Whether you’re interested in remodeling your entire bathroom or just updating some of the features in it, one of the most important items to consider is the bathtub itself.
Though you might be most familiar with the most popular shower-over-tub configuration, there are a lot of variables when it comes to picking the right bathtub for you. For most families and most bathrooms, the alcove bathtub is the best pick. An alcove bathtub refers to how the tub is installed. With this kind of tub, three out of four of the sides of it will be installed against the wall, and the fourth will typically have either a shower door or curtain to provide privacy.
There are other types of tubs as well, such as a drop-in, or soaking tub. These types of tubs typically require a lot more room because for one you need to build a surround, and, for the other, you’ll need to be sure you have the space to accommodate a free-standing tub and the potential for a floor-mounted faucet as well. The alcove tub is so popular in most homes because it gets the job done and maximizes space.
Be that as it is, with modern interior design, it’s possible to not only work with new versions of alcove bathtubs but to make different tubs work for you as well. Here is a debriefer on the classic alcove tub and what other types of tubs you can consider installing as well.
History Of The Alcove Bathtub
The alcove tub is actually an older invention, dating back to ancient Rome. However, the ones that we typically use in a modern home are more easily traceable to the early 1900s, when manufacturing companies started designing tubs to take advantage of indoor plumbing.
The alcove bathtub as we know it today was made for individuals who could not afford to fit an entire freestanding tub into their bathroom. Think of the clawfoot tubs or soaking tubs that were popular prior to indoor water lines becoming standard. These tubs required a lot of space and were difficult to clean and maintain as well.
The alcove bathtub, on the other hand, is highly efficient, and, because it is installed up against the bathroom wall, makes it easier to maintain. In addition, it also is the easiest for shower functionality. Because of the way it is installed, it ensures that water won’t splash too far around the bathroom, and on top of that, it’s often placed right where the shower head needs to be. When you update to a soaking or freestanding tub, you do have to take into consideration how you will set up your shower.
The typical alcove tub is 48 to 60 inches long, and 25 to 32 inches wide. Larger alcove tubs are available, particularly if you have a section of your bathroom that would require an extended option. These can run up to 72 inches, or 6 feet, long, and 42 inches wide, or 3.5 feet. However, given that alcove tubs are designed to fit into the exact space of your bathroom, it is possible to order or customize a tub to fit precisely within the measurements you provide.
Why Replace An Alcove Bathtub?
Despite all of its virtues, the alcove bathtub is beginning to lose its luster as far as style is concerned. Now, more people are investing in freestanding, clawfoot and soaking tubs to add more style and interest to their bathrooms.
Though alcove tubs are typically used because of how much space they save in the bathroom, it is possible to find another option that is just as easy to fit into your space, while still offering you more style and luxury than a regular tub.
Clawfoot tubs bridge modern and classic design, offering luxury as well as a touch of classic beauty. Though they didn’t hit the peak of their popularity until the late 19th century, their origins can be traced back to the 18th. Some believe that the classic design originated in Nordic countries, while others believe the imagery was inspired by an Asian motif of a dragon holding a stone.
Today, soaking and clawfoot tubs have become synonymous with pre-war design, offering a touch of ritual and luxury to your bathing routine. Even better, luxurious bathtubs are great for your home’s resale value, which is part of the reason we’ve seen a resurgence in their popularity over the past few years.
Here is our full guide to choosing a clawfoot bathtub.
Unlike regular bathtubs, soaking tubs offer ample space for you to relax, as well as features such as jets, arcs for back support, and enough depth that you can be totally immersed in water. They’re typically designed as either a standalone basin with extended feet at the bottom that allows the tub to hover just above the ground, or curved basins with flat bottoms that can rest right on your bathroom floor, just as a regular tub would.
If you’re interested not only in a soaking tub but perhaps even a clawfoot tub, the differences will mostly be found in the design; clawfoot tubs feature intricately designed feet, historically with gold-encrusted enamel and Victorian elements. Many clawfoot tubs are also famous for featuring beautiful hardware. This is, of course, more room in which you can play with design, color, and material. In other cases, you can also opt for modern designs featuring whirlpools or other spa-like features, basins constructed from different materials such as copper or even wood.
Here is our full guide to choosing a soaking tub.
Choosing an updated or higher-end tub not only creates more luxury in your home now, but it can also significantly increase your home’s worth and potential resale value, as well as drastically change the appearance of your style and layout.
Best Tubs To Replace An Alcove Bathtub
If you do decide that an update to your alcove tub is the right move for you, here are some of our favorite options to consider.
Remember that if you are removing your alcove tub, you will need to measure to ensure that you have enough space to fit your new one. If your water lines need to be updated or changed, consult with a professional plumber if needed, and remember that tubs tend to be extremely heavy to lift (sometimes upwards of a few hundred pounds) and this is especially true as you start getting into larger, soaking tubs. Be this as it is, you will need to hire either a professional to lift and install the tub, or a team of individuals physically capable of handling it.