Bathtubs may have taken a temporary backseat to luxurious showers in home style trends, but the latest tubs offer plenty of advances in design and technology of their own. And don’t forget, in a home with multiple bathrooms, at least one should offer a tub — if only for the kids and the family dog.
What’s trending? Among today’s most popular are soaking tubs that are deep enough to relax in water up to your chin. Typically, these tubs are also contoured to your body shape. Imagine that after a hard day at work. Air tubs inject air bubbles that caress the body into a more relaxed state. These differ from the still popular whirlpool tubs, with jets injecting water with massaging force. Finally, important for the aged or disabled are walk-in tubs with doors that seal tight as the tub fill
An island effect. Tub positioning has become more creative. Increasingly popular are tubs that stand alone, perhaps by a large window, or even as the centerpiece of the bathroom. Even better is the new “wet room” concept, which is a huge shower and a bathtub within. The tub stands alone, surrounded by the glass walls of the shower. The nozzles for the shower are at one side, independent of the tub.
Range of materials. Fiberglass is the least expensive and lightest material. It is thin and will show wear over time. Acrylic tubs are similar, but heavier, with similar wear tendencies. Steel bathtubs are heavier and coated in enamel. They clean easily and retain their luster for years. Cast iron is very heavy, also coated with enamel, sometimes requiring reinforced flooring. It is the most durable of materials.
Cultured marble is a composite material of crushed rock held together by a gel resin. It offers a beautiful, elegant look in a variety of colors and patterns. Stone tubs are cut from granite, marble, onyx and other rock. They are beautiful and also very heavy, often requiring a reinforced frame depending on where they are placed. Most exotic of all are tubs made of fine woods such as teak. With that beauty comes a hefty price tag.