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Home Improvement & Renovating

Types of Bathtubs & Showers for Every Bathroom Budget

Types of Bathtubs & Showers for Every Bathroom Budget

How do you find the right bathtub and shower? As with most home improvement products, there are a multitude of bathtub and shower choices, which can be overwhelming when you first head to a showroom or start browsing online.

Questions to think about 

  • How do you plan to use your bathtub?
  • Who will be using your bathtub and shower? Young children? Seniors? Family members with special needs?
  • Do you want a combination bathtub and shower, or do you want them to be separate?
  • What safety features will you need? Check accessibility guidelines for exact requirements.
  • Who will be installing your bathtub and shower? Will you do it yourself or hire a professional plumber?
  • What is your budget?

Measure your bathroom carefully, look at the space and configuration for your tub and shower, and determine how much weight your floor can support. Keep in mind that for resale value, it is recommended to have at least one bathtub in your home.

Two main factors that will affect the price of your bathtub and shower are the materials they are made of and the style. And, the best way to choose a tub and shower is to look at the advantages of certain materials, styles and shapes in relation to your space, lifestyle and budget. So here are the top bathtub and shower options and what you need to know for your next bathroom renovation.

Recessed or alcove bathtubs are the most common type of bathtub, are made with acrylic or fibreglass, and are usually installed along three walls.

Advantages:

  • Cost-effective
  • Works well in a smaller space
  • Standard sizes

Important to know:

  • Can be positioned in only one direction due to apron so check where the drain is
  • Usually shallow but there are also deep soaker versions
  • Need to tile the walls or add a wall surround

Freestanding bathtubs are available in elegant Victorian style clawfoot tubs and modern soaker tubs.

Advantages:

Clawfoot tubs are perfect for heritage homes
Elegant and sleek contemporary tubs add luxury to large bathrooms

Important to know:

Make sure your floor is strong enough to support the weight
You can find attractive plumbing fixtures that you won’t need to conceal

Drop-in bathtubs

Advantages:

  • Affordable
  • Extra space on the sides for towels and toiletries
  • Raised rim prevents tub overflow

Important to know:

  • Needs a platform to be built in place
  • Need to install a panel for access to plumbing
  • A more challenging DIY project

Platform bathtubs – build a special “stage” for your freestanding tub for maximum impact.

Advantages:

  • Adds a stylish focal point and luxury to your bathroom
  • You can choose materials that complement your bathroom décor

Important to know:

  • You will need lots of space
  • Undermount bathtubs – similar to an undermount kitchen sink, the edge of the tub is hidden, and installed with a surround and deck.

Soaking bathtubs – ideal for relaxation and after gardening or a strenuous workout.

Whirlpool bathtubs – provide a spa-like feeling in the privacy of your own home.

Advantages:

  • You can add features for added comfort and safety: armrests, headrests, grab bars and slip-resistant flooring
  • Adjustable jets massage sore muscles
  • Lots of room to soak, perfect for taller people
  • Improves your circulation
  • Some models are self-cleaning
  • Ambient underwater lighting, aromatherapy, heated blowers

Important to know:

  • Air bathtubs are similar to whirlpool jet bathtubs but the water is pushed through with air, which gives a bubblier effect
  • There are also combination whirlpool and air bathtubs
  • Can be quieter than jet whirlpool bathtubs
  • If you want jets, install electric timers at least five feet away
  • Follow safety codes when working with electricity and water
  • You’ll need a pump, which can be concealed in a cabinet

Corner bathtubs – large luxury triangular tub, best for larger spaces

Advantages:

Can make good use of corner space in bathroom
Perfect for relaxation
Enough space for more than bather at a time
Has some therapeutic features

Important to know:

Higher budget bathtub
Uses more water

Pet tubs and showers

Don’t forget your four-legged family member when you’re renovating. During the muddy seasons, it’s so much easier to walk through a back or side door and put your pooch right into the tub.

You’ll find a huge selection of dog showers and tubs online, from stainless steel to custom tiled units and lots of DIY pet shower and bathtub design ideas.

A few ideas that will keep your dog clean and save your back:

  • A small elevated shower is a great addition to the laundry room or mudroom
  • You can use a small bathtub on legs or, for bigger dogs, a floor level shower
  • A hand-held shower head will make it easier to rinse the soap from your pet’s fur
  • Install an outdoor shower area in your backyard

Tub surrounds are easy and cost-effective to install. They adhere to your existing walls and are easier to install than tiles. Surrounds are also easier to keep clean as there is no grout. It does a great job of protecting your walls from mould and mildew.

The size of your tub and how often you use it will affect your water and heating bill. If you are leaning toward a large spa style tub, make sure your water heater will hold enough water to fill the tub.

Smart shower

There are a variety of smart showers on the market, ready to help you manage your water usage, control the temperature and shower length to increase safety and help reduce your water bills.

You can activate your smart shower remotely with a digital assistant, voice, or your phone, and some even feature Bluetooth so you’ll be serenaded as you shower.

Custom shower

Create a custom shower to suit your space with a mortar board and waterproof cement board sheathing on the walls. The fun part is selecting tiles or panels of stone, fibreglass or acrylic.

Bathtub/shower combo

A practical choice over the decades is the bath shower combination found in most homes. You simply add a shower handle or faucet diverter from the bath faucet.

Prefabricated shower

Made with moulded fibreglass or acrylic, the prefab shower is an economical and time-saving option. It usually comes as a unit or in three or five sections and is ready to be installed into a reframed space.

Stand-up shower (or freestanding shower) – can be placed where you want it. Simply install a drain and water supply plumbing.

Walk-in shower

Are you planning to convert your bathtub and shower to a walk-in shower? You can make it safer with a shower seat or bench and grab bars. There are prefab versions for do-it-yourselfers, or you can have a professional custom design your walk-in shower.

Walk-in showers are accessible for seniors and anyone with limited mobility. Be sure to install a waterproof floor.

Corner, neo-angle and rectangular showers

The space-saving corner shower has two glass panels that form a square enclosure. One panel is a pivoted door.

The neo-angle shower has three glass panels built into the corner. The third panel has the door. You can also use curved glass panels for a more luxurious look.

The rectangular shower gives you more room to maneuver, ideal for those who use a wheelchair.


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