If it's time to replace a bathtub, follow these tips for choosing a replacement that feature comfortable contours, stylish silhouettes, and durable forms that function for decades.
Bathtub leaking, worn, cracked, or just looking tired? Happily, a standard bathtub replacement is as close as your local home center or plumbing professional. Unfortunately, removing the old tub and installing its stand-in can be time-consuming and costly, so buy the best bathtub you can afford to ensure you won't have to repeat the process for another 15 or 20 years.
Because you're replacing an existing tub, your options will be limited by the current tub's dimensions, as well as the size of your bathroom's doorway. Before buying a new tub, you'll need to know the tub's exact width and length measurements and where the drain is placed (left, right, or center).
Generally, standard bathtubs feature decorative aprons on an exposed side(s) and are found in white, biscuit, and cream, though black, pastel blue, pink, and green finishes are available on midrange and pricier tubs. Rectangular tubs may feature rectangular, hourglass, or oval interiors, so give each bathtub you're considering a test run. Lay down in the bathtub to check fit and comfort level. Are there contoured head and arm rests, slip-resistant floors, and ample rims for holding toiletries and/or bath toys? Integrated seats, available on some midrange bathtubs, introduce added convenience while tubs with a curved apron wall supply extra bathing space.
The prices of standard bathtubs vary more by material than design. Here's a look at the costs, pros, and cons associated with the most common types of standard bathtubs.
Enameled steel bathtubs range from $150 to $850. Less expensive and lighter in weight than cast iron, these tubs chip somewhat easily, can be slippery, allow water to cool quickly, and offer limited color choices.
Enameled cast-iron tubs range from $375 to $2,200. Available in a wide range of colors, these tubs are durable and retain heat, but are heavy and may require additional structural support.
Acrylic tubs range from $300 to $1,000. Lightweight, fade-resistant, and available in many styles with integrated comfort features, acrylic tubs hold heat well when insulated, but may show scratches.
Fiberglass/plastic composite tubs range from $250 to $800. Polyester gel coat finishes and fiberglass backing often supported by wood or metal framing creates a budget-friendly lightweight tub in many styles.
Proprietary composite tubs range from $250 to $900. Americast by American Standard and UltraCast by Briggs are examples of materials that combine heavy-gauge steel, porcelain enamel, and resins to build bathtubs that offer all the benefits of cast iron at half the weight.