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Bathtub In Bathroom

The Most Common Types of Bathtubs

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Bathtubs can comes in a variety of different materials, each with their own advantages or disadvantages, and price ranges to match.

  • Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP): The least expensive option on the market. Available in a variety of colors, but with a life expectancy of less than 10 years.
  • Enameled Steel: Steel sheets covered with porcelain enamel. It can chip and rust, but is stronger then FRP while still being affordable.
  • Acrylic: The most popular bathtub material. Sheets of acrylic are strengthen with fiberglass and resin, similar to FRP. These can last 30 years or more with the right maintenance, but costs about twice as much as enameled steel or FRP.
  • Cast-Polymer: Crushed stones mixed with a polymer resin that’s finished with a gel coat. Usually it’s made to look like granite, marble, or onyx. More expensive than acrylic, but easy to clean and stain-resistant.
  • Cast-Iron: Enamel-coated molded iron. This classic material is still one of the best out there. They’re more expensive and heavier, but are incredibly durable and have great heat retention.
  • Composites: These are the latest and greatest, often with proprietary formulas. Made out of heavy-grade steel bonded with enamel, these offer the benefits of cast iron at half the weight, and a higher price.


Let’s be honest: Most people care first about the look of the tub, then the materials. Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of different installation options available.

  • 3-Wall Alcove: The most common shower-tub installation, mostly because it saves a lot of space. The shower-tub is enclosed by walls on three sides, with a in-wall shower. If you have extra room, one of the walls can double as a storage cabinet or shelving for towels.
  • Drop-in Tubs: These are just the tub, which gives you a lot of versatility in installation. You can either have them in a free-standing enclosure, or added to a 3-wall alcove.
  • Under-mount Tubs: Have you ever wanted to step down into your tub instead of up and over? Under-mount tubs are installed into the floor level, with your flooring, such as tile, covering the lip of the tub. Great for low-key tub installations.
  • Corner Tubs: These are similar to the alcove tubs above, but only have two walls. Corner tubs are usually larger and almost triangular-shaped. These are great for dual bathing and open up the room.
  • Freestanding Tubs: Tired of shoving your tub into the corner? Embrace the room with a freestanding tub. These have a sculpted bathing bowl with a cradle or a solid base. For clean lines, select a simple tub, while a tub in a tile island is a little more grand.
  • Claw-foot Tubs: These grand tubs have been around for centuries, and recognized by their distinctive legs. But they’re also known for being deeper than other tubs, and the “slipper” style will have a high back perfect for supporting your back and neck.

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