Selecting the Right Bath Tub
Tubs are one of the most talked about features of a bathroom remodel. They're either IN or they're OUT! Our remodeling clients often choose to eliminate a unused tub in favor of a large shower with seating, body sprays, steam, etc. And for other clients, the tub is one of their most favorite features and sometimes one of the main reasons they want to remodel! (read this alpharetta bathroom remodeling story) So if a tub is IN in your home, and you're wondering which one is right for you, try these tips from Studio Il Bagno: "Five Rules for Selecting the Right Bath Tub"
-RULE 1. First determine the exact dimensions of the space where the tub will be placed and then consider the types of installations that could fit into that area.
-RULE 2. Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of commonly used bathtub materials to determine which will work best for you.
- Of all possible surfaces, acrylic has become the material of choice in the bathing world due to its
- Acrylic can be maintained with little more than regular cleanings using a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Water lines can easily be wiped off with a soft cloth. If the surface becomes scratched, it can easily be restored by light sanding using extra-fine grit wet and dry sandpaper After years of wear, the finish on an acrylic bath can still be buffed to a high sheen—something that cannot be done on dulled enamel cast iron or fiberglass.
- Acrylic is both strong and light weight. It is also more forgiving should you slip and fall. And, if you select the right manufacturer, there will be absolutely no flexing in the floor or sides of the bath. It stands up to high temperatures and ultraviolet light, resists thermal cracking, and is highly resistant to chemicals and mildew.
- In addition, acrylic is moderately priced and affordable.
ENAMELED CAST IRON:
- Also known as porcelain, enameled cast iron tubs are quickly becoming the dinosaurs of the tub industry. These tubs are very strong and durable but also very heavy and may require extra support in the sub-floor.
- Their fired surface is high gloss and hues are rich, but abrasive cleansers used on the surface may permanently destroy the shine. The non-skid texture put on the bottom of many cast iron tubs can be particularly difficult to clean. The baked-on enamel surface resists scratches, cracks, and chips; however, if these do occur, they will require expensive professional attention to repair.
- Cast iron is initially cold to the touch. It warms by conducting heat out of the bathwater into the metal and then back out into the room—a cycle that requires hot water continually be added to the bath to maintain water temperature.
- Cast iron tubs are typically more expensive than acrylics and come in limited shapes and sizes.
- Gel-coated fiberglass bathtubs are inexpensive, strong, light-weight, and available in many sizes
- Cultured marbled is essentially a blend of crushed limestone, fiberglass resins, and fillers coated with a clear gelcoat formulated to as produce—at least initially— a tough, durable, non-porous and shiny surface that is stain resistant and easy to maintain. However, once you wear through the thin gel-coat veneer, the porous body of the bath will be difficult to keep clean. If you are considering cultured marble or another other solid surface tub, look at the underside. If it is porous and full of bubbles, beware.
EUROPEAN STEEL ENAMEL:
- European steel enamel baths have wide usage, particularly in Europe, and are not to be confused with domestic steel tubs that are much thinner and quite prone to chipping. The advantage of European steel enamel is its glass-hard, non-porous surface which is easy-care and hygienic. It is resistant to scratches, impact, UV rays, chemicals, heat, and limescale. Steel enamel baths come in a multiplicity of sizes and shapes, including an array of narrow widths for use when space is at a premium. Newly introduced to America, European enameled steel baths are gaining popularity.
- For those seeking the bathtub to be the dramatic focal point of the room, baths can be created out of genuine marble, onyx, granite, glass, brass, copper, wood, and more. Many of these baths are truly works of fine art. While they are definitely made for bathing, they will require specialized care, depending upon the material, to maintain their beauty.
- RULE 3. Find a bath that is a comfortable fit for the person who will use it the most. “Try it on” first.
-RULE 4. Consider quality first and price second.
-RULE 5. If you enjoy soaking, consider adding a massage system.