Choosing a bathtub is something we hardly do nowadays. A shower is the fastest way to get clean when you are on the go. When you have a bit more time, the bathtub can be a relaxing alternative. Bathtubs are more than a place to wash. They are very soothing, peaceful and a very personal experience. Bathtub manufacturers have therefore produced a variety of styles, features and shapes to match any taste and budget.
Types of bathtubs
Bathtubs are different in characteristics. Freestanding and clawfoot types will usually have a favored position in the bathroom. Alcove, drop-in and corner tubs are nestled against the walls and integrated into the overall scheme.
3-wall alcove tub-shower combinations are the most common tub type and are designed to maximize space. The unfinished ends usually get sandwiched between an exterior wall and a handy built-in storage cabinet. A wall-mounted is a better choice than a hand-held shower.
Drop-in tubs are the tub shell only. They’re fitted inside a framed enclosure that’s finished to match bathroom cabinets or tile. An enclosure is a separate item, so budget accordingly.
Undermounts are drop-ins destined for floor-level installation. Flooring, such as tile, covers the lip of the tub.
Corner tubs are variations on the alcove and drop-in designs. Their large, squarish proportions are conducive to dual bathing.
Freestanding tubs feature a sculpted bathing bowl on a solid base or a cradle.
Clawfoot tubs are the grand version of a freestanding tub. The signature legs support tubs that are especially deep. ” Slipper” -type designs have a high back for supporting the user’s head and neck.
Bathtub features to consider
Most bathtub manufacturers offer an array of options, especially for the top-of-the-line products. The following accessories can be installed in a bathtub if the manufacturer allows it.
Jets and bubbles. This is usually found in a whirlpool tub and it comes with:
- In-line heaters that warm water as it circulates.
- Silent motor technology that reduces the sound of the jets.
- Multi-speed settings to adjust the vigor of the jets.
- Foot massage jets mounted on underwater footrests.
- Bubble-only jets providing warmed air throughout the tub.
- Micro-bubble jets that fill the tub with champagne-like effervescence.
Chromatherapy: Underwater LED lights that can change according to the colour you set.
Music: The bathtub can feature a resonant speaker panels attached to the tub that can sync to playlists you have on your computer
Digital Controls: A built-in touchpad that controls the temperature, jet direction and flow, color and music.
Materials and costs
Bathtubs are made from different materials and they are available in a wide range of styles. Prices can be anything, depending on the features you choose. For example, a standard acrylic alcove tub may go for R7000. If you add lights, heated bubbles and digital controls to a drop-in acrylic bathtub, you may even expect to pay R180 000.
Acrylic and Fiberglass: Generally, these are the least expensive options. They are easily available at home improvement centers. There is also a wide selection of colors. Prices are as low as R4 000, while it can reach as high as over R100 000.
Cast-iron: A cast-iron bathtub with an enamel finish can be available in many colors. Heavy cast-iron is a great tub to have, especially during winter because it keeps water warmer for longer periods of time. They are usually in the mid-price range but you will need a bit of muscle to transport it. Prices range from R4 000, to R12 000 and then up to R110 000.
Copper: This is probably the pinnacle of bathroom couture. Very elegant and attractive but it comes at great cost. Prices usually range from R40 000 to R50 00.
Enameled steel: These are moderately priced tubs with a well-deserved reputation for toughness, especially resistance to scratching and staining. Color choices are generally limited. As for the price range, you can pick one up from between R3500 to about R10 000. The top end models go as high as R80 000.
Stone and wood: Yes, it is possible to have one of these but they are very rare and you hardly find manufacturers that will make them. They are normally custom-made and it takes a bit of time to get it done. The tub can be carved from a block of travertine, limestone or other natural rocks. You can even get laminated walnut, pear, mahogany and other types of wood. They are only freestanding and the prices are extremyly high. If you find one of these expect to pay between R150 000 and R250 000.
Do not forget stock baths
It may be tempting to get all the features, shapes, sizes and colors but you need to remember something. Some of your favorite bathing experiences probably happened in your childhood, splashing around in an ordinary tub. These memories are absolutely prices and your kids will feel the same way.