel materials. They provide the advantages of cast iron without the weight.

Bathtub Types and Installations

Choosing a bathtub also depends on which configuration is best for your bathroom. Here are a variety of installation types.

Alcove tubs: Also known as recessed tubs, alcove tubs are installed inside three walls.

Freestanding tubs: Freestanding tubs such as clawfoot tubs don't need to be supported by walls. They do need to be located close to plumbing lines.

Other bathtub installations: Drop-in tubs, platform tubs, under-mount tubs, and corner tubs.

The Bathtub Buyer's Guide Takeaway

We hope you enjoyed learning the deets about tubs in our bathtub buyer's guide. Whether you prefer a cast iron clawfoot tub, soaking tub, or an air tub with massaging jets, you now know how to select the best bathtub for your home.

Looking for a gorgeous free-standing tub? Check out the Telluride, one of our favorites.


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