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Choosing a new bathtub

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Given their important role in the home, what are the considerations for choosing a new bathtub?

Having trouble choosing a new bathtub for your bathroom?


See also our Bath & Shower section

If you need to get clean in a hurry, there’s nothing better than a quick shower. However, if you’ve got time to unwind, nothing beats a long, hot bath. How do you choose a bathtub when you’re renovating your bathroom or building a new home?

Start by understanding your options.


Types of bathtub

  • Combination bathtubs are a great option for small bathrooms, merging the shower and bath into a single unit. You can often purchase the entire assembly together.
  • Corner bathtubs are larger and better suited to dual bathing. You can also find tubs with massage jet options and other ‘luxury’ features.
  • Freestanding bathtubs are any tub designed to sit above the floor, either up against the wall or out from it.
  • Undermounts sit at floor level, with the tile or flooring coming right to the lip of the tub. They’re not usually a good choice for bathrooms on the second level of a home!


  • Acrylic – One of the most common bathtub materials – and for good reason. Acrylic is has a high-gloss look and is resilient, naturally warm and affordable.
  • Fibreglass – Sharing the same high-gloss finish as acrylic, fibreglass is also affordable and naturally warm. However, it’s not as durable and can crack.
  • Copper – You’re not going to see many copper bathtubs for sale, given their cost, but they’re a tough look to beat if you want a tub that really stands out. Given the material, you can expect something that’s quite tough.
  • Cast iron – These tubs sit at the top of the price range. They’re great at retaining heat and extremely strong. Given their weight, you may need extra reinforcements under the floor.
  • Other considerations – If you’re willing to spend the money, you can purchase tubs hewn out of stone and even wood. Just be ready to pay top dollar.

Know the costs

This section largely applies to renovators, but there’s useful information for new home builders too.
If you’re planning to pull out your existing bathtub and swap in a new, shiny alternative, there are potential ‘hidden’ costs. Let’s start with the issue of actually getting it out of the bathroom. Can you detach the bathtub and move it out into the hallway? Will it even fit?
What’s more, how are you going to handle the plumbing? You’ll need to bring a plumber in who knows how to handle the pipes? Lastly, there’s the issue of tiles – chances are you will need to adjust the tiling around the tub.
It’s easy to see how what starts out as a seemingly simple bathtub update can turn into an expensive bathroom renovation. Our advice here? Avoid doing the bathtub by itself and plan a replacement as part of a larger bathroom project.

Feel ready to start work on your bathtub yet? If not, we’ve got thousands more photos to inspire you in the Bath & Shower section. You’ll also find interviews with designers and more useful advice.

First published date: 19 September 2017

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