You’ve decided to turn your bathroom into your home’s ultimate relaxation refuge. You’ve decided that the ‘70s green fibreglass tub needs to step into the current decade. Or you’ve moved into your new home and realized that the solo-shower situo, needs to become more of a convenient shower-tub situo.
Whatever your reasons for adding or replacing a bathtub, you might find our top 5 tips on how to pick out the perfect tub, to be quite helpful…
We all know what we like and what we don’t, so if it comes to buying something new or replacing an item in our home, we want it to suit our personal preferences. There are many bathtub styles to pick from, however choosing one will come down to your individual preference, the amount of space you have to work with and where exactly your plumbing lines are.
Known as one of the most popular tub styles, this is, as the name sounds, a standalone tub that is popular for its ability to freely fit anywhere in any space and doesn’t require a connecting wall. These can come in many different shapes (think oval or even asymmetrical) and sizes.
You have more than likely seen a picture of one of these tubs, or simply heard the name, but this traditional style, dating back to the Victorian era, has developed into a very ‘in demand’ style of late. A freestanding tub, designed with aesthetic feet “claws” on the bottom to act as stands, situating the tub up and off the floor.
If you live in an apartment or have a smaller bathroom, this might be the tub type for you, as it nestles nicely between three walls (two ends and a longer back wall), which are great for also combining with a shower to take up less space.
As mentioned above, space might be a great reason to opt for a tub shower so that you can have both options conveniently located in one. Usually available as a 1-piece unit, you can find styles that include integrated shelving or bars to hold on to, as well as shower doors if you wish.
Think brands like Whirlpool or an Air Tub that have self-contained jets integrated into their design, adding an added way to unwind. With a primary function to massage, air bubbles push water through to create a bubbling or massage sensation.
You may know which style you have in mind, but what about the material for it to be made from? Depending on price, look and comfort, what you think you might want, may change. All materials are different to the touch and look aesthetically different, so it might be worthwhile heading to your local homewares or bathroom specialist store to try them out beforehand…
One of the most affordable options, fibreglass is moulded out of reinforced plastic sheeting that ends up being quite durable, although its surface can be prone to nicks and scratches from any heavy impact. Fibreglass can also be quite porous and absorb water over time and you will need to select your tub from a smaller colour pool.
A durable material, lightweight and one that is non-porous – meaning over time, this tub will last and not warm or deteriorate as much over time. However, if you’re familiar with anything porcelain, it is easy to clean, but keep in mind this material is still prone to damage from any hard impact and can end up with noticeable blemishes on its façade.
Similar to clay, these tubs are formed by moulding numerous ceramic tiles together until hard. Available in many styles and sizes, the only thing to keep in mind is that ceramic does need to be maintained or it can deteriorate over time.
An extremely durable material, this is long-lasting and low maintenance. Great for retaining heat, but can be heavy, so your bathroom floor may need reinforcement to allow for its weight. Keep in mind the weight of the empty tub, as well as the weight when it’s full. If you opt for a cast iron tub, we recommend asking a professional to help with installation.
Giving a rustic and aesthetically pleasing look, the wood is sealed with water-resistant wax to keep it from leaking. Expect a high price tag for this particular material and be prepared for a wooden tub to eventually start to break down from use over time.
Similar to wood, you can custom order a stone tub from a variety of different materials including granite, marble, onyx and sandstone, to name a few. Again, a very heavy tub that may require floor reinforcement and help to install, but the same with wood, a stone tub will require ongoing maintenance to retain its appearance as time goes on.
Determined mostly by the material of tub that you select for your home, but the size will also play a factor – the smaller the tub, the less material, the lower the price. However, a small tub made of stone is going to cost more than a small tub made of fibreglass…
The style of your tub can also affect the price too, as something custom-made or something that has more time spent on its design is also going to bump up its dollar amount.
The price of a new tub can really cost anywhere from around $500-2000 and beyond, but there may also be options for you to find a great tub second-hand. Keep in mind that any floor reinforcements, alterations to the location of your plumbing and pipes, or professional installation aid will all also add to the cost of the tub alone.
Another piece connected to the pricing puzzle is that hardware will also come at a cost depending on what style you choose. Some tubs will require certain hardware that will fit with its design, if you have a shower tub, there is extra for the shower wand and if you’re custom building your own tub, you might be looking at fixtures and hardware perhaps also on a higher end.
Things to consider are:
- The faucet
- The drain and overflow
- Shower head / Shower wand
With faucets, keep in mind that the finish of the faucet can also create more decision-making, depending on the colour you want, the durability of the finish and what level of maintenance it will require (for example, the colour might show dirt and its polish might show off your fingerprints).
Let’s look at a plastic finish. This would be low cost, but also low durability. However, a brass finish will be a higher cost and higher durability but will require more than usual maintenance to keep it clean and shiny. Some options could be:
- Stainless Steel – low cost, high durability, with some maintenance
- Brushed or Polished Nickel – low cost, high durability, lower maintenance
- Powder Coat – low cost, medium durability, along with some maintenance
Here are a few last-minute considerations to keep in mind…
• Check the width of your doors and hallways. It’s one thing to finalize the tub and hardware you want, it’s another to make sure it will fit through your home and into the bathroom! A recommended measurement is for doors and walls to be at least 4 inches wider than your bathtub to allow it to fit, and manoeuvre.
• It’s important ahead of time to make sure that you have all the required plumbing and electrical requirements. E.g., if you’re looking at a jetted tub, do you have what you need to support its use? Check that the tub you buy is directed correctly for your bathroom space – i.e., if you’re buying a tub shower, is the plumbing on the left or the right?
• If you are changing the location of your tub in your bathroom, are you prepared to cover the cost of moving your drains, plumbing lines, cabinetry, shower, etc., to ensure its placement will be effective? Do you need to budget extra costs for contractors to assist?
• Is your water heater large enough to support heating your new tub?
• Size does matter when it comes to both the width and the height of your tub. Do you need something to step up and over into the tub if it’s too high? Do you need to have an inset tub that makes it easier to step into? Consider all the people living in your home who will be using the tub to ensure it’s not only easy but safe for them to use also.
• Again, depending on who is using your tub, do you need to add any safety rails or grips, or even a non-slick bottom to help minimize and prevent accidents?
• Consider if you want space around the top of your tub to place soaps, candles or other accessories such as a speaker for those relaxing tunes while you soak stresses away. Does it have shelf space, or do you need to add tile shelving?
Choosing a new bathtub to make your bathroom your relaxation havn is a great idea, whether as a renovation or necessity, and is something that can really add a new visual flavour to your space.
Enjoy the journey of decision-making and going to sight options first-hand, but make sure that you have considered the key points to consider beforehand. Take the time, go through the list, cross-check what you have with what you want and don’t be afraid to reach out to the bath/bathroom professional for either an assessment or simply some advice.
Our expert REALTORS® also know a thing or two about decor and what to look out for when buying your new home, so feel free to talk to your agent when you’re out searching for your new havn…