Bathtub Styles: Freestanding vs. Built-In Bathtubs For Your Bathroom Remodel

Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by support

A Soak In Style: Choosing Your Perfect Tub

Ever found yourself dreaming about a relaxing soak in a luxurious bathtub after a long day? Or maybe you’re planning a bathroom remodel in Tucson and can’t decide on the perfect bathtub style?

You’re not alone. Choosing between freestanding vs. built-in bathtub styles can be a real head-scratcher.

In this blog post, we’ll navigate the cons and pros of each bathtub design, empowering you to make a well-informed choice that aligns with your aesthetic desires and functional needs.

By this post’s end, you’ll be on the brink of realizing your dream bathroom.


Understanding Freestanding Bathtubs

Freestanding bathtub with tile wall

Freestanding bathtubs, often referred to as standalone or independent baths, are a favored selection among those in pursuit of a touch of luxury in their bathing experience. They’re not attached to any walls or fixtures, giving you the freedom to place them anywhere in your bathroom space. This flexibility allows you to choose between bathroom layout ideas to create one that truly reflects your personal style.


Exploring Freestanding Bathtub Styles

Freestanding bathtubs come in a variety of styles, each with its own unique aesthetic appeal:

  • Clawfoot Tubs: A clawfoot tub is a vintage-style tub that stands on four ornate feet, adding a touch of classic elegance to any bathroom.
  • Pedestal Tubs: Similar to clawfoot tubs, pedestal tubs stand on a base or pedestal. They offer a more modern look while still providing the appeal of a freestanding tub.
  • Slipper Tubs: These tubs have a high back at one or both ends, providing a comfortable place to recline during a long soak.
  • Japanese Soaking Tubs: These deep, compact tubs allow for full immersion and are perfect for smaller bathrooms.

Understanding Built-In Bathtubs

Built-in bathtub alcove style

Built-in bathtubs, also known as integrated or inbuilt bathtubs, are installed against one or more bathroom walls. They’re a standard bathtub choice in many homes due to their practicality and space efficiency.


Exploring Built-In Bathtub Styles

Built-in bathtubs also have a variety of styles:

  • Alcove Bathtubs: Alcove tubs are the most common type of built-in tub, typically enclosed on three sides by walls.
  • Drop-In Tubs: A drop-in tub dropped into a pre-built deck or enclosure, offering a seamless look.
  • Corner Tubs: A corner tub is a space-saving tub installed in a corner of the bathroom, often with a built-in seat or ledge.
  • Undermount Tubs: Similar to drop-in tubs, undermount tubs are installed under a countertop or deck, with the rim of the tub hidden.
  • Walk-in Tubs: The benefits of walk-in tubs work best for people with mobility issues. You can walk right in and sit down in your tub!

Freestanding vs. Built-In Bathtub Styles

White soaking tub on custom tile floor next to shower

Relaxation Potential

When it comes to relaxation, both freestanding and built-in bathtubs have their merits.

Known as soaker tubs, freestanding bathtubs typically boast a generous length and depth, providing bathers with the luxury of submerging themselves completely in the water. This is why they’re one of the primary bathroom must-haves.

On the other hand, built-in bathtubs can also be long and deep, and their built-in ledges can provide a place convenient for resting a book or a glass of wine.


Heat Retention

Heat retention is another important factor to consider when choosing your bathtub style.

Some people believe that freestanding bathtubs lose heat faster than built-in bathtubs because they’re surrounded by air.

However, the different bathtub materials and the insulation material types behind the tub can also affect heat retention.

If long, hot baths are important to you, consider a built-in bathtub or an acrylic bathtub, both of which tend to retain heat better than freestanding or cast iron bathtubs.


Weight Considerations

The weight of your chosen bathtub is a crucial consideration, particularly if your plans involve remodeling a bathroom in a vintage property.

Most modern bathtubs are made of either acrylic or cast iron. Cast iron tubs, whether freestanding or built-in, are always heavier than acrylic tubs.

If you’re considering a heavy bathtub, you might need to reinforce your bathroom floor to support the tub’s weight.


Cleaning Ease

When it comes to ease of cleaning, built-in bathtub styles generally have the upper hand over their freestanding counterparts. With a built-in tub, you can easily clean the floors around the tub without having to navigate around or under the tub.

However, freestanding tubs are easier to clean from all sides since they’re not attached to any walls.


Cost Considerations

In the realm of pricing for bathtub styles in Tucson, freestanding bathtubs usually carry a heftier price tag compared to built-in bathtubs.

However, the total cost of your bathtub will also depend on the cost of installation and any additional features you choose, such as a tile surround or a glass shower door for a built-in bathtub.


Switching Bathtub Styles

The transition from a freestanding tub to a built-in tub, or the other way around, is feasible but demands thoughtful deliberation.

The plumbing requirements for each type of tub are different, and you might need to reinforce your bathroom floor to accommodate a heavier tub. Always consult with a professional for bathroom flooring ideas before making the switch.


Pros And Cons Of Freestanding Bathtubs

Pros Of Freestanding Tubs

Freestanding bathtubs come with a host of advantages:

  • Variety of Styles: From vintage clawfoot tubs to sleek, modern designs, freestanding bathtubs offer a wide range of styles to suit any bathroom design.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: As a centerpiece of the bathroom, a freestanding bathtub can make a strong design statement.
  • Ease of Installation: Unlike built-in bathtubs, freestanding tubs don’t require complex mounting or integration into the bathroom structure.
  • Flexible Placement: You can place a freestanding bathtub anywhere in your bathroom as long as the plumbing is adjacent.

Cons Of Freestanding Bathtubs

Despite their appeal, freestanding bathtub styles do come with some drawbacks:

  • Higher Cost: Freestanding bathtubs tend to be pricier than their built-in counterparts.
  • Weight Considerations: Freestanding bathtubs, especially those made of heavy materials like cast iron, can be quite heavy. You might need to reinforce your bathroom floor to accommodate the tub’s bulk.
  • Lack of Shower Compatibility: Freestanding bathtubs aren’t typically compatible with showers.
  • Limited Storage: Unlike built-in bathtubs, freestanding tubs don’t offer much in the way of bath organizing or storage space.

Check out some bathroom storage ideas to help mitigate this.


Pros And Cons Of Built-In Bathtubs

Built-in bathtub between two vanities

Pros Of Built-In Bathtubs

The pros of built-in bathtubs are numerous:

  • Lower Cost: Built-in bathtubs are typically more budget-friendly compared to freestanding bathtubs.
  • Space Efficiency: Built-in tubs are a great choice for smaller bathrooms or for those looking to maximize their bath area.
  • Storage Options: Built-in bathtubs often come with ledges or shelves, providing handy storage space for your bath products.
  • Simpler Plumbing: Plumbing for built-in bathtubs is typically more straightforward than for freestanding bathtubs.
  • Ease of Cleaning: When it comes to cleaning, maneuvering around a built-in bathtub is generally less challenging than navigating around a freestanding bathtub.

Cons Of Built-In Bathtubs

Despite their practicality, built-in bathtubs have some disadvantages:

  • Limited Placement Flexibility: Built-in bathtubs need to be installed against a wall, limiting your placement options.
  • Fewer Style Options: Built-in bathtubs don’t offer as many style choices as freestanding bathtubs.
  • More Complex Installation: Installing a built-in bathtub can be more complex and time-consuming than installing a freestanding bathtub.

Check out the pros and cons of walk-in tubs.


Choosing The Right Bathtub Style For Your Needs

The best bathtub style for you depends on your personal preferences and practical needs.

If you value aesthetics and have ample bathroom space, a freestanding tub might be the right choice.

If you prefer a more practical and space-efficient option, a built-in tub might be more suitable.

Consider factors like how often you take baths, whether you need a shower-tub combo, and how much storage space you need around your tub.


Get Your Dream Bathroom With Frei Remodeling & Construction

The choice between a freestanding and a built-in bathtub style is a deeply personal one, hinging on your aesthetic leanings, practical requirements, and financial considerations. Both types of bathtubs offer unique advantages and can help you create a bathroom that’s both functional and beautiful.

At Frei Remodeling & Construction, we specialize in high-end bathroom remodels. Whether you’re dreaming of a luxurious freestanding bathtub or a practical built-in bathtub, our team of experts can help you bring your vision to life.

Ready to start your bathroom remodel? Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call. We can’t wait to help you create your dream bathroom.

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Joe Frei

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