The Baths Buyers Guide
A long soak in the bath is the kind of thing we all dream about when we're having a particularly hard day at work. On a normal basis though, we've become a busy culture that doesn't have much time for the baths of old and we'd rather jump in the shower for a quick daily wash. But baths are far from going out of fashion any time soon, and even if they're only used a couple of times a month it’s great to have that option of having one. Showers are great for getting the job done, but nothing beats a long hot soak in soapy bath water with a good book in your hands.
If you're thinking about replacing your bath, you're completely updating your bathroom or you're sick of just having a shower and want to bring a bath back on the scene then this Baths Buyers Guide is for you. We'll cover everything you need to know before you make that big purchase.
Before you Begin…
You obviously can't just open a website, close your eyes and pick the first bath your finger lands on. Some research needs to be done before you can find the most suitable bath, which is probably why you're reading this in the first place so good job! Initially you're going to have to work out how much space you have available in your bathroom, and you also need to think about the shape too as that will determine what types of bath are available to you. When you're making measurements to find out how much space you have available, remember to measure the bathroom door too as you're going to have to get the bath through it in the first place. Finally, weight should also be a consideration. You can't order a stone bath if your bathroom is on the second floor, for example unless you want it to come crashing through the ceiling whilst you're watching Coronation Street. So don't start looking until you’ve taken accurate measurements, after which you can shop to your heart’s content.
Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees; your budget is your next consideration. Baths can start out cheaper than expected thanks to some popular budget ranges on the market, but they can also range up to thousands of pounds if you're looking for that extra luxury. You also need to consider the costs of getting the bath installed too, and if installing a new bath is part of the wider goal of doing a complete bathroom revamp then you also need to factor in those costs too. Retailers do have package deals that combine bathroom suites with a bath so you can pick up the lot in one go, so it’s definitely worth investigating that route.
One thing that people often forget to consider is how they actually use the bath. If you're a family that takes regular baths then chances are you're going to want something more durable that can withstand constant battering by kids. If you don't have many baths, preferring showers, but still want the option for a soak then a shower bath could be the best option. If you want a bath simply for a luxurious long soak then it may be worth investing in a stylish spa-like tub with all the bells and whistles, such as a whirlpool bath. You should also think about the style as a timeless design means you won't have to replace the bath for the long run.
A bath is a big investment. There’s no harm in taking your time to be absolutely sure you’ve made the right decision.
Types of Bath
There's not just one type of bath. You only need to look at Plumbworld's full range of baths to see what's available, but which one is the right one for you?
It's highly likely that an inset bath is going to be the main option for most people. Their big benefit is that they can fit into a large section of bathroom situations as they are flush fitted against a wall. You'll either have it so it spans the full length of the bathroom wall so only one side is showing - that can be covered with a bath panel – or you’ll have one end showing if your bathroom is on the larger side. You can also choose between single-ended, where the bath taps are at one end, or double ended, where the bath taps sit in the middle of the bath so you can use either side to rest your head. Single ended tends to the most popular option.
They're also incredibly flexible as they come in a huge variety of sizes as well as a number of different styles. A limit on space doesn't mean you can't have a bath, as baths that aren't full size exist. The other benefit is that you don't have to choose between a shower and bath too, as a shower can easily be fitted over an inset bath for you to enjoy whenever you wish.
Budget wise, inset baths are the cheapest of the bunch too.
Freestanding baths are the ultimate in luxury, but due to this they often command a higher price. There's no doubting the spa-like atmosphere they create though, so if you have the cash and space then a freestanding bath is an ideal purchase. They grandly sit apart from the walls of your bathroom, usually in the centre. These lavish centrepieces can also be raised on a platform or a set of ornate feet while freestanding taps can be incorporated to sit alongside the bath. They also come in a range of styles that stretch from contemporary to traditional Victorian style.
The downside is that the plumbing will have to be modified to allow the bath to be used in its central location, so you need to factor in the extra labour costs too.
For even more luxury, it's worth looking at a freestanding slipper bath too. These curve up at one end, giving additional back and shoulder support for that added spa-like feel.
Corner baths are exactly what it says on the tin – a bath that can slot neatly into one corner of your bathroom. While larger statement bathrooms benefit from them, you could have it raised on a small platform with steps up to it, they're space-efficient too. Their rounded shape deep slot can give the feeling of settling down into the hot tub and your local spa. Add jets to create an even more luxurious dip.
Shaped Shower Baths
If you don't have the space for a separate shower enclosure and bath then you'll probably want to put a shower above the bath. This is where l-shaped and p-shaped shower baths come in, which are also ideal for bathrooms that are more awkwardly shaped than your standard room. These allow for more space at the end of the bath so that you can get a little more space around the showering area in a similar way to the space you'd have in a shower enclosure. You can fit specially shaped shower screens around this area too so that it feels like a proper enclosure.
To find the best shower, take a look at our Showers Buyers Guide.
Your job isn’t done when you’ve bought the bath; you also need to think about the things that go with it. Inset baths, for example, will need a bath panel for the final touch, unless you want the underneath of the bath on show. There’s a range of styles and finishes available, but you obviously need to make sure it matches both the bath and the rest of your bathroom.
Bath panels are another option. You may use a shower curtain instead, but bath screens are more stylish and a less cumbersome option. Again, there are a range of styles available; such as folding bath screens, or simple sail shaped bath screens.
Things like bath wastes may be included with the bath, but you should check before purchase so that you don’t end up having the bath without the full means to install it properly. You will also need to find bath taps too, which range from modern bath mixers to two separate traditional hot and cold taps. If you’re buying a freestanding bath then wall mounted taps or freestanding taps are options too.