Bathing Dilemma: Choosing the Best Tub Style

To soak or not to soak, that is the question.  This is a fun part of the tub shopping experience – choosing the perfect tub style for your needs and wants.  Tubs come as alcove style, drop-ins, corner units and freestanding models.

Alcove Tubs

Alcove tubs are ones that can also be used as showers.  They have a flange around 3 sides, and usually a skirt on the front, and are the best unit for showering in the tub.

The flange helps to create a watertight barrier between the tile and the wallboard behind.  A single flange tub allows the tile to sit directly on the rim of the tub.  This is a very clean look, but does require more maintenance over the years as the silicone that lines the tile/tub barrier to make it more watertight, will have to be replaced yearly (more or less) as the water will sit right at this line as it drains off the walls.  A double flange tub has the tile sit on a 1” (or so) raised acrylic platform from the tub rim.  In this installation, the water that has drained from the walls, sits on an acrylic channel.  These tubs require far less maintenance over the years.

The skirt on an alcove tub is the front of the tub, and is usually acrylic.  There are some flanged tubs that we can order without the acrylic skirt then the tub can have tile or wood on the skirt.  This appeals to some homeowners for the decorative touch it provides.

Drop in Tubs

Drop In tubs will sit on a tile or watertight deck.  It is very difficult to make these into showers as well, particularly if water control is important.  These tubs are usually used in bathrooms that have a separate shower.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and depths.

Corner Tubs

Corner tubs were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s.  They took up a lot of floor space, which clients are now trying to claw back for other purposes in their renovations.  The bathing well in most of these was not much different than the wells you get with drop in tubs, the difference is that you get so many more options for styles of installations and decorative touches with the drop in models.

Freestanding Tubs

Freestanding tubs come in two basic styles – single wall and double wall.  Single wall freestanding tubs are often more similar looking to the old cast iron tubs that most of us are familiar with.  In fact, many of them are made of acrylic, but look like they are made of cast iron.  Some of them, however, are much more modern looking and are made of manmade composite materials.  With these tubs, the waste & overflow are mounted on the outside of the tub, again, as we were familiar with in the cast iron tubs.  There are many different brands on the market and, of course, many different price points.  Double wall freestanding tubs are also available, with these the waste & overflow systems can be hidden between the walls.  A different option that may appeal to some clients.