In an elegant bathroom, the freestanding tub holds a place of honor – a focal point that anchors the style of the room. As opposed to a built-in bathtub that is attached to your bathroom’s wall, such as an alcove tub or bathtub/shower combo, a freestanding bathtub stands alone.
Freestanding bathtubs are desirable for bathroom remodels today due to their unique appearance, versatile design options, and the element of relaxation they add to your space. Much to homeowners’ delight, they are often more affordable than built-in bathtubs and can also increase a home’s value.
If you are considering adding a new freestanding tub during your bathroom remodel, explore this buying guide from Modernize to choose an ideal style and understand the in’s and out’s of the installation process.
Practical Considerations for Freestanding Tub Installations
In order to create that spa-like oasis that comes with a stand-alone tub, there are some practical considerations.
For example, how big of a tub can your home handle? It’s not just the bathroom space to consider – you must also consider the weight of the tub, whether the floor needs reinforcement to support it, and whether you can move the tub through the hallways and doorways to get it to the appropriate spot.
You will also want to think through the best spot for your new freestanding tub. Consider where the plumbing comes through the wall. Moving that plumbing can add significantly to your costs of installation, but keeping it where it is can narrow your options for which tub you choose.
Keep those questions in mind as you consider what you want out of your bathtub remodel, including types of freestanding tubs, as well as the materials used to make them. We recommend exploring the pros and cons to different types of bathtubs before deciding that the freestanding tub is the best decision for you.
Types of Freestanding Bathtubs
There are many types of freestanding tubs, and many designs included within each type. Here is a general overview of what’s available when it comes to types of freestanding tubs.
This is a traditional style that also happens to be one of the most common. The drain and faucet are on one end, while the other end has an elegant curve and slope for comfortable lounging.
Instead of one side with a gentle slope, both sides have it, creating a space for two to fit comfortably. The drain and faucet are in a center location, and this tub is a bit bigger than the single ended option.
This is much like a single ended tub, but when you step back and look at the tub with a critical eye, you’ll notice it’s in the shape of a slipper, with one end raised more than the other. This means better back support. The drain and faucet are at the shorter end. The range of size is greater with this type of freestanding tub.
Much like the double ended tub, this has a drain and faucet in the center and accommodates two bathers. Given this accommodation, the double slipper tub is also a larger type of freestanding tub. The ends are both raised and sloped, meaning better comfort.
Pedestal tubs are sometimes called “skirted” tubs. They look exactly as you might expect, given the name – like a freestanding tub with a pedestal base. Pedestal tubs come in any of the four styles we have discussed above.
These tubs are the freestanding bathtub options that started it all – they were quite common in the 1800’s. This is a very traditional style of freestanding bathtub that happens to look natural in even a modern bathroom. Just as with pedestal tubs, clawfoot tubs are available in slipper, double slipper, single ended, and double ended.
If your bathroom is on the smaller side, a deeper tub with a smaller footprint might be the right option. Japanese soaking tubs have a smaller length but a deeper profile, as well as an integrated seat. This means an average adult can comfortably submerge up to their shoulders in the water, lending itself to extensive soaks. The drain and faucet are on the opposite side of the seat.
Freestanding Bathtub Materials
Now that you’ve explored the different styles of tubs, it’s time to think about the material. Keep in mind that you are able to choose a material for both the bathtub as well as the faucet and fixtures. Here are the basics when it comes to freestanding bathtub materials:
This is a very popular choice, thanks to their lightweight nature – these tubs, even at a larger size, are easier to maneuver and install. Acrylic tubs are lightweight enough that most floors don’t need reinforcing to handle the weight, even when placed in an upstairs bathroom.
Just as acrylic is arguably the lightest material for a freestanding tub, cast iron is the heaviest. They are made of iron with a porcelain coating. This means they retain heat very well and stand up to scratches and dings. That durability comes at the cost of weight, however, making them more difficult to install and almost always requiring a strong reinforcement underneath the floor.
Also known as solid surface tubs, these usually have an integral drain and overflow system in the walls, as well as the ability to hide exposed piping. They’re available in a gloss or matte finish, require little maintenance, but can be almost as heavy as a cast iron tub.
For a unique look, copper is a hand-crafted option that can be created in unique styles and shapes. Copper conducts heat almost as well as cast iron, helping to keep a steady temperature during a long soak. It’s naturally resistant to mold and bacteria, easy to clean, and can be relatively lightweight, depending upon the style.
This is almost always a quite modern looking tub, whether in a polished or brushed finish. This is a mid-weight tub that might not require reinforcement. It also requires very little maintenance, as stainless steel is naturally easy to clean.
This tubs, carved out of marble, granite, travertine, and other attractive stones, lend themselves well to custom work. They are extremely heavy, so reinforced floors are a must. Stone can create a focal point like no other material, and it’s durable enough to last for decades. It also has great heat retention, so you can enjoy long soaks.
Sizing and Measurement Guide
Before calling in the professionals to install your new freestanding bathtub, it’s important to understand freestanding tub sizes and know how much space is available in your bathroom. Different types of freestanding tubs have different sizes and dimensions – meaning it’s possible that not every tub will fit in your space. Below are the widths to expect for different types of freestanding tubs:
Single-ended freestanding tub
48” to 70”
Double-ended freestanding tub
55” to 72”
Single slipper freestanding tub
43” to 73”
Double slipper freestanding tub
43” to 73”
Pedestal freestanding tub
52” to 78”
Clawfoot freestanding tub
48” to 72”
Japanese soaking freestanding tub
40” to 60”
To see if a certain tub will fit, measure the space where you plan to install the bathtub, as well as the bathroom’s doorways. Make sure to leave at least 4 inches of space on all sides so you can safely enter and exit the bathtub. Also remember that the space you choose for your freestanding tub must have access to plumbing.
Freestanding Bathtub Faucets
Floor mounted faucets, also known as freestanding faucets, are drilled into the flooring, connected to your home’s water source, and rise up over the top of your freestanding tub. Homeowners who prefer a floor mounted faucet for their freestanding tub should discuss whether this option is feasible for their current bathroom infrastructure, as underfloor access is required. Floor mounted faucets for freestanding tubs range in price from about $250 to $600 on average.
A deck mounted faucet is attached to the freestanding tub’s upper rim, perching over the top of the bathtub and filling it with water. A bathtub installer will drill two holes into the rim of the bathtub to install and connect this faucet to the water line. Similar to floor mounted faucets, deck mounted faucets also require underfloor access from your bathroom area in order to install. A deck mounted faucet for a freestanding tub should cost between $250 and $550 on average.
Wall mounted faucets for freestanding tubs are anchored into the wall nearest to your rub’s rim. This type of faucet is a bit easier to install compared to floor mounted and deck mounted faucets, as they do not require underfloor access or drilling into the tub. However, homeowners choosing this faucet option need to ensure the wall is close enough to the bathroom for water to fill the tub without leakage. This type of faucet is a bit cheaper compared to the rest – expect a new wall mounted faucet for a freestanding tub to cost between $80 and $400, depending on the type and material.
Tub Wall Mounted
Similar to a wall mounted faucet, a tub wall mounted faucet works the same way, except it is anchored to the tub’s wall rather than the bathroom’s wall. A contractor will have to drill holes into the side of your freestanding tub to make this faucet work. Tub wall mounted faucets can feature a simple downward facing spout or a tall craned neck that towers above the tub for a more unique look. A tub wall mounted faucet for a freestanding tub averages in price between $150 and $500.
Roman faucets usually come with both a faucet and handheld bathing handle. Rather than installing them into the rim or wall of the bathtub, these faucets are usually installed into a surrounding platform with hidden plumbing lines, which can cost extra. Roman faucets for freestanding tubs have a wide range in pricing – but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $750 for this type of faucet.
How Much Does a Freestanding Bathtub Cost?
A freestanding bathtub ranges in price depending on the material, size, and type you choose. Expect to pay between $1,100 and $4,500 for a new freestanding tub, including materials and installation.
Freestanding bathtubs offer homeowners the chance to add a unique touch to a bathroom renovation:
Versatile with plumbing requirements
Average Replacement Costs
$1,100 - $4,500
Be sure to look at a few different bathtub models and styles and compare prices before choosing the best one for your bathroom. You may find that shopping around and comparing multiple options can save you money during the installation.
When you’re ready to explore your options for materials and styles of your ideal freestanding bathtub, let Modernize help. We can connect you with local contractors who can make the most of your bathtub remodeling dreams.
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