DIY Home Improvement Ideas

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Soaking Tub

soaking tub
Written by Shiyamala

Shopping for a new soaking tub might seem overwhelming, especially if you have no experience with bathtubs. You have to research properly to avoid buying one that is not suitable for you. There are several factors you have to consider before deciding. But first, what is a soaking tub?

A soaking tub is an oval freestanding bathtub that is large enough to submerge your whole body. Unlike traditional bathtubs, the water depth of a soaking tub covers your body so that no part is exposed to cold as you luxuriate. It offers a soothing relaxation and relief from pains and aches of a long day, with or without bubbles.

The following are some factors to consider when choosing a soaking tub.

  • Shape and size
  • Type and durability of the material
  • Ease of installation
  • Bath experience and comfort
  • Cost
  • Style

Types of Soaking Tubs

There are various types of soaking bathtubs you can consider for your home. Below are some of them.

Freestanding tub

A freestanding soaking bathtub stands away from walls, ideal for spacious bathrooms.

Corner

It has a shape that allows it to stand in irregular and awkward spaces. It is best for a bathroom with irregular angles.

Overmount or Drop-in

The sides of a drop-in soaking tub are hidden to expose only the top rim. The purpose is to allow overmounting of the tub into a built-in space.

Undermount

It differs from an overmount in that an undermount tub settles below a bathtub deck or a ledge. It uses the floor below it for support.

Japanese

A Japanese soaking tub is more like a hot tub. It is an ultra-deep and often stand-alone tub that allows an individual to sit upright while soaking. 

Jetted

Most users love the jetted tub for its therapeutic massage action. It has whirlpool jet fittings that produce bubbles for this purpose.

Walk-in

It is a tub with a door that allows you to walk in and out quickly. Walk-in tubs are suitable for older people and anyone with mobility challenges.

One-or-two piece

A one-piece tub is made of one piece of material, while a two-piece tub has a vessel and a skirt inserted inside each other.

Soaking Tub Material

The material of a soaking bathtub determines its cost and durability. Fiberglass, ceramic, and acrylic materials lie on the lower side of the price, while sturdier materials like copper, stone resin, and cast iron are non-porous and more costly.

  1. Stone Resin

Stone resin imitates the typical appearance of a natural stone. It does not absorb water since it is non-porous and neither does it fade from repeated water use. Despite being among the most expensive materials, it is durable and 100% recyclable if you wish to dispose of your tub.

  1. Cast Iron

It is almost the most durable soaking tub material currently on the market. It is molten iron put into a tub model with the desired size and shape. It is spread out evenly before covering it with enamel. 

  1. Cultured marble

Cultured marble soaking tubs are made from crushed limestone and resin with a gel-coat finishing. Users love it for its outstanding heat retention and natural, easy appearance.

Other common materials include wood, porcelain, and ceramic.

Cost

The average cost of a soaking tub is about $900. The average price depends on the type of material, and it is relatively higher than that of a traditional bathtub. The cheaper materials range from $600 to $800, while the more costly ones cost as high as thousands of dollars.

Cast iron tubs are costlier and famous for their heat retention and durability. Acrylic tubs are cheaper and more lightweight, making them excellent for DIY users on a limited budget.  

Other factors that influence the cost of soaking tubs include embellishments and size.

Who Is Eligible to Use a Soaking Tub?

It is advisable to consider the members of your household when purchasing a soaking tub. It can be dangerous for little children to soak in due to the risks it poses with its high-water depth. However, it is a perfect choice for adults seeking to relax their muscles. The deep soak reduces muscle pain and relaxes joints from heavy activities of the day.

Soaking tubs have an additional benefit to active adults since some of them have fitted salts and aromatic vapors that help in prolonging the user’s health.

Soaking Tub Installation

A soaking tub is easier to install than a bathtub since most are freestanding. The most important thing is to ensure that your bathroom area can hold the tub’s weight when full. Once you have your tub in its proper place, connect all the plumping apparatus and try if it is working. Due to its enormous size, the challenging task might be carrying it to its location.

If you have any trouble installing your tub, it is advisable to call for professional assistance.

Why a Japanese Soaking Tub?

There are a few differences between a standard soaking tub and a Japanese one. A Japanese tub is designed to soak at approximately 27 inches in depth. It has an in-built seat where the user can soak upright, unlike the traditional tub where you have to lie.

Most Japanese designs are cylindrical or circular, which means they take up less space in the bath area than the regular tubs. Installing a Japanese tub is also much more straightforward than standard bathtubs.

Most Japanese tubs have more than one sitting position, meaning they can accommodate multiple users simultaneously. They have holding bars for easy swinging in and out. Unlike standard tubs, Japanese soaking tubs come in a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, wood, and copper.

The Bottom Line

Besides the mare relaxation, soaking tubs provide a perfect therapeutic experience and an outstanding unwinding luxury. Despite the material variation, all soaking tubs serve a similar purpose and experience. So, it is wise to consider your budget when shopping for one. Also, consider your personal preferences and the physical conditions of the people you intend to use the tub. For example, a walk-in tub will suit a person with walking challenges. 

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