Discover a Truly Terrific Tub!

At the end of a long day, is there anything better than sinking into a tub full of bubbles and taking a long soak, with jets massaging your aching muscles?

For many people, a luxurious bathtub is a dream, one of those items that‘s high up on the wish list for their home, but often gets pushed down the priority list by other, more practical purchases. With advances in technology, though, and certain features becoming standard on tubs, it's easier than ever to have the tub of your dreams.

Types of Tubs

Unless you have a newer home or have recently been involved with a remodel, when you hear “tub” you probably think of a standard acrylic tub, surrounded by three walls and not terribly deep. While these sort of types are certainly widely available and are generally the most economical option, there are other options; even if you have limited space or a limited budget.

Soaking tubs are fast becoming one of the most popular tub styles installed in new bathrooms and remodels. Deeper and wider than a standard tub, soaking tubs let you sink down deep to be totally submerged in the warm water, offering a more relaxing experience. Soaking tubs can be installed in an alcove like a standard tub or in a popular design option, big freestanding models that are reminiscent of the antique claw foot style tubs. Keep in mind that soaking tubs require more water, making them heavier when filled.

Although some experts claim that their popularity is waning, whirlpool and air tubs are still good options for a relaxing bathing experience. Whirlpool tubs use jets to move the water around the tub, massaging tired muscles. Air tubs shoot air into the water, creating thousands of relaxing bubbles. These types of tubs are generally larger than standard tubs, and require extra space for the equipment that makes them run, including pumps, hoses and filters. These tubs also require more maintenance than other tubs.

Beyond jets and bubbles, some tubs include additional relaxation features, such as built in sound systems and chromatherapy; with a chromatherapy tub, LED lights are installed in the tub and add color and light to the water to calm or energize you while you soak.

Installation

Before you pick out your dream tub, carefully measure the space you have available. Consider the layout, will the tub fit in the available space or will you have to move the toilet or vanity. You don't want to get your heart set on an extra-large or corner-mounted soaking tub, only to discover that your bathroom is a few inches too small for it to be installed. In fact, when you're considering a new tub, especially one of the new models, it's best to get a professional consultation to ensure that you have adequate space and plumbing for the new tub.

Tubs come in a wide variety of materials, from cast iron to wood. Chances are that you're most familiar made from acrylic, which is lightweight and easily molded into custom shapes, as well as the least expensive material. It's susceptible to scratches, but usually easily repaired.

Cast iron tubs are the most durable and will hold up to decades of use in your home. They are heavy though, so require serious structural support – and generally, tubs with air or jets aren't made from cast iron. Enamel over steel tubs are also durable, but not quite as heavy, as are composite tubs.

The best tub for your home really depends on what you want for features, and what your home (and budget) will sustain. However, keep in mind that certain tubs require a more involved installation; for example, a whirlpool or jet tub often requires a built-up deck surrounding the tub to hide the pumps and filters. If you ever want to remodel the bathroom again, you'll need to remove that installation. Freestanding tubs are attractive and appear easy to place, but they have to be placed near the plumbing and drain systems.

If you are designing a bathroom from scratch – such as new construction – you have more options when it comes to choosing your bathtub. However, if you're remodeling the bathroom, you may be more limited by space and structural constraints. But even within budget and space restraints, you can still have a bathtub that provides a relaxing respite from the chaos of the outside world.

This article was written by Ryan Tupper, who is a DIY consultant, plumber and contractor with over ten years of experience.