A freestanding tub is any tub that has been finished on all sides and can stand alone.
When you install a one in your bathroom, you don’t need to add tiles around it as you would with the alcove type of tubs.
Often, freestanding tubs are more like furniture than real bathroom fixtures.
While they are grouped together with regular bathtubs, they don’t need to be installed close to the wall and can be easily repositioned if the homeowner feels like it.
It is important to bear in mind that manufactured homes are unique compared to site-built homes.
For example, the type of floor found in most manufactured homes is designed to rest on the subfloor often made from OSB (oriented strand board). OSB consists of pressed wood strips held together by resin adhesives.
This means you need to be extra careful when choosing a freestanding tub because occasional movements and relocation of the tub may disrupt the structural integrity of your floor.
On another hand, floors in a site-built home consist of concrete and other durable materials.
This means you don’t need to be too careful when choosing a tub because these floors are capable of withstanding any weight as well as frequent movements.
Five Factors to Bear in Mind When Choosing a Freestanding Tub
What size of freestanding tub do you think will meet your needs?
There are so many sizes of tubs in the market today that might give you trouble to choose the best option for yourself.
The most commonly used size of freestanding tubs is the 60” L (5 ft.), 30” W (2.5 ft.) W, 19” (1.89ft) D, or anything in this region.
Note that D denotes Depth or the depth of water permitted by the tub.
Normally, the size of freestanding tubs range between the smallest 55” (4.58ft) L, 27” (2.25ft) W, 15” (1.25ft) D to the largest 72” (6 ft.) L, 32” (2.67 ft.) W, 20” D.
Sizes ranging from small to the medium are more popular because of two reasons:
- they take less space and
- are affordable compared to king-size types.
Many homeowners would easily buy the largest tubs available if space wasn’t a hindering factor – who wouldn’t want to swim in a pool of a bathtub?
This makes larger tubs to be something of luxury only available to high spenders with larger bathrooms in their mansions.
These large tubs, however, come with one major drawback – small children and the elderly may find it difficult to climb inside and take a soak.
So what’s the best freestanding tub for a manufactured home?
It would be great if you went for the medium-sized tubs because they can comfortably accommodate an adult and still take up a relatively small amount of space in your bathroom.
You can go a few times smaller if you want, but large tubs are a major NO for mobile homes.
2. Material of Construction
Most of the freestanding tubs you will find in the store are made from one of the five popular materials used to make “bathwares”. Each material has a few pros and cons worth considering before choosing the tub:
- Stone Resin
- Cast Stone
- Cast iron
Stone Resin isn’t necessarily pure stone, or consisting of a bigger percent stone, but rather a perfect blend of natural minerals (often resin) and acrylic polymer.
- Tubs made from stone resin are pleasant to the eye and can add a more modern look to your bathroom.
- Also, colors don’t fade as fast as they would when put on other materials even with sustained use.
- The durability of stone resin-based tubs is superb. Because stone resin material is not porous, it doesn’t absorb water, hence it doesn’t crack with age.
- Another impressive thing about stone resin is that it is easy to clean. All you need is a piece of abrasive material to wipe the dirt.
The downside of stone resin, however, is the price tag – tubs made from this material can cost a king’s ransom.
However, if you put into consideration the quality of the product, you will be convinced they are worth every penny you will blow on them.
Cast stone is prepared by crushing cement with a selection of pigments and bits of crushed stone to add a natural look to the crushed cement. This material is a preferred replacement for limestone, sandstone, slate, granite, coral rock, and similar natural stones.
- Few tub materials are as versatile as cast stone.
- As such, manufacturers love to combine it with virtually any kind of natural stone or material they want to make tubs with unique features.
- If you compare cast iron to most other materials, it comes out more affordable to most homeowners.
- It is easier to clean as well – all you need is baking soda, warm water, and an abrasive scrub.
The only drawback of Cast Iron is the appearance. Because it is a man-made material, it doesn’t come anywhere close to authentic or natural. That, and the fact that it gets discolored quite often, may give you more to think about.
The acrylic material used in tubs is prepared by heating and molding solid sheets of petrochemicals, fillers, resins, dyes, and stabilizers before strengthening them with fiberglass.
If you are looking for a non-porous tub that won’t absorb water and crack, you might want to choose an acrylic tub.
- On the downside though, acrylic is notorious for energy inefficiency.
- It is known to lose heat more rapidly, causing the warm water to lose heat faster before you even take a soak.
- They are also unreasonably expensive and are prone to warping.
The manufacturers of cast iron tubs simply pour molten iron into bathtub molds before soothing and covering them with enamel.
- Cast iron tubs are probably the most durable tubs you can ever buy – they are highly resistant to chipping and scratches.
- They can also weather high impacts without denting.
- You can use abrasive materials and baking soda without the worry of ruining the coating.
- The heat retention properties of cast iron fall somewhere between the best and the worst, meaning the water remains fairly warm for long.
The main drawback of cast iron tubs is their price. A decent cast iron tub costs something in the region of $1,000
Fiberglass tubs are made of layers of reinforced plastic that have been molded into a tub and coated with Gelcoat resin or enamel.
- The best thing about fiberglass tubs is their price – they are probably the cheapest tubs you could find in the store.
- It is possible to find a decent fiberglass tub with a price tag as low as $200.
- Because they are lightweight, you can install one by following a simple DIY procedure.
- Overall, they are good for the budget for a bathroom remodeling project and fast installation.
However, fiberglass tubs come with two major drawbacks:
- they are very brittle because of cheap construction
- and tend to start warping with time.
Related: Help – my bathtub is cracking……
The style of the freestanding tub influences its appearance and how it rests on the floor.
These two factors don’t sound like things you would take lightly – you want the best-looking tub that assumes a posture that doesn’t harm your floor or doesn’t put you at risk of falling.
Most of the freestanding tubs you will find in the store fall neatly in one of these five styles:
This is probably the most common style in freestanding tubs.
The only defining feature of these tubs is the little piggy legs on the base which raises the rest of the tub about 4” off the floor.
They are the easiest style of tubs to move around your bathroom.
Because clawfoot tubs are raised slightly off the ground, they tend to appear shallow and are easier to clean.
These tubs sit on a pedestal base. The base may be separate or molded together with the tub, but serves one purpose – to separate the tub from the floor and help you easily reposition it from time to time.
This style of tubs looks like a bowl with a brim that assumes a rectangular opening.
The defining feature is that they are only installed against the wall or in a corner.
You can move them around the bathroom to whichever location you want, it must be in a corner or very close to the wall.
This is probably the most comfortable and outstanding style of tubs out there.
One end of the slipper tub is raised high to form a backrest while the opposite end is raised just slightly to appear to complement the backrest.
This style sometimes features the properties of other styles of tubs such as tiny legs (like clawfoot tubs) or they may simply sit on a pedestal (like a pedestal tub).
None of the above
This style of tubs doesn’t feature any of the characteristics found in the above mentioned popular styles of tubs.
Basically, they don’t fall in any of the popular styles of tubs. Instead, they feature more radical styles, like simple hollow boxes, ovals, or even circles.
Now that your tub is freestanding and can be moved around the bathroom, how are you going to fill it with water?
Of course, you need a faucet specifically designed for this type of tub.
There are three styles of faucet designed to be used with freestanding tubs:
- Freestanding faucets
- Deck mount faucets
- Wall-mount faucets
Before even choosing any of these faucets, you need to determine the dimensions and design of your tub.
These two variables will help you to decide the right height of the faucet and where it should be positioned in the bathroom.
Consider answering these questions:
- Is the faucet going to be installed taller than your tub?
- Do we have armrests involved? Armrests may obstruct the faucet if they are on the same level
- Is the faucet long enough past the rim of the tub but not far off to hit your arms and limit your movements?
Whichever style of faucet you choose to install, ensure that you are easily able to control the flow of water in a sitting posture.
You should also be able to reach the handle of the faucet even when you are not in the tub.
Don’t position the tub or faucet in such a way that either of them requires you to climb over the faucet to soak in the tub – it can be a potential trip hazard.
Probably the most ignored aspect of faucets is the flow rate.
You will be shocked by the number of homeowners who don’t bother to check how fast the faucet is capable of filling the tub.
Yet the flow rate determines the amount of time you spend in the bathroom waiting to take a soak. The longer it takes to fill the tub, the more the time you will spend there, waiting!
The ideal flow rate of a faucet is 6 gpm (that’s 6 gallons of water a minute).
However, because tubs come in a range of sizes and capacities, this “ideal” flow rate is only suited for a tub with a 20-gallon capacity which would be filled in about 20 minutes.
Well, that one still sounds long, doesn’t it? Some buyers wouldn’t count three to buy a faucet capable of filling a large-capacity tub in less than five minutes!
Your choices will be limited to these three styles of faucets:
This is the perfect type of faucet for freestanding tubs.
They stand next to the bathtub. Some may require a support bracket attached to the tub’s drain or wall while others can stand on their own.
Deck mount faucets
These faucets are mounted on the tub itself or the deck, mainly the latter.
When installed on either of these locations, they are referred to as Roman Tub Fillers.
This is the best style of the faucet when space is a major hindrance.
You can install them on the wall and place your tub close to them to cut on the amount of wasted space between them and the tub.
You can decide to combine them with freestanding faucets, but they synch better with corner and Back-to-the-wall tubs.
How much does the freestanding tub of your choice cost you?
What is your budget like?
Freestanding tubs tend to be more expensive compared to built-in alternatives.
This can depend on the style of the tub you choose and the level of modification you want to do to your bathroom to accommodate the tub.
The average of the bathtub itself is somewhere between $200 and $5,000. This also depends on whether you want the luxury route or keep things basic and minimalistic.
If you opt for the garden tub, a larger type of freestanding tub, the cost of acquisition and installation can be a little higher, in the range of $900 and $5,000.
The cost of removing your old tub and installing the new replacement might need to be put into consideration as well, and it’s normally somewhere between $750 and $20,000.
The model of the tubs you’re dealing with can have a big influence on the overall cost:
|Removing the tub||$5 and $100|
|Dispose of Old Materials||$100 and $4,200|
|Fix & Prepare Surface||$300 and $800|
|Bathtub||$200 and $14,000|
|Surround||$500 and $2,000|
|New Faucets||$50 and $900|
|Install Plumbing||$400 and $1,900|
|Total||$750 and $20,000|
Unless you are a qualified plumber yourself, the task of installing a tub might require you to hire a qualified professional.
The cost of transporting the tub from the store to your home should be put into consideration. This is why you need a budget. A budget helps you to factor in everything and its influence on the total cost of having the tub up and running.
It also helps you prevent impulse buying that could lead you into overspending or buying a tub you don’t even need.
While the cost of the tub itself may be the biggest variable in your budget, it would be prudent if you considered other factors at play.
The factors include the condition of your existing tub and the level of work required in the bathroom to accommodate the new type of tub.
The material of construction can influence the cost of acquisition as well:
|Acrylic and fiberglass||between $400 and $1,700 (most popular); $18,000 (top end)|
|Cast iron||between $400 and $1,200 (most popular); $11,000 (top end)
|Stone-based||$400 and $2,000|
Related: Is It Bad To Eat In The Bathtub?
The type of freestanding tub you choose to add in your bathroom can make or break your bathroom.
The product of your choice can be influenced by an array of factors.
If you want to make good choices, remember to put into consideration the size, style, cost, and material of construction.