Master Bath Remodeling - Choosing A Bathtub - Part 1

Choosing a bathtub for a master bath suite remodel.

Baths have been around for a long, long time! Remains of copper water pipes found in the Indus Valley date back to 3300BC and the ancient Romans were famous for their bathing practices. Bathing disappeared after the Renaissance as people believed that water could pass diseases through the skin only to reappear in the late 19th century.

Today, there are a plethora of different types of bathtubs to meet any aesthetic and hygienic need. There are large soaking tubs, tubs that features dozens of jets and there are aging-in-place models with a door and zero threshold tubs that make it easier to take a bath easier as you get older. In fact, bathtubs today can be made of a variety of materials, and this allows designers to push the envelope of what's possible!

Let's look at some of the factors to consider when choosing the perfect bathtub as well as some of the most popular types of bathtubs and materials available for your bathroom remodel!

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Tub

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right tub. Some you have control over like how you're going to use the tub, and some are controlled by the situation, for example, the size and configuration of your existing bathroom. Today, there are many different types of bathtubs to choose from to fit any want or need. You'll not only pick based on aesthetics, but the type of function and style, for example, air-jet tubs for a therapeutic soak, or a modern stand-alone soaking tub.

Technology has reached the bathroom as today you also have to factor in items like whirlpool jets, light, and sound, and even unique materials like wooden, or hand hammered copper tubs for a truly unique look.

The bottom line is that choosing a bathtub requires some knowledge. If you are working with an interior designer or design-build firm they can help you to narrow your choices. Start by defining how you'll use your new tub and what is available that meets your needs aesthetically and regarding functionality and available space. Do your research and build a foundation of knowledge and you'll find the perfect tub to fit your lifestyle!

Types of Bathtubs

Bathtubs come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, materials, and colors. Before you get into picking one, you'll first need to examine a couple of elements to help you narrow your choices:

• Do you have physical constraints? - Does your tub need to fit into your existing bathroom design? For example, if you are simply replacing your old tub during a remodel.

• Do you have no constraints? - For example, if you're building a new custom home, master bath addition or a complete gut-to-the-studs remodeling where plumbing can be moved.

Once you've established your needs, it's time to look at your choices. Here are a few of the most common to consider.

General Purpose Tub

This is your typical multi-function tub, most likely enclosed in an alcove and combined with a shower. This is the tub you'll use to bath the kids, wash the dog, and prepare for work every day. Nothing fancy, but they get the job done!

Soaking Tubs

Soaking tubs are deeper that a general purpose tub and are designed to be a focal point in your space. They allow you to immerse your entire body into the water. They come in a variety of styles, shapes, and capacities. Styles can range from the old-fashioned claw-foot tub, to modern, sleek tubs with multiple jets large enough for two.

Walk-In Bathtub

This is the perfect choice if you're planning on aging-in-place. A walk-in tub has a door, and a low thresh hold allowing you to walk in without having to climb over an edge. They're perfect if you have limited mobility and feature a waterproof seal that allows the tub to be filled to capacity.

Whirlpool or Air Tubs

These tubs offer a therapeutic soak by shooting water and air into the tub at strategic locations to give you a massage experience. Whirlpool tubs shoot jets of water into the tub, while an air jet pushes thousands of bubbles that invigorate the water. These types of tubs are more complex to install so you will need to take that into account when budgeting.


Once you've settled on a type of tub, you'll next need to consider the material it's made of. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The best solution is to discuss this with your master suite designer. Here are some typical materials:

• Cast Iron – Durable, and usually covered with enamel, a cast iron tub can provide you with reliable service for decades.

• Enamel on Steel – Look very similar to cast iron, are also durable but much lighter and more comfortable to install.

• Acrylic – A form of plastic, acrylic tubs offer a high gloss look and is much lighter than either iron or steel. It can, however, be scratched more easily, but scratches can be repaired more easily than enameled tubs. Easily formed, most whirlpool tubs are made from acrylic.

• Cultured Marble – This is an engineered stone made from crushed stone, stone dust and resin. Very similar in construction to quartz countertops. It's typically covered with a clear gel coat making it durable and easy to clean. It is somewhat brittle and can crack, scratch or chip. Scratches can be buffed out, but cracks are typically unrepairable.

These are some of the basics for choosing the perfect tub for your bathroom remodel. We'll take a look at the types of installations and some of the functional and technological choices you'll have in part two! The best advice for choosing the right bathtub is to do your research. Visit your bathroom designer showroom to see and touch materials and get a real feel for your choices. Again, working closely with your designer and contractor can help!


About Toulmin Kitchen & Bath Design - We're West Alabama's award-winning, premier kitchen and bath showroom. We're experts who are known for a design-build process that makes the construction process stress-free. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a design consultation.