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How to Choose a Bathtub

Bathtubs aren’t simple anymore. In today’s modern day bathroom, tubs are becoming outdated especially if you have two or more in the house. Losing a tub in the master bathroom isn’t going to devalue the house especially if you want to put in place a giant walk-in shower. But if you want to have that classic master suite bathroom there are many types of bathtubs to choose from that fits your family’s needs. There are two basic kinds of bathtubs but many styles, sizes, and materials come in those two styles.

 

Freestanding Tubs

This type of tub stands alone and is usually finished on all sides. They are usually more expensive than built-ins, depending on the fixture choices. They are becoming more affordable than before because of their popularity. Plumbing can be harder to hide and be more extensive. They also take up more space in the bathroom, so make sure space is compatible with this choice of the tub.

 

Built-in Tub

A built-in tub is a bathtub that is unfinished on at least two sides and is installed against a wall or within a pre-built tub surround or enclosure. Depending on the choice of material for the surround it can become more expensive than the freestanding tubs. Usually fairly easy to hide the plumbing in these types of tubs.

 

Types of Materials

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is the least expensive type of material, also called fiberglass-reinforced plastic or FRP. It is made by forming layers of fiberglass into the shape then coated with something called Gelcoat resin. Fiberglass does scratch easy so there is more maintenance involved, which is why it isn’t the number one choice on the market anymore.

 

Porcelain on Steel

Another name for this is called enameled steel, which is another inexpensive type of tub and very common. This type of tub is stamped from a thin sheet of steel, then finished with a layer of porcelain enamel. These are very durable, easy to clean, and little to no maintenance. Americast is a little better of a material where it is reinforced in a molded composite backing. The finish is resistant to common chemicals and will keep the gloss for quite some time. This is a heavier style of tub, than fiberglass or acrylic, and can rust and chip under impact. One downside is it is limited to shapes and sizes compared to other tubs.

 

Acrylic

Acrylic is fiberglass sheets that are reinforced by an underneath vacuum-formed sheets of colored acrylic. They are very similar to fiberglass but are more expensive and more popular in terms of maintenance.The finish can scratch or discolor over time but the better grades of tub finishes have now reduced that problem to a minimum. There are a variety of choices on shape, sizes, and colors. It’s a very good choice but doesn’t appear high-end for some people.

 

Cast Iron

This material is very long lasting. They are made by pouring molten iron into a mold of any shape, then it is smoothed and coated with a thick layer of enamel. It is one of the most durable tubs available and the type of finish used is resistant to chemicals, chipping, scratching, and denting. The heavy material holds the water’s heat and is available in many colors. They are extremely heavy and may require extra labor and often a floor reinforcement to install. This is the one of the most expensive material on the market and has been around for ages.

 

Solid-Surface Materials

This is a new type of material in the bathtub market. It’s very durable and retains heat well. A variety of materials are used, some examples include minerals, polymeric materials, resins and then finished with a Gelcoat finish. They come in a variety of natural-looking colors, shapes, and sizes. Repairs can easily be made to the finish if needed.

 

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is crushed limestone mixed with resin and then finished with a Gelcoat. You have so many options for color, size, and style. The Gelcoat used with cultured marble is more durable than the one used with fiberglass and the price is in between acrylic and cast iron.

 

Ceramic Tile

These tubs are made on site to whatever size and shape desired. Your design options are more array than any other but you will have to deal with more maintenance because of the grout and some people complain about the irregular interior surface is not comfortable on the bare skin. You can choose an acrylic tub and have it encased in ceramic tile to make the comfort level better. This will create a higher end look and reduce the cleaning.

 

Stone and Wood

This type of tub is custom ordered from a variety of natural stone materials including granite, marble, onyx, travertine, basalt, sandstone and other materials. They are extremely heavy and require special structural framing to support the weight. Wood usually also custom-ordered and is made from teak wood which is a tropical hardwood tree species.  Some other woods can be Hinoki wood or Port Orford Cedar. Wood tubs do hold the heat longer than any other tub material. As you can imagine these custom tubs are going to give your bathroom a “wow” factor but it also comes with a price tag that isn’t cheap and maintenance will require a lot more to preserve the beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

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