Of all the latest trends in bathroom design, the freestanding bath appears to have the greatest appeal. Gone are the days when you needed an acre-sized bathroom and a trust fund to own one. The undeniable beauty and glamour they bring to your bathroom is clear, but when it comes to buying one, you want to make sure you know your stuff.
This freestanding bath buying guide can answer the most frequently asked questions you may have before purchasing:
- What are the pros and cons?
- Can you put a shower over a freestanding bath?
- What material should I buy?
If you find yourself looking for a little more information before you buy, then this article will provide you with everything you need.
What is a freestanding bath?
A freestanding bath stands alone in your bathroom without being attached to a supporting wall structure. They usually sit directly on the floor or are mounted on feet, making a great center-piece for any bathroom design.
You might envisage a freestanding bath to be the focal point of a bathroom with oodles of space all around it. This is true with bathrooms of a certain size, but with a huge variety of sizes and styles now available, space isn’t the issue it used to be. While they do make a stunning showpiece, you’re left with the freedom to dictate how you want it to impact your bathroom design.
Without the restrictions of having to be up against the wall or tucked away in a corner, the structure of your freestanding bath can be whatever suits you and your family best. It can be narrow and shallow for young kids, or deep and wide if you’re someone who likes a long relaxing soak in the tub after work.
Freestanding bath trends – contemporary or traditional?
Freestanding baths tend to fall within two camps, traditional and contemporary. This isn’t a rigid definition as some baths have elements of both within their design.
Traditional freestanding baths have that classic feel about them and consist of slipper baths and roll top baths. The classic feel is further enhanced by the supporting claw feet, better suited to a traditional bathroom design.
Slipper baths are characterized by their shape, with one end being higher than the other. A more modern take on the slipper bath allows the bath to rest directly onto the floor, creating a seamless structure allowing for a more contemporary feel.
Roll top baths, as the name suggests, feature a curved roll or lip as a design feature at the top of the bath. Unlike the slipper bath, both ends tend to be of equal height.
Contemporary freestanding baths feature outstanding curves, smooth lines and a clean, minimalist design, the kind of bath that you would expect to see in a luxury hotel or spa retreat. The simplicity of the design aids a feeling of tranquility and relaxation. Rolltop baths with a modern design feature more extravagant shapes and added creativity, a freestanding bath trend increasing in popularity.
Freestanding bath materials
Historically, copper and natural stone were the primary popular materials for freestanding baths, now they’re more prominently used for high-end luxury. Today, there are three popular choices: acrylic, composite or steel. There are different advantages to each, but ultimately it comes down to which you feel best fits your dream bathroom design.
Acrylic freestanding baths
- Acrylic baths are a common feature in modern bathrooms, and this is for a number of reasons. The material is more affordable than other options, and it’s easily maintained. An added bonus to using acrylic material is that it’s excellent at absorbing and retaining heat – perfect if you’re someone who likes a lengthy relax in the tub, it will also reduce the energy use of taking a bath.
Composite freestanding baths
- Made from a mixture of resin and ground stone, usually quartz or granite, the composite bath gives you so many styles and designs to choose from. You can opt for a natural look or choose a color that fits your bathroom design, the outstanding look of a composite freestanding bath is what makes this material unique. As well as a stunning exterior, composite freestanding baths are durable and affordable.
QuarryCast™ Freestanding Baths
- A unique material, QuarryCast™ is made from finely ground Volcanic Limestone™ mixed with resin and is a material unique to Victoria and Albert Freestanding Baths. It retains heat well and the limestone delivers a beautiful natural look. It’s a composite material but deserves a special mention for the glossy look and exceptional strength to weight ratio it provides.
Steel freestanding baths
- Steel baths are a more contemporary version of the old iron bathtubs. Their thick porcelain enamel coating means they retain the classic look but are lighter in weight making them suitable for installation upstairs. Although they look great, steel isn’t the best at retaining heat. If you like a long bath, another option may be more suited.
Freestanding Baths Pros and Cons
If you’re not sure whether a freestanding bath is best for you, here are a list of the pros and cons:
- Due to the fact they can be placed anywhere in your bathroom, there is no limit when it comes to style or design. You can choose the perfect bath for you and your family without worrying about space.
- It has a unique look and adds a luxurious feel to your bathroom. Often used in high-end hotels and spas, a freestanding bath is a focal point for a stunning bathroom design.
- With no need to be connected to walls, installing a freestanding bath is quick and easy.
- You are free to place a freestanding bath anywhere in your bathroom. This gives you total freedom to fit your bath into the design of the room. Do you want it under a skylight or facing out the window for a beautiful view? No problem.
- Freestanding bathtubs can be moved around – so if you feel like changing the layout of your bathroom this is a useful benefit.
- Freestanding baths are generally more expensive than built-in tubs, even when installation is considered. This is because they’re more complex and usually of more luxury design.
- Freestanding baths are much heavier than built-in baths, sometimes requiring a reinforced floor which adds to the cost. Particularly for freestanding baths made from stone or metal materials.
- Storage can be an issue for freestanding baths. The go-to ledge at the corner of a built-in bath for your shampoos and soaps simply doesn’t exist on a freestanding model. You can avoid this issue if you purchase a rolling caddie.
- Freestanding baths are usually much bigger than built-in baths. This can be a problem when trying to navigate it into the right spot in your bathroom. Some are even too tall to lean over the side, making bathing a child or pet difficult.
If you want to discuss whether a freestanding bath is the right option for you and your bathroom, why not get in touch with our team and they will be more than happy to help you.
Plumbing and Waste
Another issue to consider before even purchasing a freestanding bath is whether or not the installation of the bath is part of a complete remodel of the bathroom or whether it is a re-fit.
If it is a complete remodel of the bathroom then during the planning stages steps can and should be taken to accommodate the necessary plumbing and waste concerns.
If the freestanding bath is intended to replace a standard bathtub then the implications of moving the waste system has to be given greater consideration. Unlike with a standard bath fitting where the waste system is housed underneath the bath, a freestanding bath installation has the waste system housed below floor level.
Price of Freestanding Baths
Generally freestanding baths cost more than built-in baths – but their price varies depending on the brand, design and material. Our range here at iBathtub has both affordable and more luxury models. If you’re looking to price up the cost of a new freestanding bath, feel free to take a look.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. If you’re looking for a stunning new bath and installation isn’t a problem, then a freestanding bath might be best for you. Choosing a freestanding bath gives you more freedom to dictate the style and positioning of your new tub, helping you achieve that dream bathroom design.