Different Types of Bathtub Replacements The Good, Bad, and Ugly!

Whether simply desiring a new bathroom look or requiring a replacement bathtub there are many types from which to choose. Learning about the different options will help you make the choice that is right for you.

First Things First

Before making a selection it is important to evaluate the amount of space available to house your tub. Will it be situated in the corner of your bathroom or will it be the main focal point? Additionally, giving some thought to the capacity of hot water your hot water heater can produce is important. No one enjoys taking a cold bath! Some tubs are made of extremely heavy materials. This means you will need to have the floors supporting your bathtub to be evaluated to be certain they will safely support your bathtub. The final consideration is determining who will be using the tub. Will it be used by children only? Then the extra expense of a whirlpool or soaking tub may not be needed. Once all these practical issues have been addressed it is time to decide on what type of tub you will want to buy. 

Pick Your Tub 

The most basic and most utilized of all bathtubs is the alcove tub. This tub is set adjacent to three walls leaving one side exposed and finished. This type is almost always a shower-tub combination. Another option is a whirlpool tub which has jets that pump out bubbly streams of water providing a high-pressure body massage. This type of bathtub is a great stress reliever. Another tub that offers deep relaxation is a soaking tub that holds enough water that your body can be completely submerged. A free-standing soaking tub known as the garden tub is the most luxurious of all soaking tubs.

Not All Tubs Are Alike

The construction of bathtubs varies from heavy cast iron tubs that are nearly indestructible to lightweight acrylic tubs. Acrylic tubs are great for modern bathrooms since they have a high gloss finish that is smooth to the touch. If properly maintained, they can last for many years and can easily be repaired if accidentally damaged.

Some tubs are constructed of fiberglass which has been reinforced using polyester. The fiberglass is coated with a gel coat to create a smooth, high sheen that will last for years. A very luxurious surface is made with a cultured surface produced from combining crushed stone and polyester. This is then coated with gel core to create a strong, durable surface that resists staining, mold growth, and mildew. 

Porcelain and enamel are also used in bathtub construction. These finishes appear similar in that they both have high, white gloss finishes. Both are also susceptible to rust, especially enamel tubs because they overlay steel bases. Porcelain is a stronger surface but it too can wear thin or crack creating problems. 

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Replacing your bathtub can seem like a daunting project but with careful planning and execution, it can provide years of service and peace of mind. Once a bathtub needs replacement, however, it is common for some homeowners to attempt to avoid costly renovations. They opt for recaulking their tubs or even refinishing the tub’s surface. Although this often looks like a worthwhile improvement, in the long run, it does not pay off. Old bathtubs can be hiding some pretty nasty conditions that, if left unattended, can lead to some costly repairs. Ineffective caulk can allow water to get between the tub and the walls creating wet wood which is attractive to termites. Wet wood also creates the perfect environment for mold growth and mildew. In addition, the unwanted water may rot the subflooring creating an unsafe situation where the bathtub is no longer adequately supported. It is important to know when it is time for a bathtub replacement and just as important to act on its replacement before it is too late.

Thinking of replacing your bathtub, but don’t know where to start? Contact us today! We are bathtub replacement experts in Irvine and the rest of Orange County.

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