For many homeowners, the experience of unwinding with a book and a warm bath, especially during those long winter months, is an experience without compare. Bathtubs do not just bathe us: they soothe us and provide us with unmatched comfort.
But not every type of bathtub works for every user or home. Owners of cottage-style homes may love bathing in period-perfect clawfoot tubs. Those with enough space who have aching muscles may appreciate a large corner bathtub with a whirlpool function. If bathroom space is tight, then an alcove tub may be right for you.
Free-standing tubs are unconnected to walls or any other surface except for the floor. Free-standing bathtubs often include the classic clawfoot tub, but it's possible to buy free-standing tubs of modern designs, as well.
Free-standing bathtubs require a large bathroom to accommodate the tub and the buffer room around the tub. It is possible to install a free-standing bathtub in a three-sided alcove, but this makes it harder to clean around and under the bathtub.
Free-standing tubs tend to be significantly more expensive than alcove and drop-in tubs.
Slipper and clawfoot tubs fit into this category, and both convey the impression of antiquity. Thus, you need a house worthy of such a tub. One hurdle of free-standing tubs is the exposed plumbing. You can purchase specialty plumbing parts that celebrate, rather than try to hide, this exposed plumbing.
The operative word in the term alcove bathtub is alcove. This is a special type of bathtub but one which is very familiar to many homeowners, in that it fits precisely within a three-sided enclosure built just for the tub. When the walls are tiled or fitted with panels, the enclosure can be used for a tub/shower combination. Alcove bathtubs are often the least expensive and easiest type of tub that you can install.
The alcove bathtub is all about maximizing your space: This is the tub with the smallest footprint and it fits tightly into its allotted space. The standard length for an alcove tub is 60 inches but some can range from 53 to 72 inches.
Alcove bathtubs can come as part of a package that includes the three-sided wall surround. In some cases, the wall surround is permanently attached to the bathtub. This type is easiest to clean but it can be difficult to fit through the bathroom door; generally, this is a new-construction tub. Bathtubs with detached surrounds usually come in three pieces: a large back wall, with two smaller side walls.
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