While most people prefer to take showers, there’s something about being able to soak in a bathtub that’s downright therapeutic. You can just sit and relax in a tub in a way that’s not possible when you take a shower. Being submerged in water can actually relieve stress and soothe aching muscles. And when you add bubble bath – well, that’s another level of relaxation.
If you’re a shower person, these bathtubs might change your mind. Here’s what you need to know.
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2018 Design Trends report, 87 percent of professionals (designers, remodelers, architects, dealers and manufacturers) list freestanding tubs as their favorite. White is the dominant fixture color, with 78 percent of respondents choosing it over silver/gray or beige tones.
A bathtub with a scenic view allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature while submerged in one of the world’s most precious resources.
Even if you can’t get a spectacular view, natural light can help to make your soaking time more enjoyable. However, exercise caution to ensure that your bathtub isn’t visible to your neighbors.
“Everyone loves a beautiful, freestanding soaking tub, and they are now one of the most commonly requested items when it comes to a master bath remodel,” says Mina Fies, the creator of the Renovation Roadmap and Founder & CEO of Synergy Design & Construction.
However, she says that bathtubs shouldn’t just be beautiful to look at – they should also be used. “Good design takes usage into consideration. This freestanding Victoria + Albert bathtub is made of volcanic limestone and is a beautiful focal point and refuge for relaxation,” she says. “A linear wall niche accented in glass and stone mosaic tile adds a convenient spot to store bathing essentials – or a glass of wine.”
Bathtubs are heavy and, when filled with water and the weight of your body, they’re even heavier, which puts a lot of weight on your floor. Proper floor joists and framing can ensure that your subfloor doesn’t sag, which could damage your floor and cost a significant amount of money to repair or replace.
Also, you need a durable floor that is water resistant (and, preferably, water proof), like tile.
“The biggest mistake people make when finally getting their dream bathtub is overlooking whether or not their current hot water system is capable of producing enough hot water to fill some of these tubs,” explains Jarret Acevedo, a master plumber and owner of Jarret Acevedo Plumbing and Heating. “Always have a qualified plumber come in and size up your system to make sure it meets the demands of your new tub. Otherwise, you’re in for a lot of cold showers and baths.”
Your bathtub can hold a lot of water and it’s tempting to try to fill it with as much water as possible. While this may sound relaxing, it’s also wasting a lot of water. The City of San Diego’s Water Conservation site actually recommends shallow baths with no more than three inches of water in a bathtub. You’re probably not going to do that, but you should try to conserve water, which will also help you save money on your water and electricity bills.
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“Many homeowners are concerned about the maintenance and cleaning required in hard-to-get places behind the tub,” Fies says. “However, there are new designs on the market that look like they are freestanding but are actually attached to the wall, which makes them easy to clean.”
When cleaning your bathtub, a soft, damp sponge or cloth and a small amount of dishwashing liquid are usually enough. Don’t use brushes, steel wool, scouring pads or other abrasive materials that can scratch or chip the finish.
According to Jennifer Baldinger, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Scarsdale, NY, “Bathtubs are one of those things that buyers want to have but rarely use once they have them.” Baldinger says sellers believe they must have a bathtub for resale value. “I’m not sure who is right or wrong, but a new bathtub is certainly beautiful to look at in a bathroom.”