Shopping for a classic claw foot? A sensuous slipper? Stand-alone bathtubs offer lots of choices.
Synopsis: Freestanding bathtubs are undergoing a popular revival, taking center stage in bathrooms both small and luxurious. In this article, Maria LaPiana dives into the design trends driving the popularity of freestanding bathtubs and offers advice on selecting the right tub based on style, material, durability, and price. The article weighs the pros and cons of acrylic tubs, cast-iron tubs, fiberglass tubs, and composite tubs, as well as those made of more unusual materials such as wood, metal, and natural stone.
In many ways, the shower—in all its walk-in, double-wide, steam-powered, glass-tiled glory—has eclipsed the tub in today’s upscale bath. There’s no doubt that showers are more practical than tubs if all you want to do is get really clean really fast (they call it performance showering in the industry). But what if you’d prefer to wash the day away with immersion in a deep, soothing bath—and make a design statement in the process? Consider the current darling of bath designers: the freestanding tub.
Freestanding bathtubs have been around since ancient times. In the 19th century, the classic claw-foot was considered a symbol of affluence. It eventually became mainstream, but its dominance was soon challenged. Thanks to advances in plumbing (and the Kohler Co.), the first built-in tub was introduced in 1911 and went on to replace the stand-alone claw-foot as the bathroom mainstay for 50 years. In the 1960s, wall-hugging tubs laid claim to the luxury market as well, with the introduction by Jacuzzi of the jetted spa tub.
But the freestanding tub is enjoying renewed popularity. That may be due to the many features and design options freestanding tubs offer. They’re available in a wide array of sizes and shapes, and in materials ranging from acrylic to cast iron, natural stone, copper, and even…