Choose a bath that maximises your bathroom's potential
In modern stressful times, the perfect bathtub can become a bastion of sanity and relaxation in your home and an integral part of family life. Choosing the perfect bathtub can be more nuanced than you might expect, with many options to choose from.
How to pick your bath?
Before we start diving into materials and styles, there are a few key questions we need to ask to determine what kind of bath would be best suited for you. These include, but are not limited to:
Who is the bath for?
A bathtub meant for family use will be very different from that meant for a designer bathroom. Think about who will be using the bath. If small children are present, a larger bath that is easy to reach into will be best, whereas sweeping curves and on-trend colours will lend themselves better to designer experience
What Space do I have?
Whilst a big bath may be better for you, a careful balance must be struck for your bathtub not to be a detriment to the rest of your bathroom. Make sure you have enough room to be comfortable when using the rest of your bathroom and remember that the bathroom can get crowded, especially in the morning!
You may find the tub that is perfect for your family and space but is not practical for you. Is the bath easy to get in and out of? How much does it weigh? Can your room support this? These, amongst concerns such as plumbing, will need to be factored into your decision.
When thinking of a bath, a particular shape and style will likely come to mind. However, today there exists an array of options for you to make the most of your room. The two broadest categories will be whether the bath is freestanding or inset.
An inset bath simply means any bath that is installed flush against a wall. More often than not, an inset bath will have a roughly finished exterior that will need to be covered. This can be done by boxing the bath in and tiling, or by purchasing a bath panel that clips into place.
Single Ended Baths
Probably the type of bath you are most familiar with, a single-ended bath will have the taps, waste and overflow located at one end, with the seating area at the opposite end. The walls in the bath may be asymmetrical, with a gentle slope in the seating area to facilitate easy entry and a steep wall by the taps.
Double Ended Baths
The cousin to the single-ended bath, the layout of this bath will be symmetrical with the waste and overflow central in position, allowing you to sit at either end or share the bath with a second person. The taps on double-ended baths can be deck mounted, wall mounted or orientated on standpipes to the side of the bath.
L-Shape and P-Shape Baths
A great choice for those bathrooms short of space, L-Shape and P-Shape baths are commonly used as shower baths, combining the convenience of a shower with the luxury of a bath when paired with an appropriate bath screen. Consisting of an asymmetrical design with a large area to stand in, the shape can be hard and angular in the case of the L-Shape, or with a soft curve in the case of the P-Shape.
Corner baths are the perfect choice for those bathrooms where space is at an utter premium. Tucking into the corner of the room, they allow a comfortable bathing experience without taking as much of the wall or floor space than a conventional bath does. Corner baths can vary from those that curve at the end to minimise their silhouette, to true corner tubs.
As their name suggests, freestanding baths do not have to sit against a wall. In fact, they are often placed front and centre in a bathroom to make a statement, and will often be the showpiece in whatever bathroom they reside in.
Evoking the feeling of period design, a roll-top bath will often be a simple shape with a rolled rim on the tub. A hallmark of vintage design, the baths will be most suited in bathrooms where traditional design elements are at play. For the ultimate in vintage opulence, pair a roll-top bath with a set of claw feet to raise the bath from the floor and inject a splash of ornateness into your design theme.
Similar in the design concept to their roll tops cousins, slipper baths will feature a raised end for a sweeping and stroking aesthetic. This design can be single-ended or double-ended and are perfect for those who enjoy taking long soaks in the evening thanks to the generous area to rest your back.
Modern Freestanding Baths.
Whilst freestanding bath often evoke traditional design elements, recent years have seen modern option come to the marketplace. Often these will be a simple and bold design and will eschew the roll-top so often seen on more traditional baths for a slimmer, more minimalist profile.
One of the key influences that modern technology has had on bathtubs are the different materials that are available to choose from. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses to consider.
The most common material used in manufacturing a bath, and probably the one you are most familiar with. Acrylic baths are extremely popular due to their durability and properties. They have a non-porous surface meaning they are extremely easy to keep clean and are relatively simple to repair if minor knocks and scrapes occur. They are very good at retaining heat and are lightweight, making them ideal for anywhere during the property. Modern acrylic baths are generally reinforced with fibreglass and encapsulated baseboards, meaning their reputation as flimsy, is a thing of the past.
Be on the lookout for baths made from a material such a Carronite and Amazonite. These materials are acrylic-based but undergo patented processing by their manufacturers to enhance their levels of heat retention and durability.
Porcelain Enamelled Steel.
Comprising of a steel sheet pressed to shape, and then coated with a layer of porcelain, these baths are known for their durability. Whilst heavier than acrylic, they are still far lighter than their cast iron cousins, and much cheaper too. Whilst they are an extremely durable option, they are known to chip if things are dropped in them, causing rust to appear. Finally, they do not retain heat as efficiently as their brethren and can be cold to the touch.
A material used in bathtubs for over a century, enamelled cast iron is a fantastic investment. They are extremely durable thanks to their thick coat of enamel and their iron core. They are also perfect for those of us that enjoy long soaks, due to their ability to trap the heat in their material, keeping your water warmer for longer. The only disadvantage to a cast iron bath is their monumental weight. Whilst most ground floor bathrooms will be fine with this, special preparations will need to be taken by those looking to have a cast iron bath in an upstairs bathroom, with floors and ceiling joints potentially needing to be reinforced.
For a stunning and sleek centrepiece, look no further than a stone bath. Available in a huge variety of shapes and finishes, stone baths share many of the qualities of a cast iron bath. They trap heat like cast iron, keeping your bath warmer for longer and are incredibly durable. The distinguishing feature of a stone bath is its silky-smooth finish, which exudes that extra touch of luxury. Whilst stone baths are heavy, they can be lighter than their cast iron equivalents, allowing more flexibility in their location.
A whirlpool bath is an ideal way to bring a slice of the spa experience home. Whirlpool baths circulate a combination of water and air through an onboard pump, forcing it through jets that have been installed into the bath itself, creating a massage effect. This can not only soothe aching muscles and help relax you after a difficult day of work but be extremely helpful to those who suffer from chronic issues such as back pain.
Whirlpool baths are available with a variety of jet configurations, allowing you to pick a whirlpool perfect for your needs. There are also 2 common accessories that can be installed with your whirlpool jets
Installing a light in your whirlpool bath adds a soft ambience to the water, providing an even more relaxing experience. Commonly these lights will also be chromotherapeutic. Chromotherapy uses colours to influence moods. Most chromotherapeutic lights will cycle through a set of colours, with some allowing you to choose a static colour to perfectly reflect your mood.
The last thing you want whilst enjoying a nice long soak in your whirlpool bath is for the water to go cold. An inline heater helps keep your water at the perfect temperature, allowing you to unwind and relax for as long as you wish.