How to Choose the Right Bathtub for your Master Bath
In our previous blog post tub or no tub, we dove into the many reasons why you don’t have to commit to a tub in your master bath. Many times the bathroom is too small, and squeezing in a tub can be intrusive to the overall flow of the design. Tubs inevitably take up a large portion of the overall bathroom footprint and if not frequently used, can be cumbersome to the layout, or worse, be repurposed as storage for laundry or bathroom toys. However, if you have the space, a thoughtfully placed tub can create a show stopping moment in your master suite!
For this article we are diving into some helpful questions to take into consideration should you choose to roll with the tub as part of your bathroom design. As mentioned in our previous post, many master baths are successfully designed with the tub out of the picture. For those who are daily bathers, love an occasional relaxing soak, or have little ones who need help bathing, a tub in the master bath can be a luxury and of course a gorgeous feature.
If you are undergoing a full master bath remodel or planning to do so sometime in the near future here a few tips to help you in finding your perfect tub.
How Do You Use Your Tub?
The first question you should ask yourself is how you and your family will use the tub. The usability of your tub can be broken down into a couple basic options: soaking and therapeutic. A soaking tub is the most common, and is exactly like it sounds, you can fill the tub to soak, bathe and relax! Soaking tubs are reserved for those who seek an in-home escape to a restoration oasis that is refined and still, no fancy bells and whistles here. They are also easy to clean and maintain! The second option is a therapeutic tub, with spa like features such as whirlpool, air jets, or chromotherapy lighting. With this option you are sure to be taken to a faraway place where only bubbles and fragrant aromas are welcome. No matter which direction you choose both options come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials that are sure to make your bath time a splash.
Size & Location
Nowadays tubs come in all shapes and sizes, and naturally your selection will first be dictated by the size of your space. A smaller bathroom may benefit from a freestanding oval tub, which offers a more efficient footprint than a rectangular tub that is deck mounted. Once you know a general location of where you would like your tub, measure out the space to see what your options are. Do you want to see your tub from the bedroom? Is there a window that is the prefect place to center a tub or do you simply need a tub regardless of the layout? If you are renovating a current bathroom, and are tying the new tub into an existing drain, you will need to consult with your contractor about the drain location. Center drain, left-hand or right-hand drain, will narrow your options a bit further. An adjoining piece of the puzzle is how the tub fits YOU! When it comes to fitting the tub for you and your loved ones, it is a good idea to get in and fit it for yourselves. Is the slope inside comfortable, will a 60” long tub suffice, or do you prefer to be completely submerged and need an additional 6”? Will the kids be using the tub and is the water level right for them? Keep in mind the larger the tub, the longer it takes to fill, and the faster the water cools! All these choices can help narrow your search for that perfect fit.
Built-In or Freestanding aka Spa Escape or Eye Candy
Whether the tub is built-in or freestanding, your selection should be a continuation of the overall design aesthetic. Built-in tubs typically evoke that spa like, comforting and inviting moment, while freestanding tubs are synonymous with the coveted WOW factor of some incredibly special master suites. If you want to have the breathtaking impact in your master bath, more than likely you will find yourself leaning towards a freestanding option. These pieces have a sculptural quality so they can stand alone, and create a perfectly chic vignette. Freestanding tubs range in styles from the classical claw-foot tub, to a soft transitional skirted or pedestal, to a modern single ended or double ended piece. If you want to have the best of both worlds, and prefer the look of a freestanding tub, with therapeutic bells and whistles, brands such as MTI and Kohler have your back! Obviously, these options can cost bit more… the price you pay for luxury! Other brands such as Jetta and Jacuzzi have more cost effective options.Built-in or deck mounted tubs are more of a spatial commitment because they naturally take up more room. As stated in the name, the tub is either mounted above or under the surface material and built into a space. Deck mounted tubs are popular because the added surface area creates an ideal counter for products, candles, towels, or even a wine glass! If you plan on bathing your kiddos in your master bath, it is the perfect place to perch, and stage your little one’s toys. It is also much easier to find built-in tubs with spa features, as the mechanics of the spa features can be stored in the platform surrounding the tub.
Tubs now come in a variety of materials! When it comes to the material selection, you will again want to decide how you anticipate using your tub. Materials can include acrylic, cast iron, solid surface, copper, stainless steel, and even stone. Acrylic and solid surface are the most commonly used in our projects, acrylic being the most budget friendly. Acrylic tubs come in a range of styles, are light weight, and typically easy to install. Cast iron is typically reserved for Claw Foot tubs, and consists of cast iron coated in a porcelain enamel. They are notoriously heavy, and tricky to install, but absolutely stunning in historical homes! You can think of a solid surface tub as a perfect hybrid of the two. The solid surface most often consists of a composite material comprised of resin and natural stone. They come in a variety of styles, are lighter weight than cast iron or stone, but have heavier hand and retain heat more effectively than their acrylic counter parts. Victoria + Albert, have an absolutely stunning catalog of solid surface tubs. If you are after a bold statement for your master abode, you may want to consider a more unique material such as copper, stainless steel, stone or even wood. Just be aware, each unique material comes with their own set of unique requirements for installations & maintenance. For example, stone tubs are absolutely stunning but be sure to consult with your G.C. on the weight of the piece, as you may have to have the structure reinforced, and copper will require some unique cleaning techniques!
Remember there is no one size fits all when it comes to the perfect tub for your master bath. I hope these tips have helped bring some light to your tub dreams and inspire you to choose something that is uniquely you, for you and your family to enjoy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the choices out there, please schedule a remote design consultation here. Water Closet Chic by Evensen Design is here to help. Below are some of our favorites tubs, ENJOY!
Here are some of our favorite tubs and where to find them.
Therapeutic Free Standing Tubs
Drop In – Undermount
Cast Iron & Clawfoot Tubs