The bathtub market encompasses a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors, styles and construction materials. Cost varies widely as well. A new bathtub can be had for as little as $200 or for more than $5,000. But that doesn't include the cost of the tub's installation, which can add $2,000 to $3,500 to the bill. And if you're renovating an existing bathroom, the price tag can run even higher if you choose to relocate plumbing fixtures. Knowing this, it's easy to see why it's important to do your homework when choosing the best bathtub for your home.
For people renovating a bathroom, many will find their bathtub choices are limited from the get-go -- walls may dictate similar style and size as the old tub, usually 5 to 6 feet long (interior and exterior, respectively) by 30 to 36 inches deep. For most people, that may mean a recessed tub (enclosed by three walls), a corner tub (walls on two sides) or a drop-in tub contained in a frame and perhaps hugging just one wall. If the home is old, the existing bathtub may be free-standing, such as a clawfoot tub. Those remain popular today, but there are also modern-style freestanding bathtubs, some of which sit atop a platform. Soaking tubs -- also called Japanese, Asian or Greek tubs -- are usually shorter and deeper than conventional tubs and well suited to persons who enjoy immersing themselves. If you have frequent muscle or joint pain, or just enjoy the luxury of a spa, you may want to consider a whirlpool tub, and those come in as many shapes and sizes as standard tubs. If you have mobility problems, a walk-in tub may be your answer.
All of the aforementioned bathtub types are constructed with a variety of materials: Acrylic, fiberglass, enamel-coated steel or cast iron are the most common, but bathtubs are also made from copper, stone and composite materials and wood. Of course, you may not need a new tub at all -- most conventional tubs can be refinished, or an acrylic tub liner can be installed over the old tub surface. Both are usually jobs for professionals, but they are much cheaper options than a new tub.