Whether you are refurbishing your bathroom or building a brand new one, the type of bathtub you choose depends on the size and shape of the allocated space and usage of the tub. Be it for washing the kids together or relaxing after a hard days work, choose the type of tub that suits you and your lifestyle.

The Alcove (or straight end) Bathtub

This is the most common tub and the one we have probably all grown up with. The tub fits into a 3 walled enclosure and the taps and waste are positioned on one end of the bath. The advantage of being able to double up the use as a shower by installing a shower / mixer tap and a bath panel makes it perfect for smaller bathrooms.

Double Ended BathtubShower tap

Similarly positioned as the Alcove Tub but with the taps and waste situated in the centre of the bathtub making it large enough for 2 people.

Free Standing Tub Bathtub

Situated in the centre of a large bathroom this Bathtub gives a touch of style and elegance. A claw foot tub has a centre drain and rounded edges, a Roll Top has a curved rim around the whole tub and the Slipper Tub has a high side to facilitate sitting more comfortably.

Corner Bathtub

Suitable for smaller bathrooms coming in either left hand or right handed design. Most corner tubs are not suitable for shower attachments. Many people are now installing corner tubs.

Which Material to choose?

Below is a table listing the various materials that make up bathtubs. Take things into account such as frequency of use and personal style when choosing.

Material Description Points of Interest
Acrylic Acrylic sheets are molded and reinforced with fibreglass.
  • Offers a wide range of shapes and styles
  • Highly resistant to scuffing
  • Lightweight
  • Retains heat
  • Easily scratched
Enameled cast Iron A Cast iron molded bathtub finished with enamel.
  • Solid
  • Durable
  • Retains heat
  • very heavy
Cast Polymer Solid colour Polymer made to resemble Marble or Granite. Finished with polyester gel coat.
  • Resembles stone, whilst retaining flexibility
  • Retains heat
  • Gel coating less durable
Enameled Steel A steel tub, sprayed with enamel.
  • Cheaper than cast iron
  • Durable
  • Solid
  • Easily chipped
  • Noisy when water is running
Cultured Marble A material composed of crushed limestone and polyester resin with a gel-coat finish.
  • Choice of colours and patterns
  • Sleek look
  • Expensive
  • Rough to touch
Fiberglass A fiberglass material finished with a layer of polyester gel coat.
  • Economical
  • Lightweight
  • Doesn’t retain heat well

Marble bathtubWhatever you choose, your bathtub is one of the main features of your bathroom and a major part of family life, so choose wisely.

(Photos by Erica Nicol, Petras Gagilas and Neil and Kathy Carey)