Popular Bathroom Fixtures - Tubs, Tile and More - Installation Info
Fixtures can make or break a bathroom. The sinks, tub, shower, faucets, toilet, and accessories give the room not only its visual style but its functionality. Beyond looking great, they must operate easily and reliably for many years.
Tubs: Bathtubs are available in three types, according to how they are installed. Recessed tubs fit into an alcove or corner, and they usually have two or three unfinished sides that are hidden by walls. Drop-in tubs are mounted on a platform or dropped into an opening in the floor, so they have no finished sides. Freestanding tubs such as the old-fashioned claw-foot tub are completely finished and usually have four visible legs. Within these categories, you can choose a whirlpool tub or conventional model.
A standard bathtub is 60 inches long, but all tub styles are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. A tub with a higher rim will allow for deeper baths, a plus particularly for taller people. Large tubs, however, consume more water and require more energy to heat. A hand-held shower unit allows for easier cleaning.
Before you buy a tub, make sure that it will fit through the bathroom door and that it doesn't dominate the room with size. Also note the location of the tub's drain hole in case you can avoid having the bathroom drain rerouted.
Whirlpool tubs: Most of these models are prefabricated drop-in-style tubs made from molded acrylic, but you can also get a custom tub or have an antique tub retrofitted with circulation jets. However, it's often wise to stick with a pre-manufactured model if possible.
Some whirlpool jets circulate water into the tub, while others shoot air. Air jets are smaller and less powerful than water jets and provide a lighter massage. A tub that uses water jets typically has four to twelve jets, while a tub with air jets can have ten times as many in some cases.
A deluxe whirlpool tub can cost $3,000 or more, while standard models sell from $400 to $900 in most cases. In fact, even the most basic whirlpool will double your bathtub and shower budget and the price will go up if it requires an extra water heater, a dedicated electrical circuit to power the pump, or beefed up framing to support the extra weight.