While taking a bath is the act of cleaning your body, the time spent in the bathroom represents the most intimate time a person can have. It means personal freedom and relaxation. This is why it is very important that the bathroom fits perfectly with its owner character and needs.
In this article, we are going to present to you different types of baths, how they look and what features they have. After reading it, you will be one step closer to achieve your dream lavatory, but first, let me tell you how the bathing ritual as we know it today started. You may also check our tips and trick for the perfect shower experience.
A short history of baths around the world
Bathing was a major part of the Ancient Roman Empire. Not only that they had public baths consisted of big marble pools, but they were also visionaries on the subject. They constructed aqueducts so wealthy people could have private bathrooms in their houses.
The Greeks considered that some natural springs and tidal pools could cure diseases, being blessed by the Gods. Because of this, they built marble bathing facilities around these water sources. People needing healing were supposed to give offerings before bathing in them, so the Gods would hear their prayers.
The Turkish Baths come from the Ottoman Empire’s culture and it has both religious and popular origins. This ritual is also known as “hammam”, a word that nowadays can be found on almost any spa’s pamphlet. This type of baths consists of big marble pools with hot stream waters, a sauna room, and a cool room, which they used in this exact order.
Japanese people had two purification rituals that involved washing the entire body: Misogi and Harae. So baths had very big importance to them and could be found in their temples. As time passed they replaced Misogi with Gyozui, which means bathing in a wooden tub.
As you can see, most of the ancient people considered bathing more a spiritual act than a necessity. Even now, after all these years, there aren’t many activities that can be more relaxing for both body and mind, as a bath. So, let’s see what kind of bathtubs are on the market, what characterizes each one and what pros and cons they have.
See also our article on why do we sweat after showering and how to avoid it.
Bath types from which you can choose
Alcove baths are the most common types of tubs. They are embedded and need two or three sides of the wall to be installed. The alcove baths are usually surrounded by tiles and have a shower attached to them.
Pros & Cons of Alcove baths
- It is the cheapest type of bathtub on the market
- It doesn’t require too much space
- It is not very comfy; the standard length is 60 inches (150 cm).
Freestanding tubs are just how the name suggests, free of any connection to walls. This category is not a cheap one, but offers a great variety of models from which you can choose:
- Slipper Bath – the name comes from its shape. It looks like a slipper shoe. It is single-ended, meaning it rises more at one end to give a very nourishing feeling when using it
- Boat Bath – it has curves on both its ends that give this tub the shape of a rowing boat. It also can fit two persons at the same time
- Roll Top Bath – this type of bath is deeper than most models out there. It has curved edges all around it making it very comfortable
You can find the freestanding tubs either with four clawed feet (clawfoot baths) or on pedestals.
Pros & Cons of Freestanding baths
- Are very comfortable
- They give the bathroom a luxury look
- They use exposed plumbing
This kind of tub mostly comes in a triangular shape and because it fits in a corner, it is suited also for smaller bathrooms. Often these bathtubs are five-sided with a basin that is large enough to fit 2 people. The basins can be in the form of triangles, hourglass or oval. Most of the corner bathtubs come packed with air jets or massaging waterfalls.
Pros & Cons of Corner Bathtubs
- They go well in any type of bathrooms
- Have a jacuzzi feeling
- They need more hot water than other tub models
This kind of tub needs either a floor cavity or a raised platform in which it is “dropped-in”. Since it is embedded, when you look at the outside of the bath, you can see only its rim. When choosing a drop-in bath, you can build it in an alcove or make it a freestanding tub.
Another thing you should consider about this model is that it can give an “infinity pool” feeling. For this, you need to go with the “overflow” version that is designed to be filled to the brim. You don’t have to worry about flooding the bathroom because it has a system created to continuously circulate the water.
Pros & Cons of Drop-in baths
- Affordable price
- More bathing space than a classic alcove bath
- Can be considered tricky to get out of
Walk-in baths have high walls and are more depth than long. They have a door that allows the person using the tub to make a very small step to enter it. They are also featured with seating space and some models come with premium components like chromotherapy lightening and heated seating. A walk-in bath is filled with water only after the door is hermetically closed and it needs to be drained before getting out of it.
Pros & Cons of Walk-in baths
- Perfect for seniors and people with locomotor disabilities
- Doesn’t need too much space
- The time spend in the tub is longer and it can get chilly before the bath is filled and while you wait for it to drain
Shower baths are what every small bathroom needs. They come in shapes of “P” or “L” and give the person using them, the opportunity to enjoy a great shower experience and a relaxing bubble bath in the same tub.
- P-shaped baths need at least two walls to be put against. They come in both right and left-handed models. The maximum length of a P-shaped bath can reach is 167 cm. One of its ends is wider than the rest, creating the shower space. This part also has a shower screen attached to protect the bathroom floor from splashing it during the shower.
- L-shaped baths. Except for the slightly different shape, this type of tub has also the same characteristics as the P-shaped model. However, it offers a bigger shower space and can reach up to 170cm in length making the bathing experience even better.
Pros & Cons of Shower baths
- They can be found at a really affordable price
- Offer both great showering and bathing experiences.
- The glass screen makes the act of cleaning the tub a little difficult
For many years the word “jacuzzi” was associated only with rich people. However, now you can find a whirlpool bath for almost any tub model. It includes jets that take water from the bath cavity and force it back into the tub, creating an effervescent effect. Are very easy to use. Whenever you feel like having a spa feeling, just press the button found on the tub to start the jets.
Not only that this model gives your baths a more relaxing experience than a normal one, but it also has a therapeutic effect for sore muscles.
Pros & Cons of Whirlpool baths
- Offer a very big range of prices
- Have properties
- The jets are very hard to clean if they are not used regularly.
Japanese baths (Ofuro)
As you could previously read in this article, Japanese people have a very deep connection with water. Ofuro is another Japanese ritual for bathing. The tubs used for it are traditionally made out of wood, are much deeper than normal ones and don’t have a draining system. The Ofuro baths are not for cleaning, but for relaxation. It is typical that more than one family member to use the tub at the same time, meaning that you have to clean yourself before entering it.
Pros & Cons of Japanese baths (Ofuro)
- Offers spiritual and physical relaxation
- Can be used by more than one person at the same time
- You need a big bathroom to accommodate the Ofuro bath and another cleaning facility
Another thing you should consider before buying your bathtub is the material used to make it. There are many choices available on the market, you just need to find the one that will suit your needs the most. To help you make this decision we will also present the most common materials used in crafting baths.
Most Common Materials
- Fiberglass – this kind of bathtub is made by adding multiple layers of fiberglass (fiberglass-reinforced plastic) in order to create the desired tub shape. To keep the layers together the manufactures use Gelcoat resin. The baths made with fiberglass are low weight and the cheapest on the market. However, they don’t have good stability and its finish tends to scratch and cracks easily.
- Acrylic – the bathtubs made out of the acrylic are not very different than the ones made out of fiberglass. Actually, they have fiberglass in their composition. It is used as reinforcement beneath the vacuum formed layers of colored acrylic. The disadvantages still remain the same as the ones from the first category, but they are also more expensive than normal fiberglass baths. However, you can pick from a larger variety of colors.
- Porcelain on steel – this is another very used material in the bath manufacturer. In this case, the tub is made out of a thin layer of steel and finished with a sheet of porcelain enamel. They are not very expensive and are resistant to scratching, but can be easily chipped under impact, leaving the splintered part exposed to rust.
- Cast Iron – the bathtubs made out of this material are very resistant. To create a cast iron bath, the manufacturer uses molds for the desired tub shape in which the molded iron is poured. In the end, it is smoothed and coated with a layer of enamel. These baths come in multiple colors, are very resistant to scratching and chemical products used for cleaning. However, they are expensive, are very heavy and most of the times need extra floor reinforcement.
- Ceramic Tile – when choosing a tub out of ceramic tiles, you can pick whatever size or design you want. This material is the most versatile when it comes to design. However, the cleaning part is tricky, because it has grout between the tiles. Also, it can scratch your skin.
- Stone and Wood – some of the most impressive and luxurious materials for bathtubs are stone and wood. When it comes to stone or other heavy materials such as granite, marble, onyx, travertine, basalt or sandstone, you need to know that they are extremely heavy and require special framing supports.
Wood bathtubs have that “wow factor”. There are, as you imagine, hundreds of types of wood to choose from, depending on the texture, pattern or color you want. The only disadvantage on these stone and wood bathtubs is that they are pretty hard to maintain, so they will keep their original beauty.
- Cultured Marble- this material for making bathtubs is actually a mixture of resin, limestone and Gelcoat finish. You will have lots of options for color, size, and style. This kind of material is way much durable than that used with fiberglass, due to the Gelcoat.
- Solid-surfaced Materials- due to its luxurious smooth texture, the solid surface material is a popular choice for bathtubs. The composition is a blend of natural minerals and synthetic or plant-based resins. Bathtubs that are made of solid-surfaced materials come in lots of shapes and sizes. The main property of solid-surfaced materials is that they maintain the heat, the tub walls are always warm to the touch so you don’t need to permanently add hot water while bathing.
Bath Styles & Finishes
Find relaxation in the favorite type of bathing
Warm showers may have their own uses, but nothing compares to a hot bath. Despite the relaxing mood it gives you, bathing is a true ritual and a very personal moment.
For perfecting this habit, choose a type of bath that suits your needs and that will complement the relaxing routine. You may also check here on what your temperature should be.