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Freestanding tubs versus built ­in: how to pick the one that’s right for you

Whether you are working on your master bath or revamping a gues bathroom, deciding between a freestanding tub or a built­in model can be difficult choice. Both options have tremendous benefits, as well as downfalls, depending on the look and functionality you want.

One of the mail benefits to a built­in tub is that they have a small footprint, This can be especially beneficial if you have a small bathroom and are trying to conserve as much space as possible. The allure to freestanding tubs, on the other hand, is that they make a serious statement, often commanding lots of space and attention.

Additionally, a built­in tub can come with a shower as well, providing dual-purpose bathing and showering options in one location. Freestanding tubs typically do not offer this feature, but can come with other fantastic benefits, such as headrests and trays.

If you are still not sure what option is best for you and for your home,consider the following list of questions that every homeowner should review prior to renovating their bathroom:

1. Who is the end user?
This is a question that takes into consideration who will ultimately be using the bathroom and the tub in particular. Is this a bathroom for children? A bathroom that elderly people will be frequenting? Is it for a master bath or for a guest bath? If multiple people will have access to the tub, you will need to take their needs into consideration. If it is just you that will be utilizing the space, then the sky is the limit as to the options available to you.

2. What aesthetic are you going for?
Do you just adore the look of a stand­alone tub set against a picture window or a brilliant tile backdrop? Do you enjoy the added space that a built­in tub offers? Ultimately you do have a preference, and that is something worth considering when making the decision for your bathroom update. Remember – this is a room that you will use each and every day – and likely multiple times a day. If you do not like the way that it looks and feels to you, then you will not be as happy being in the room. On the other hand, if you love the paint and the accessories and the tub and counters and tile work, then it will be a room that you enjoy spending time in and that makes you happy and relaxed.

3. Do you have any special needs or other considerations?
This is a loaded question, since it will mean differ things to each individual and their family. Do you have mobility issues that will prevent you from utilizing a tall, freestanding tub? If so, then a built­in tub and shower combo with a sealed door for easy access may be a superior choice. If you are renovating a family bathroom and have small children, you will likely want a
tub that will do double duty – both for you and for the kids. In this scenario, you may have better luck finding a tub with lower sides so that it is easier to help your little ones during bath time. No matter what your individual needs may be, they should definitely play a role in determining the tub style that is best.

4. How much space do you have available?
This comes as no surprise: you either have room to select a large, freestanding tub or you do not. If you are working in a small bathroom, it is best to opt for either a sleek built­in or a small freestanding tub with a slim profile so that you can make the most of limited square footage. On the other hand, if you have space to spare, you have the freedom to select a tub that is much wider, or even to place two tubs side by side – perhaps next to a fireplace – for added romance in the master bathroom.

5. What is your budget?
The cost associated with redoing a bathroom can make homeowners nervous, especially given the high price tag of many big­ticket items like sinks, tubs, and flooring. Even though you will likely be facing a sizeable out of pocket expense, it will pay dividends in the long run, since bathroom upgrades make for an incredible home value increase no matter where you live or what kind of home you live in. If done well and with timeless décor, a bathroom renovation can hold its value for years, making it a fantastic investment opportunity for any homeowner. Although there are certainly freestanding and built­in tub options that are equally cheap and equally pricey, you will likely end up paying more initially for a quality freestanding tub than you will for a standard built­in option.

6. Are you sprucing the bathroom up for yourself or for a potential buyer?
If you do not see yourself leaving your current home for the foreseeable future, you have the freedom to make the space completely unique to your style and preferences. If you want to spruce the bathroom up to sell, though, you will want to pay close attention to what trends are hottest at the time. Currently freestanding tubs are all the rage, making them a safe bet for any bathroom design or layout.