Pros and cons, installation, maintenance, and more
Having a clean and comfortable bathtub is a must, especially when you’re looking for a soak after a hard day’s work, so it is essential to select the best type of tub when building a new home or planning a home renovation project.
There is much information to sort through when choosing a bathtub and it can get overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, but don’t panic. Here’s a quick guide about bathtubs that should give you a brief overview of how bathtubs work and how to choose the right one for your property.
How do bathtubs work?
While there may be different styles and designs of bathtubs available today, usually made of porcelain-enamelled steel, thermoformed acrylic, or fibreglass-reinforced polyester, they all work on the same principle using a water supply line and a drain.
Bathtubs usually consist of three main parts: The tub, the water supply line, and the drain. Drains are connected to a property’s drain line, while valves are connected to hot and cold-water supply lines. In general, water comes out through taps, stays in the tub, and exists through drains.
Some of the most common types of bathtubs include:
- clawfoot baths
- pedestal bathtubs
- baby baths
- hot tubs
- whirlpool baths
- freestanding bathtubs
- soft bathtubs.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of bathtubs?
Bathtubs are very common, but it is good to know if having a bathtub works for you or not before choosing a bathtub to install in your home. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of bathtubs to help property owners and investors decide:
A bath relaxes the muscles
Baths are good for relaxing sore muscles. They work even better with Epson salts are used as to provide exfoliating and soothing properties to the skin, as well as reduced inflammation of the joints.
A bath can help lower stress levels and blood pressure
With the use of essential oils, baths can be aromatherapeutic. Bathing with essential oils can reduce tension and anxiety, ease stomach issues, soothe pains, lower the overall stress level in the body, and lower blood pressure. Depending on the essential oils used when bathing, baths can have several positive effects on the body.
A bath is ideal for children under supervision
It’s easier to clean children in tubs as compared to just using showers. Not only is it more comfortable, but children will enjoy bathing in tubs as a time to play. In addition, parents can have more time cleaning their kids thoroughly in tubs compared to simply showering.
Tubs can have special features added to them
Depending on the property owner’s preference, they can install whirlpools or air jets in their tubs. Not only do these upgrades make bathing more comfortable, but it also adds a touch of luxury even while bathing at home.
Accessibility for people with movement challenges
Older people usually find it challenging to go in and out of tubs because of their design, whether a freestanding tub or an inset tub. Bathtubs are also slippery, which means a high chance of having slip and fall accidents for older people with an unstable gait. If you are thinking of installing a tub for a person who may find it difficult to get in or out, consider a tub with improved accessibility or handle grips along the wall.
High water usage
Bathtubs can hold 50-150 litres of water, or even more. Therefore, to those into conserving water, bathtubs may not be a suitable bathing method.
Having a bath will take time
Using bathtubs is time-consuming, which can be a benefit too! Apart from the actual bathing process, filling a tub and draining it after bathing takes time to. Not so practical if you’re in need of a quick clean-up after work – showers would be more practical.
What are the common materials used when creating bathtubs?
There are numerous options when it comes to choosing the materials of bathtubs. Each of these come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, which we’ve listed below. Here are some of the most common materials used for bathtubs:
Fibreglass is a type of reinforced plastic constructed into layers and moulded into the shape of a bathtub. After getting the desired shape, fibreglass is coated with gelcoat resin to protect the material and make it look good as new.
Pros: Fibreglass bathtubs are some of the most affordable in the market. This type of tub is an excellent option for those on a tight budget. Since fibreglass is a relatively light material, it can be easily moved around and installed in a property and damage to fibreglass is reasonably easy to repair as well.
Cons: This material is porous over a long time and is predisposed to cracking and the finish and colour of the tub will also deteriorate because of cleaning chemicals on the material.
Acrylic tubs are formed by using a solid sheet of combined materials (resins, fillers, petrochemicals, stabilisers, etc.), heating them, and moulding them into the shape of a bathtub. After this, acrylic is reinforced with fibreglass.
Pros: This material is not porous like simple fibreglass. It doesn’t absorb water and is less likely to get damaged over time. Acrylic tubs retain heat better than porcelain tubs. This material is also less susceptible to bathroom stains and mildew.
Cons: Acrylic is prone to scratching, and you may feel unstable when standing. However, these effects are a bit less than fibreglass. This material is also more expensive than fibreglass tubs.
This type of tub is made from stamped steel or cast-iron materials coated with porcelain enamel material, fused through powdered glass, melting at high temperatures, and eventually hardening into a durable coating.
Pros: Porcelain tubs are smooth and look lustrous. They are resistant to scratches and are easy to clean.
Cons: Since porcelain tubs have good sheen and lustre, they are slippery. This means that porcelain tubs are falling hazards. Also, since porcelain doesn’t hold heat well, hot water temperatures will not be maintained in this type of tub. Porcelain tubs also chip upon hard impact, so you would want to be extra careful when using this type of tub.
Clay is heated to a high temperature until it hardens, forming ceramic tiles moulded into the shape of a bathtub.
Pros: This is easy to mould and is compatible with most properties. This material has the most size and shape options for bathtubs. It can also be styled easier compared to other materials. Ceramic tubs are also one of the cheaper options in the market.
Cons: This material requires more frequent maintenance. It is crucial to maintain the grout holding the ceramic tiles together; otherwise, it can cause crumbling and faster deterioration of the material. Additionally, this material may feel uneven or bumpy.
These are just some of the most common materials used when creating bathtubs. Apart from those listed above, other materials used when creating bathtubs are stone resin, cast iron, cultured marble, copper, and wood.
Things to consider when choosing bathtubs
When choosing bathtubs, aesthetics is not the only thing one should bear in mind. Here are some of the key things to remember when selecting the right bathtub:
1. Size and shape of the bathroom
It is also important to check where the tub will be placed. If it’s going to be placed in corners, one should find a bathtub that fits well in corners. If the bathtub were to be placed in the middle of the room, there would be more freedom in choosing the tub’s shape and size.
2. Size of the tub
There’s no one-size-fits-all measurement for bathtubs. When choosing a tub, take note of the space in the bathroom and the number of people who bathe in the tub. The standard tub size is around 80cm wide and 1.5m long, but there are larger tubs available on the market.
3. Inset tubs or elevated tubs
You can choose how to install the bathtub, depending on your comfort preference. An inset tub (low height) might be preferable, however, most bathtubs today are elevated.
4. Main material of the tub
Depending on your budget, preferences, and aesthetic goals, several core materials are available as listed above. Balancing the budget with the quality and looks of the tub can determine which core material is best for a property owner.
5. Drains and pipe positions
Drain and pipe placement are necessary when customising a new bathtub. It’s more cost-effective to find a tub with matching drain placement but moving already-existing drains can also be an option. If the bathtub is going to be a tub and shower combination, there are even more requirements for drain and pipe placement.
Having a good placement of drains and pipes is ideal from a plumbing perspective, so it is best to consult with a trusted, local plumber when determining how to place the drains and pipes in a house.
Additionally, it is also good to look at the accessibility and safety of the tub, its durability, the taps and fixtures to be installed, and bathtub weight, among others.
How do bathtub installations work?
Bathtub installation is not an easy project, especially for those with no experience or background in the field. If you’re planning to install a new bathtub, it’s still better to reach out to trusted plumbing companies like Green Planet Plumbing to get started.
However, there’s no harm in knowing exactly what goes on during bathtub installations. Here’s a quick guide to bathtub installation at home:
1. Place the bathtub’s ledger board
One of the first things one must do during bathtub installation is to place a ledger board in the bathroom. This ledger board will support the parts of the tub that will be in contact with the walls.
2. Secure the plumbing of the bathtub
It’s more efficient to install the overflow pipes and drains before securing the bathtub in its enclosure permanently.
3. Secure the bathtub
The first step to securing the bathtub is to mix a batch of mortar according to the tub’s instruction manual. Then, spread a 5cm layer of mortar on the subfloor where the tub will be placed. Finally, lift the tub and position it against the walls. Make sure that the bathtub fits tightly.
4. Level the bathtub
Check if the tub is properly levelled. If it is not, then the installer must adjust it by placing wood under the tub.
5. Secure the tub to the enclosure
- Checking the level of the tub.
- Secure it to its enclosure.
- Drive nails through the holes in the flange or drill holes at each stud if the tub is made of fibreglass.
- If the tub is cast iron or steel with no holes, drive the nails above the flange.
This is a case-by-case basis, so it is better to check the material of the tub first before securing the tub to its enclosure.
For more information about bathtub installation in Newcastle and Hunter Valley, contact Green Planet Plumbing.
Bathing using bathtubs has its own share of advantages and disadvantages, not to mention the potential challenges of installation. Once you’ve decided to install a bathtub in your property, you should consider what type of bathtub will work best with you and your family.
To learn more about bathtubs and how they’re installed, it is best to contact the professionals – Green Planet Plumbing. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on (02) 4911 9402 or send us an online message by clicking here to get started!