Types of Bathtubs

Types of Bathtubs

There are different ways of grouping bathtubs. According to their materials, how they are installed, their style or function...

Let us start with materials:
The most basic materials used are acrylic reinforced by fiberglass; steel and cast iron both coated with enamel paint. Some tubs are now even made of wood, stone or synthetic materials.

Most commonly used now are acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement at the bottom for extra strength. They are very light, but very solid and durable. Because acrylic is more flexible, more unusual designs can be made at affordable prices. One also have the choice of matching bath panels, taps at the rear, front, corner or side. While white is still the dominant trend, acrylic also can be available in any color imaginable.

The acrylic body is also preferred because it is not cold to the touch, the material itself is not slippery compared to cast iron or pressed steel. Since material is acrylic through and through, color is maintained even in long periods of time. Care should be given as abrasive cleaners, bleach, harsh chemicals and even cigarette butts can damage the surface of the acrylic bath. The higher the quality of the acrylic, the better they will retain their color. Direct exposure to sunlight should also be avoided as well for this can lead to cracks along the way. Pressed steel and iron coating will rub off over time and will expose the steel or cast iron layer due to wear and tear.

Pressed steel enameled tubs are heavier. But commercial projects prefer using steel over acrylic due to its strength. High quality brands like Kaldewei even offer more advantages. Bathtubs made of Kaldewei steel enamel 3.5 mm meet the highest requirements for strength and hygiene. Thanks to the unique surface finish, these quality bathtubs are abrasion-, scratch- and impact-resistant, and also resistant to acids and chemicals. Steel is an excellent heat conductor and quickly assumes the temperature of its surroundings or of the water. Kaldewei steel enamel 3.5 mm is lightfast and resistant to UV light and will not bleach out by it. Burning and smoldering objects (e. g. cigarettes or candles) leave no burn marks or traces of smoke on Kaldewei steel enamel 3.5 mm. The metal material also helps retain heat of the water in the tub.

The most basic example of cast iron tubs are the free standing claw foot tub. These are more expensive and can be repainted over the years. Cast iron tubs are extremely heavy and requires a professional repaint job. Over the years, the top coating, like steel enameled tubs will wear off and will expose the base layer.

Styles of Tubs
Aside from the typical bath, there are also models in which the bather fully reclines. These baths are typically shallow and long. Another type is where the bather sits up. These are known as Ofuro in japan and are typically short and deep.

Kaldewei's Bassino & Kusatsu are examples of both shallow and deep tubs.

Applications and Layout
Most common type is the inlay or built in tub which can be covered on one or more sides with aprons or panels. The free-standing is also becoming more popular. These actually give an illusion of space for they seem to float in any part of the room without the encumbrance of the concrete built-in casing.

Tubs these days are equipped with massage air and water jets. Some even come with integrated phone and speaker / radio systems. You would need a bath waste and overflow and a rim / deck mounted or free standing mixer to fill the tub. One should not forget the access panel for maintenance work of the jets and pump.

A bathtub is usually placed in a bathroom either as a stand-alone fixture or combination with a shower. So if it is a tub and a shower all in one, one should make sure the water splash is considered and goes towards the tub to the drain. This means that the positioning of the bath drain, shower curtain or enclosure plays an important role. The tub must be installed flushed against the wall and should be sealed using silicon along the edges. Some install tubs as a under lay with granite or marble over the tub. So before you choose your tub design, coordinate with the designer and be ready with the layout for both the tubs, mixers and other accessories.
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