Baths can be divided into several categories, depending on their shape and size, and what they are made of. There are many different shapes and sizes of bath, from the usual rectangular to space-saving corner or attention-grabbing freestanding designs. All of these can be found in traditional, art deco, classic or modern styles, which can complement and enhance your bathroom design.
Although it may be tempting to go for the biggest bath possible, you should take into consideration that if you have a particularly large bath, it may use all the hot water from your tank and unless you have taps with a high flow rate, you may be waiting a while for the bath to fill.
Shower baths are a great space-saving option when you are looking for a generous showering area, and still want a bath, but have no room for a separate shower enclosure.
If you don't want a rectangular bath, there are several different corner bath options. An offset corner will fit into a corner in a roughly triangular shape so that the belly of the bath is much wider than the tap end, whereas a true corner bath has two equal length sides.
Freestanding baths require no panelling or building in but you may need to consider more decorative pipework to the taps and from the overflow and waste, as all of this could be on show.
Although there is little difference in the user experience between an acrylic bath and a steel bath (as long as they are made by a reputable manufacturer and installed correctly), there are a number of differences between the two that you should be aware of when choosing a bath.
- Acrylic: Good quality acrylic (those manufactured from sanitary grade acrylic) will give many years of trouble free use. Small surface scratches and blemishes can be polished out using 'T' Cut or a similar mild buffing agent.
- Steel: Good quality steel baths are finished with a hardwearing enamelled surface that will also give many years of trouble free use. However, if the enamel becomes damaged it will need professional attention to repair it and the bath may even need replacing.
- Acrylic: Acrylic baths retain heat better than steel baths and will be warmer to the touch.
- Steel: Steel conducts heat well and so the water in a steel bath will cool more rapidly than in an acrylic bath. However, this effect should be so small that it should not detract from the user experience.
- Acrylic: As the manufacturing process is simple, cheaper, and the material is easy to mould, designs can be very elaborate, and may include rope twists, angular edges or soap dishes,
- Steel: Due to the high cost of moulding tools and the relative inflexibility of the material steel baths tend to be simple in design.
- Acrylic: Acrylic baths are lightweight.
- Steel: Cast iron baths are extremely heavy (more than 100 kg on average), so the bathroom floor must be strong enough to take the weight of the bath, the bath water and the bather.
- Acrylic: Although acrylic baths have suffered from a poor reputation in the past (due the supply of inferior quality products), when supplied by a reputable retailer and installed correctly they should prove trouble free and sturdy.
- Steel: Steel baths give the impression of being more stable when fitted, as the material is obviously less flexible to start with.
Before purchasing a whirlpool or spa bath you should consider the following installation requirements:
- Consider access to the room and particularly ongoing access for servicing of the motor and system pipes. Some baths come with their own side panels which can be easily removed when servicing is needed.
- Are your floors strong enough? A typical whirlpool can weigh anywhere between 70-100 100 kg, whilst a standard acrylic bath is usually around 20 kg.
- The installation of any electrical devices such as sockets and switches should be carried out by a qualified electrician and must comply with all relevant safety standards.