The bath design world is currently in the thrall of the free standing bathtub and for very good reason. Nothing sets a new bath design apart quite like one. They're the rare centerpiece of a bath that's also a fully-functional, not to mention thoughtful, addition that people will use as much as they love to look at it.
Free-standing tubs take a mundane necessity and turn it into something attention grabbing and they make an impression like few elements can.
What is a free-standing tub?
Free-standing tubs are exactly what they sound like - bathtubs that stand alone. They're finished on all sides and are intended to be set away from the wall. They read as much as a piece of furniture as they do a plumbing fixture. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials, and allow for an opportunity to express more creativity in a bath's design.
Do free-standing tubs cost more?
No, they don't always but they can. It's important to shop and look for free-standing bathtubs from a wide variety of sources. Free-standing tubs scream luxury product and when they first started their comeback they were certainly priced accordingly. Now that they've become more popular, their prices have begun to fall.
It's also important to remember that aside from the cost of the tub itself, the fees to the plumber to install it will also increase so bear that addition expense in mind when you're planning your bath renovation.
Just remember to tell all of the tradespeople you're working with that your new bath plan includes a free-standing tub so they can provide you with guidance and honest prices ahead of time.
Can free-standing tubs be combined with showers?
Generally no but you can try. However, it'll be difficult to get a shower in there without ruining the effect you're trying to achieve. It's a much better idea to plan for a separate shower from the start if you're going to use a free-standing tub.
Can free-standing tubs be accessible to people with disabilities or mobility issues?
Yes, free-standing tubs can be made to be more accessible, but it's less than ideal.
The keys to bathtub accessibility are rails (which help you to lift yourself in and out of the tub) and transfer benches (which allow you to easily move from a wheelchair to the tub).
Using these tools with a free-standing tub can be a challenge. If your tub is placed too far from the wall (which is often the case), you won't be able to install rails on the wall and will instead have to install them on or near the tub.
On top of that, if you have mobility issues it can be very difficult to get into a free-standing tub (or any tub, for that matter). And it's even harder to get out, since you have to raise yourself even higher while you're soaking wet.
While it's possible to make a free-standing tub accessible, it's not easy and it might lessen the visual effect. You'll probably be better off with a doorless, curbless shower.
So if you're in the process of thinking about a new bath, keep free-standing tubs in mind. They're a wonderful addition to any home.