According to recent trends, the popularity of bathtubs is on the wane.
When it comes to remodeling, about one in four households that have bathtubs are replacing them, usually with a larger shower. At the same time, households that are hanging on to their bathtubs can now indulge their senses by converting a strictly functional room into a personal spa oasis.
For those opting to indulge in a nice, hot soak the leading choice for a replacement is a freestanding design. Freestanding designs come in two versions, partial and full. A partial freestanding tub hooks up to a conventional in the wall faucet and filler, while a full freestanding uses a floor-mounted filler and faucet. If you’re considering a freestanding tub, here’s what to look for in terms of design and construction.
Your Tub Choices Are Nearly Limitless
Even though bathtub use is declining, the variety of tubs available in the marketplace is growing, in large part due to new materials and improved manufacturing methods. New materials now cover everything from carbon fiber to acrylic, while still supporting an extensive range of options in wood, marble, and stone.
Improvements in modern manufacturing techniques mean higher quality steel tubs and extended finishes on traditional cast iron. The pros and cons of nine popular materials include cost, heat retention, surface, scratch resistance, weight, etc.
From Marble to Plastic, Materials Free The Imagination
Acrylic’s advantages include a wide range of colors and an infinite choice of shapes. Large slabs of plastic are molded to the desired shape using heat to soften the acrylic sheets. The process results in a non-porous smooth surface that retains heat, although the plastic is subject to scratching.
Fiberglass is another material that’s been adapted to the bathing scene, which isn’t that far removed from a boat or a pool. Compared to steel or cast iron, lighter weight is a real benefit when it comes to ease of installation and structural requirements, especially on a second floor or higher which might need additional re-enforcement to support the weight.
Acrylic and cast iron both have excellent heat retention qualities, and depending on how much bathing is done that feature alone could result in considerable energy savings over the lifetime of the tubs. In the case of cast iron, that lifetime lasts forever.