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Buyer’s Guide to Bathtubs

This guide will show you the best bath shapes and cutting-edge materials for design-conscious baths

The modern bathroom, whether ritualistic, religious, or curative, is about much more than personal hygiene. It’s more than a place to wash your body after a long day. It’s important to pick a bath that is both beautiful and practical. There are so many options, including hundreds of styles and materials. So where should you begin? We’ve compiled the best baths and most trendy tubs for every budget solid surface bathtub.

BEFORE YOU BUY

Jonathan Carter, Victoria & Albert’s marketing manager, warns that you should never buy a bath out of impulse. You should take the time to choose the right bath for you. First, consider space and budget. Also, how much each of these you have. A freestanding bath will generally take up more space and cost more than a fitted one.

Combination bath/shower:

Consider who will use your new bath, and how they will be used. According to Mike Wilson, Kohler’s marketing manager, showers are primarily used in the bathroom, but it is possible that you will still need a bath for a relaxing moment or for children. If space is limited, it may be necessary to combine bathing and showering in one space. Consider a P-shaped bathtub if this is the case. It has a curved shower screen with a larger, non-slip shower end that you can shower in.

Separate shower and bath:

You may not need your bath every day if you have a separate shower. This allows you to indulge in something less functional. Consider whether you prefer to soak in the tub or sit up. Are there children you want to take a bath in? Are you looking for a deep tub? Perhaps you want to have room for two. You might choose a double-ended tub that allows you to have two people in the bath.

It’s worth a try:

Jonathan Carter says that a bath is a large investment. It is up to you to decide what is best. A Japanese bath with straight sides and a depth of a metre is quite a different experience than a contemporary, low-slung bath that allows you to almost lie horizontally. British people can be cautious about trying new things, but they wouldn’t purchase a car or bed without first testing it. Don’t be afraid to get in the tub and feel it.

FREESTANDING BATHROOMS

Freestanding baths are a trend that is not stopping. There is a wide range of options to choose from. Freestanding baths can make a room feel luxurious and focal point.

Consider what look you prefer: Some people like period authenticity with claw feet and a rolled edge, while others prefer a modern design. There is a shift away from straight designs to curvy organic shapes that are more comfortable and relaxing.

Hayley Tarrington, Senior Designer at CP Hart, says that modern baths can look very angular, but they are not always comfortable to sit on.

Trendy, single-piece solid-surface baths are more in demand. They are both space-efficient and sculptural. Hayley Tarrington says that bath shapes were once limited by the materials they were made of. However, modern products like Cristalplant (mineral compound), LG Hi-Macs (acrylic), and Corian mean that almost any shape is possible.

INSET BATHS

You can give an ordinary inset bath a luxurious look with many options. You don’t need to use awkward acrylic panels. Instead, you can cover your bath with sexy tiles or a glossy mirror. The bathroom can also be lit up using LEDs that are compatible with bathrooms. Hayley Tarrington, senior designer at CP Hart, says that if you have a limited budget, an inset bathtub can be placed in the middle of your room. Then, cover it completely with a beautiful material. This can give you a unique look at a fraction of the price.

The cladding is what makes an inset bath stand out. Make sure you choose wisely. You can use a classic stone like marble or a striking hardwood. Gary Dart, Duravit’s managing director, says that pawning in exotic woods is a great idea and matches most bathroom furniture. You can choose from cherry, rosewood or ebony as well as ash, olive and American walnut.

Kaldewei’s marketing manager Matt Watson says that Wedi board is a waterproof panelling system which can be used for bath cladding. Mosaics can also be used to cover corners. No matter what cladding you choose to use, make sure to allow access to the plumbing for any potential leaks.

Apart from rectangular baths there are many shapes, from squares to hexagons and squares that may suit your space better. According to Mike Wilson, Kohler’s marketing manager, a bath takes up a lot of space. They might be able do something creative that will ultimately save money.

 

MATERIAL CHOICES

Jonathan Carter, Victoria & Albert’s marketing manager, says that everyone wants a bath that lasts a long time and does a good job. Choosing the right material can make a big difference.

Inset baths made of poor-quality acrylic are less rigid than modern ones and may require chipboard supports. These should be avoided, and you should choose a stronger material. Modern acrylics are better quality and can hold heat for longer than steel baths.

Different surfaces have different conductivity levels. Think about how they feel to touch. Cold steel and cast iron absorb heat quickly and cool down quickly. Composites such as Corian, Cristal plant, and LG Hi-Macs retain heat longer. Composites often have a renewable surface that can easily be polished back to its original glory if it is damaged.

Modern freestanding baths can have a new look by being clad with a variety of materials, including copper, leather, wood, and even faux leopard skin in the Stone One bath from CP Hart.

CP Hart senior designer Hayley Torrington says that stone baths can be beautiful but full baths have twice the weight, so joists might need strengthening. ‘If in doubt, contact a structural engineer.’

BATH HARDWARE

Make sure you think about how you will fill your bath with water. Matt Watson, Kaldewei’s marketing manager, says that there’s a common belief in the UK that baths should have taps to the sides. This can actually ruin the appearance of a bath. Therefore, there has been a shift towards alternative options in recent years.

Freestanding tubs can be paired with floor-standing taps, which keep the edges clean. This not only looks great, but it also makes it much easier to clean the bath.

You can also choose a bath filler with an overflow that allows water to enter, or a wall-mounted mixer.

Double-ended baths will require taps to be mounted in the middle. Or, for an elegant style statement, a floor-mounted tap can be placed off-centre.

Hydrotherapy, chromatherapy (sometimes known as colour therapy), and aromatherapy can all be added to a home spa experience. These extras will increase the cost of an average bath but Mike Wilson, Kohler’s marketing manager, said that you don’t have to assume you can’t afford them. He suggested that you investigate what you could get for your money.