*Guide to Buying Bathtubs

February 12, 2011
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Bathtubs are a typical plumbing fixture in the bathroom.  They come in various types and can be made as either stand-alone or in conjunction with a shower.  With the advent of technology, bathtubs are manufactured from other materials and shapes.  While 19th century bathtubs are made from cast iron lined with porcelain, modern tubs are built from acrylic or fiberglass.  Designer bathtubs with a price range between $10,000 – $50,000 are also available for the elite few. These are made from marble, granite, travertine, hollowed boulders, wood, glass, stainless steel, and even with outer embossed Hermes leather.

In choosing the right tub, it is important to consider the size of your bathroom and the location of the plumbing.  Once these have been determined you will have a shortlist of the types of bathtubs from where you can choose the right one that suits your budget, design and comfort.  Aside from the size, shape, color, and type of material it is made of, bathtubs can also be installed in different ways.

One of the more affordable types is the recessed tub.  This is usually rectangular in shape and installed snugly on the area of a bathroom where only one side is visible and requires finishing.

A similar option is a corner bathtub.  As the name suggests, it is installed on a corner area with 2 sides of the tub visible.  Another choice would be a drop-in. bathtub This style either sits on a platform or set within a floor.  Most have visible rims and sit on the floor, while others are flush with the floor and rimless.

Finally, one steadily gaining popularity is the free-standing bathtub.  This is the more expensive option as almost every area of the tub will need to be finished.  Free-standing bathtubs are the current rage in bathroom design and styles vary from the most contemporary to vintage.  By vintage, it means a claw-foot tub drawn out from the earliest designs of bathtubs.  Some are actual antique claw-foot tubs made from refurbised porcelain-lined cast iron, while others are antique reproductions made from lighter materials.  Cast iron tubs are only suitable for bathrooms with floors that can support the weight.  Otherwise, the floor will need to be reinforced to be able to carry the poundage of cast iron.  For those who prefer a more unique contemporary bathroom design leaning towards nature, bathtubs made from natural stone or wood are the best option — as long as the budget is practically non-existent.

Meanwhile, if you prefer to focus more on functionality rather than look, a whirlpool tub with jets for therapeutic hydro-massage is another option.  Installation for whirlpool tub a much more complicated since it requires a dedicated electrical circuit and water heater.  With whirlpool tubs, there are another set of variables that you will need to evaluate.  There are different types of pumps, control systems for temperature and jet, and even the type of jet you prefer.  Those with air jets inject only air and are less powerful.  But they do prevent mildew formation.  A more powerful system are water jets that inject both water and air which are comparatively bigger than air jets.

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