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Battle of the Baths: Built-In vs. Freestanding Tubs

Battle of the Baths: Built-In vs. Freestanding Tubs While the rise of shower bathtubs has made built-in tubs the norm in small homes and apartments across the country, those renovating their new home will discover that they have many options to choose from when it comes to their bathtub.

While the urge to separate from the built-in crowd may be strong, free-standing bathtubs have their own set of pros and cons, and prospective bathroom renovators should get to know as much as possible before they make a decision.

Built in Tub

Reasons to Choose a Freestanding Bath Tub

  • They're easy to install. Almost zero construction or down-time is necessary when putting a new freestanding tub in the house. Once you figure out where to place the tub and install the plumbing (or prepare several buckets of hot water like in the old days) you'll be ready to relax.
  • They look amazing. It's very difficult to replicate the timeless and classy appeal brought to life by a claw-foot freestanding tub. Choosing a freestanding tub gives you an instant centerpiece to the bathroom, and one that will raise the value of your house if you don't want to worry about moving it out later on.
  • They're built for luxury. Freestanding tubs are typically wider and deeper than standard built-in tubs, providing maximum comfort. Many are also specifically shaped to perfectly contour the human spine. Most are even made of material that's built to hold in heat to stop baths from turning cold too quickly.
  • You'll probably have it forever. Freestanding bathtubs are notoriously strong, and they are built to last. While the claw foot bathtubs of old were made from cast iron and porcelain, most modern models are made from an incredibly durable acrylic. Savvy homeowners can still find the old-fashioned cast-iron pieces if they want something that will stay in the family for generations.

Reasons to Choose a Built-In Tub

  • They're much lighter than freestanding tubs. All of that durability offered by freestanding tubs comes at a price. Some older homes can simply not support the weight of a freestanding tub, making a built-in tub the safer option.
  • They don't use as much water. Simple math will tell you that larger bathtubs require more water. If you don't have a big enough water heater to fill up a full freestanding tub, then it may be better for your comfort and your water bill to stick with a smaller, built-in model.
  • The plumbing is intuitive. Installing a built-in tub has fewer requirements, when it comes to the home's original plumbing. Freestanding tubs can be easy to install with the right setup, but newer homes that come pre-equipped with built-in tubs may not provide the plumbing configuration that you would need.
  • They are more common. No matter how awesome a freestanding tub might be, moving it is very challenging, and it may be difficult to impose it on future homebuyers who may want to create an environment that reflects themselves. Some may be dazzled, but others may wonder just how the heck they're going to get it out of there.

The Final Verdict

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the tub that's right for you. Your budget, the plumbing in your bathroom, and the amount of space that you're working with all have an effect on what will work best for your own living situation. Many would agree that the luxurious, tranquil atmosphere conjured by a freestanding tub cannot be denied, but, for some, the practicality and convenience of a built-in tub takes precedence.