Replacing a bathtub sounds simple enough. But, given all of the choices on the market, the decision process may become overwhelming. In the past there was little or no choice—every builder used a five-foot white bathtub. Today, you can choose a replacement bathtub in many sizes, shapes, and colors. So, how do you choose a bathtub that will work well for your situation? This is one of the many questions we are asked everyday.
Here are the most often asked questions about replacement bathtubs along with our answers. We hope this helps with your selection:
What kind of bathtub should I buy? What kind of bathtub is best?
The answer depends on how you will use your replacement bathtub. If you use your bathtub for a tub shower combo, you’ll want a bathtub that is not too deep so that you’ll have a shorter tub ledge to step over. The inside depth for a standard tub is 14” to 17”. A standard tub also works well for bathing children.
A deeper tub is better for soaking. Soaking tubs, or tubs with a whirlpool or air-bath system, are 18” to 22” deep. A soaking tub is difficult to use for a tub shower combo because of the height of the tub ledge.
When replacing a tub, choosing the same size with the same type of installation will cut down on construction costs.
The most common bathtub installation types are:
Alcove Bathtub—the bathtub is installed between two walls.
Corner Bathtub—the bathtub is installed in a corner and is typically used as a soaking tub. This type ofinstallation could be a tub installed in a deck or a freestanding bathtub.
Free Standing Bathtub— can be placed anywhere there is enough space.
A claw-foot tub is a good example of a freestanding bathtub.
Walk-In Bathtub—can be used as an alcove or freestanding installation.
Re-Bath specializes in expert design and installation of walk-in bathtubs.
How To Choose A Bathtub Replacement
Choosing the best bathtub for your bathroom depends on how much remodeling you are willing to do and how much room you have to work with. If you replace an alcove tub with the same size alcove tub, the cost is reasonable. If you want to change an alcove to a freestanding or deck tub, construction costs will be significantly more.
Even if you replace a bathtub in the same space, you may be able to get a replacement bathtub with a larger interior.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Bathtub Materials?
Steel bathtubs are lightweight, easy to install, and they are the least expensive tub with the fewest choices. Steel tubs are made by pressing a metal sheet into the form of a tub and then spraying it with an enamel finish. Rust is the enemy of a steel tub—if the enamel finish is scratched through to the metal, the tub will rust.
Fiberglass bathtubs are on the lower end of the cost scale and is made by forming layers of fiberglass over a desired shape and then coating it with Gelcoat resin. The quality of a fiberglass tub may be hard to determine because it depends on the thickness of the Gelcoat, which is difficult to verify. The finish is prone to dulling over time.
Cast iron bathtubs, which was once the standard, is rarely used anymore because of the high cost and the weight. Only a few companies still manufacture cast iron bathtubs. Weighing in at over 300 pounds, installation is difficult especially in remodeling situations. Rust is a problem if the finish is scratched through to the cast iron.
Acrylic bathtubs are a step up from steel or fiberglass. Made from vacuumed formed sheets of acrylic supported by fiberglass, acrylic has a deep beautiful glossy finish that is long lasting and easy to clean. Acrylic makes manufacturing different shapes and sizes easy so there are many choices available. Acrylic is very durable and is used to make airplane windshields, outdoor signs, skylights, and Corian counter tops.
DuraBath SSP bathtubs are made from a proprietary product manufactured exclusively by Re-Bath LLC. It is the next generation of acrylic that has all the same properties as an acrylic replacement bathtub, except the finish is harder and less porous.
No matter which tub you choose, the life of the tub will be greatly extended by proper care and cleaning.
What Kind Of Bathtub Is Easiest To Clean?
The less porous a surface is, the easier it is to clean. The least porous of the above materials would be DuraBath SSP followed by acrylic. Cleaning these products frequently will make them easier to clean. If soap scum is left to build up on your replacement bathtub over a long period of time, any surface will be harder to clean.
Some bathtub bottoms come with a rough slip-resistant finish, which can be difficult to clean. A bath mat will help keep the tub bottom cleaner.
Bathtub Repair And Bathtub Refinishing
You have two options—you can do-it-yourself or you can hire a professional. Re-glazing and repair kits are available at most home improvement stores.
Bathtub re-glazing is a high-tech paint, which requires detailed surface preparation before applying. The fumes are toxic, so be careful, wear a respirator, and provide adequate ventilation. Remember, glazing is paint and it is not as hard as the original finish. Professional re-glazing lasts about 5 years with proper care.
A bathtub in need of re-glazing
Bathtub repair kits work well for smaller nicks and holes, but are not designed to repair large areas.
Bathtub Repair Kit
If you are not sure which tub would work best for your bathroom or if you want to see all of the available options, call us for a FREE Design Consultation and Estimate.