Update: People are investing more and more in their bathrooms as they become much more than just washrooms; bathrooms are now havens, places to relax and pamper yourself. Statement decorating ideas are very fashionable in modern bathrooms, as well as high-end materials that offer a sleek, penthouse-style look. Adding a deep, luxurious new tub where you can relax and soak in peace is a great tension reliever, while a minimalist, easy to clean enclosure with sliding doors makes a much better alternative to a shabby old shower curtain!
A tub and enclosure is a great upgrade to your bathroom, and one that frees you from the problem of mold on the shower curtains and cleaning the grout lines on the tile walls. A bathtub is an inviting alternative to daily showers and if you have the space, it is a great idea to have a tub enclosure in the bathroom.
By and large, tubs are usually placed in a corner and therefore single-sided fiberglass tub enclosures are quite popular. A rule of thumb to follow in case of tub enclosure is that the less complicated they are, the more efficiently they will prevent leakage and the lower the cost they will be. Tub enclosures are available in a variety of designs. Three common types are:
Standard bypass enclosures:
- These include two sliding doors that are suspended on rollers and run on a metal rail. The doors are framed and held in place by a lower rail. It is good for control shower spray and is quite popular.
- Frameless glass doors:
- Removing the frames makes the enclosure look elegant and modern.
- Three panel doors:
- By sliding two panels over the remaining one, you get greater access to the tub.
The enclosures are usually tiled, solid surface, glass, or fiberglass. The benefits and drawbacks of each are given below.
Solid Surface: A solid surface enclosure offers the advantage of being resistant to scratches, impact, and stains. Being non-porous, it is not easily attacked by fungus and bacteria, which is a big plus in the warm and moist bathroom environments. It also retains its color and does not get yellow with age.
Fiberglass: These tub enclosures do not get moldy and are therefore an attractive alternative to tile. Since they are prefabricated, they are also easy to install. They are leak proof and can be customized to enclose your tub so that you can utilize the space to the best possible advantage.
Glass: Has for long been a traditional favorite, it is available in a variety of designs. Recently, three panel and four panel glass tub enclosures have become popular because they facilitate movement for elderly persons.
Tubs can be made of enameled cast iron, enameled steel, acrylic, or fiberglass. Each material has its own benefits.
Enameled Cast Iron: Long lasting material, still popular. The enamel is to prevent staining and scratching. The material is heavy as well as expensive and is therefore rarely used for large tubs.
Fiberglass: An inexpensive option, fiberglass tubs are lightweight and easy to install. Fiberglass does not have the durability or color finish of acrylic. It shows signs of wear after 15 to 20 years. However, it is easy to repair.
Acrylic: Acrylic, reinforced with fiberglass, is more durable and more expensive than fiberglass. It is a preferred choice as a material for large tubs and whirlpools because it is lightweight, easy to install, and can be shaped without much trouble. It has good insulating properties and keeps water warm for longer periods.
Porcelain on Steel: Porcelain enamel is fused onto the surface of a single unit steel shell. It has good stain and abrasion resistance, is relatively light in weight and moderately priced. Its resistance to acids and chemicals makes it easy to clean with household chemicals. However, if the porcelain enamel is broken or chipped, the steel may rust.
Cultured Marble: It is a synthetic product manufactured from crushed limestone and a resin. It is given a gel coat finish, which increases the resistance to wear and provides durability. It can be repaired if it chips. However, it cannot withstand high temperatures and is quite brittle. If exposed to a temperature above 150 Fahrenheit, the material may crack. It is more expensive than acrylic but cheaper than cast iron.
The time taken to install a bathtub and its enclosure depends on the existing plumbing and waterproofing in the bathroom. In addition, you will require more time if the bathtub that you are installing is a replacement. Removing an existing bathtub can take 4 to 8 hours. If you plan to tile the new enclosure, it adds another 24 hours including the time it would take for the tiles and grout to set. A new bathtub installation with enclosure should ideally take between one and half to two days. We can recommend a contractor who specializes in bathroom remodels in your neighborhood, just click here.
Can a bathtub and enclosure installation be a “Do it yourself” project?
Putting the enclosure in place is not a very difficult process with the prefabricated panes available. Installing a tub is best done by those who have some experience in “DIY projects. Get somebody to help you, tubs are heavy and need to be moved around with care.
The following points should be borne in mind with respect to a bathtub installation.
- If the tub and enclosure is to be installed above the ground floor, choose a lightweight tub and an enclosure that can be assembled from individual pieces.
- If you are installing a large tub, ensure that your bathroom floor can take the weight of the filled tub.
- Regular bathtubs have a 1/2″ water pipe, for larger tubs a 3/4″ pipe is recommended. Also, use a 50-75 gallon hot water heater for the larger tubs otherwise instead of hot water; you may only get lukewarm water.
- If the bathtub is a replacement, then you need to first remove the existing bathtub, disconnect its piping; these include hot and cold water, waste and overflow.. If the tub is clipped to a tiled wall, the clippings may need to be exposed and the tub disconnected.