On the downside however, acrylic bathtubs tend to be quite flimsy, and their characteristic lightweight attribute often translates into a sense of “hollowness”, which means they generally lack in premium quality appeal. They can also discolour over time, and are prone to scratches, most often from cleaning with abrasive compounds and scrubbers, and staining, especially from hair and clothes dye – all in all, adding to the fact that acrylic baths are not ideal if what you are looking for is high-end quality and long-term performance.
Cast iron: Cast iron bathtubs can be found in many older and heritage homes. And when homeowners renovate these old properties, they often tend to refurbish the original tubs, bringing them back to life for a fraction of the price of buying a new one. Cast iron tubs are made from iron, with a baked-on enamel surface – making them incredibly durable, and resistant to scratches and dents. The combination of a well-maintained beautifully polished surface with elaborate detailing means these baths have a unique character and richness that many modern day baths lack. However, their incredibly heavy nature means that they will inevitably put strain on the floor beneath them, often necessitating extra structural support, especially when on a second story. On installation, their heavy nature means you will require many more people to manoeuvre the bath into position than bathtubs made from other materials. As a material, cast iron baths can come across as being bulky and chunky, as the profiling is rather thick. They are also comparatively expensive, and if they do manage to get scratched or damaged, they will require a pricey repair that will need to be done by a professional. Iron is also a great heat conductor, which means that hot water in these baths will not stay very hot for long.
Enamelled pressed steel: Created to be durable, easy to clean, and to offer premium quality that appeals to those with a discerning eye, it is no wonder that enamelled pressed steel baths have become the most prestigious type of bath currently on the market. Simply put, they are the best baths that money can buy. The material allows them to offer elegant design lines, with sleek profiles that often allow the units to be fitted in a fashion that is virtually flush with their surrounds for optimum contemporary appeal.
Enamelled pressed steel bathtubs are sought after due to the fact that their many advantageous features far outweigh their only drawback, which is their comparatively high price. Their list of benefits includes the fact that the surface is hygienic, UV-, impact-, fire- and scratch-resistant, as well as resistant to many chemicals and dyes, as well as being incredibly durable and really easy to clean. Another benefit of enamelled pressed steel baths is the fact that they can be manufactured with incredibly sleek profiles for a virtually flush installation, and they are also available in a wide variety of styles and colour finishes, so there is sure to be something to suit everybody’s taste, size and style requirements.
In all shapes and sizes
Bathtubs come in a plethora of various sizes, shapes and depths. Some are designed to make a stunning feature statement, while others are designed more for practical purposes. Some of the most popular types of bathtubs include:
The clawfoot bath: As their name suggests, these baths sit on four clawed feet. Antique clawfoot or ball-and-claw baths were made from heavy cast iron, but when it comes to modern replicas, the actual tubs are most often made from acrylic, while the ball-and-claw feet are made from heavy metal for added support and stability.
Recessed or alcove baths: These are arguably the most common types of baths. They are usually installed against a wall on two or three sides. Today, these kinds of baths are usually made from acrylic, but the units on the upper end of the spectrum are made from enamelled pressed steel. They can accommodate a shower as well.
Drop-in baths: These baths are dropped into a cavity in the floor or on a raised platform. Although they can make a visual impact, on a practical level, they can be difficult to get into and out of. Another form of a drop-in bath is what is termed as an overflow bath, which is designed to be filled to the brim and operates in much the same way as an infinity pool – creating a dramatic visual feature.
Freestanding baths: Essentially, a freestanding bath is one that doesn’t connect to any walls for support. The most sculptural designer baths usually fall into this category, with the market being full of freestanding baths of all different shapes, sizes and materials. Corner baths: Triangular in shape, the corner bath is designed to be fitted into a corner space like a wedge. They are an incredibly practical space-saving installation, and they are often enhanced with clever seating and storage areas and surrounds, and some even boast built-in water jets.
Spa baths: The spa bath was first introduced to the market in the late ’60s, and it has been popular ever since. They boast a number of openings located in the wall of the bath, which stream air bubbles and/or jets of water to create a massage-type effect for optimum bath-time relaxation. They are very therapeutic and can be used to great effect to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, soothe tired muscles, improve back pain and more.
Walk-in baths: Designed for the elderly or otherwise incapacitated individuals who struggle to get in and out of a traditional bath, the walk-in bath features high walls and a seat in the tub, with a door that opens from one side to allow the bather to walk directly into the bath without having to step over the wall of the bath.