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Tubs range in style from functional standard tubs to elegant whirlpools. Personal preference plays a primary role in selection, but you should look for other qualities, too.


The most common materials for tubs are enameled cast iron, enameled steel, fiberglass, and acrylic. Cast iron tubs are the strongest but may require extra floor reinforcement because of their weight. Steel is less expensive, may chip, and is noisy when running water on it. Acrylic and fiberglass tubs are lighter and less expensive but less durable, too.

Styles, Size, & Shape

Choose a tub style that fits your bathroom. Among your choices: a "3 wall" tub that only has one side (the room walls form the other three), a "drop in" that has no sides, and freestanding "clawfoot" or "pedestal" tub. There are also walk in bathtubs designed for the elderly and others that have difficulty stepping into a conventional tub.

Tubs have standardized sizes and shapes but are available in some custom sizes. In addition to the traditional size (5' and 6' length) and shape, there are oversized tubs, and round, triangular, and oval tubs. Also, there are modular tub/shower/wall units.

Color and Design

It's almost not worth mentioning color and design since there is such a wide variation intended to blend with various decors. Our only advice here is to pick a color and design that matches your toilet and sink.


If you are planning to replace an existing tub, you might want to consider bathtub reglazing, a process that gives you a new looking bathtub without the expense or effort of ripping out the old tub and installing a new one.
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