Here’s a great article by Angela Kovalyak on Realtor.com that may provide you with some interesting perspectives.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Bathtub
By Angela Kovalyak
As with any home remodeling project, knowing what you have to work with is key. The same is true for something as basic as buying a bathtub. In the past, bathtubs were simply containers to bathe the human body. Today, bathtubs make statements, and builders design entire rooms around them. So if you are in the market for a new tub, do a bit of research to ensure you make the best decision.
Remodeling your bath can also add value to your home, as kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms that potential buyers will consider.
When updating your bathroom with a new bathtub, begin by considering where it will go. First, if you’re just planning to replace an existing feature, then you probably don’t need to worry about plumbing issues. And, this means less cost.
What you will need to consider, however, is the amount of space available. More than likely, this will determine the type of bathtub purchased.Alternatively, if you’re planning an entire bathroom renovation, then the sky might be the limit.
In this case, you will probably hire a plumber to move water lines. Also, if you plan to add a jetted tub, waterfall or any other electrical feature, you may also require an electrician. These options are more costly, but they do allow you to create the bathroom of your dreams. Most importantly, measure your space, but not just the location to place the bathtub. Be sure to measure how much space is needed to get the new bathtub into your bathroom. This is especially important if you are not doing a complete renovation and want all of the walls left intact.
Now that you know where to place your bathtub, decide on the type. Here is a breakdown of the different bathtub types available online and at most home improvement stores: ? 3-wall alcove or recessed – bathtubs that are walled in on three sides with only one side exposed and finished; common to bath/shower combinations
? Corner – bathtubs that fit into the corner of the room; walled in on three sides with only one side exposed and finished; usually a triangle-shaped fixture
? Drop-in – bathtubs supported by a frame or built into the floor
? Freestanding – bathtubs that stand completely away from the wall
Once you decide on the type of bathtub to buy, consider the large selection of materials to choose from. Bathtubs come in all shapes and sizes, and are made of a plethora of materials. From fiberglass to wood, consider which look and feel you want – and which type will work into your budget. ? The most budget friendly option is fiberglass. It is lightweight and tends to install easily. However, it may not give the finish you want. It also tends to fade over the years.
? Acrylic bathtubs are a step above fiberglass. A bit more expensive, these bathtubs offer a higher gloss finish and more sturdy construction.
? Porcelain on Steel (POS) bathtubs are resistant to just about every element. However, POS tubs can be damaged quite easily. A stronger, sturdier option is cast iron. Heavy, durable and strong, these tubs can last a lifetime. The downside is that they come with few options above a basic recessed unit.
? A marble bathtub, on the other hand, can add beauty and offer a variety of options to choose from. However, these fixtures cost a lot of money and can damage easily.
? Finally, if allowed in your local area, a wooden bathtub can be a good option. Stylish and expensive, this option allows for a unique bathing experience. Just keep in mind that the floor around the tub will need to be waterproofed.
Now that you know about your bathtub options, consider the bathroom experience. Perhaps you want a bathtub that is more functional than beautiful. If that’s the case, consider a traditional recessed unit. Maybe your bathtub will be the focal point of the room. For such beauty, opt for a freestanding tub.
On the other hand, maybe you want to immerse yourself in relaxation and luxury. If this is case, consider choosing a bathtub with jets and/or waterfalls.Only you can decide on the perfect bathtub for your lifestyle, so consider these options carefully. Just be aware that the more elaborate your bathtub, the more dollars you’ll need in your budget.
In reality, you could probably walk out of a home improvement store with a bathtub for under $200. However, most of these lower-cost fiberglass units will not offer any jets or special features. As you move up the price ladder, more features and better materials are available.
A mid-range bathtub with jets usually costs between $600 and $1,000. At the higher end, bathtubs can run as much as $7,000 or more. Of course, these come with exquisite features.Because of the large price differences, it is important to set a bathtub budget and stick to it. Don’t run out of bathroom renovation money just because of a failure to look past the $5,000 claw foot tub.
Although you may want the ultimate in luxury, remember to add a bathtub that fits the style of your home and other homes in the area. Don’t put a $10,000 ultra modern feature in a mostly traditional-style bathroom. Not only will this hurt your budget, you may end up pricing yourself out of the neighborhood.
Once you have decided on your bathtub, consider trying it out. Go to the store, sit in it and get a feel for the overall experience. If this is a family bathtub, take the kids along to make sure there is enough room for everyone at bath time.
Since bathtubs come in all shapes and sizes, be sure to find one that fits your unique body type.
Finally, make sure the bathtub you choose fits the other features of your home. Not only should it complement the style of your bathroom, it should also match the size of the water heater. Don’t run out of hot water before getting the tub full the first time. This will, undoubtedly, ruin that terrific spa experience.
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