Installing a Freestanding Tub: 3 Things You Need to Know
Freestanding bathtubs are growing in popularity, and it is easy to see why! In many of our master bath remodels we are replacing either an old cultured marble bathtub or a sunken garden tub that frankly is just ugly or not functional. We started to see a comeback of the vintage cast-iron bathtubs initially, and now there are many different shapes, sizes, styles, and finishes available in the free-standing bathtub marketplace!
Is Your Tub Intended to be Functional or Decorative?
When considering adding a free-standing bathtub to your master bathroom remodel, you should first consider whether it will be a fixture that you will use or if it is going to be ornamental. Either way, you should ask around and do some research online as to which bathtub you should go with. The best way to learn what your preferences are is to sit in some bathtubs and test how they feel! You will be surprised by the difference between different models and manufacturers. With some research, you can find a beautiful bathtub that can be both the focal point of your bathroom and the luxurious tub you have always dreamed of!
Tub Compatibility with Bathroom Layout
The layout is critical when designing your new construction or bathroom remodel. You need to work closely with your designer to make sure you have the available space around the bathtub. A few points you should consider:
Tub Filler: Make sure the tub filler you select pairs nicely with the bathtub. When determining the layout think about access to the tub. Is it going to be in the way when getting into the bathtub? Can you reach it easily from outside the tub? Would you like a handheld shower attached to the filler?
During the rough-in stage of the bathroom remodel, we have our installers create a template (if one isn’t provided by the manufacturer) and place it on the floor to verify the dimensions that were called out during the design phase. Now is the time to make final adjustments (many times we will adjust the tub filler a little closer or further away from the tub to make sure it doesn’t drip on the edge of the tub and provides enough clearance away from the wall to fully turn on and of). In one of our prior master bathroom remodels in Paradise Valley Arizona we had very close tolerances and did not plan the location of the tub filler properly. After the final install, we found out that the tub filler handles when in the fully on position did not clear the wall, and we had to adjust after the fact. Learn this lesson from us: plan properly at the rough-in stage!
Is the floor level?
One final item to consider is the level of your bathroom floor. We have found in our remodels that most floors are not perfectly level. In this Scottsdale Arizona bathroom remodel, we found after we installed the tub that the floor was over 1⁄2” out of level! We ended up removing all the floor tile and grinding the concrete down to get this floor level. Freestanding bathtubs have zero tolerances for adjustments on floors that are not level. This is an item to check as soon as all the demo work is complete, and before the plumbing rough-in stage.
Leveling a Standing Bath
We have found that although freestanding bathtubs do have a few critical items to consider when planning and installing, they are a very beautiful addition to your master bathroom. Make sure the general contractor you hire has experience in the installation, and you will be pleased with the end product!