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Bathrooms and bath tubs

Bathrooms and bath tubs

There are many variations of the "rectangular" tub - standard, double - ended, tapered, or slipper. Although the current trend is to position them anywhere but in a corner, standard and tapered tubs are popular for small bathrooms since they fit neatly against walls to save space.

When looking for a bathroom tub, it is worth trying out several since they vary considerably in comfort and ease of use. The tub's exterior shape may be angular but, when testing them, rest against the end of the tub or run your hand around its interior: gently sloped, rounded ends will support your back and shoulders when you are fully reclined. Other features to consider are whether there are any corners that could cause injury if knocked against, and how warm or cold the surface is to the touch.

Bath materials

Bathtubs are made of many different materials but acrylic, glass fibre, and enamelled steel are widely available and reasonably priced. Acrylic and glass-fibre tubs are lightweight and warm to the touch. Those formed from acrylic sheet range in thickness from 3mm Min) to 8mm (Mn). Opt for the thickest available since these offer greater rigidity. Glass fibre, which is more rigid than acrylic, is often reinforced for extra rigidity. It is widely used for inexpensive reproduction tubs whose exteriors can be painted. Enameled steel bathtubs are strong and hardwearing, but the surface is prone to chipping if heavy or hard items are dropped onto it.

Selecting fittings

Most tubs for the bathroom come pre-drilled to take specific tap configurations; others can be drilled to order, Some roll top and slipper tubs require wall or floor- mounted taps that are set to the side or at the end of the tub. Pipework supplying floor-mounted taps is usually visible, so brass or chrome shrouds will be necessary to conceal them. Plugs and chains add character but are uncomfortable to sit on and are often pulled out inadvertently. You may prefer to exchange authenticity for a pop-up waste system.

Specialist tubs are aimed at those who appreciate a long, relaxing soak to eliminate the stresses of modern living. To truly benefit from your tub, it should be spacious enough to hold a large volume of water to support your body weight. Hydrotherapy systems in the bathroom use water to treat strained muscles or rheumatic conditions, by forcing pressurised air or water, or both, against the body to stimulate the circulation. Spa baths have several small body jets that pump a narrow stream of air into the bath water for a soft foaming effect, but these have none of the force of a whirlpool hydromassage system that directs the water to specific areas.

Materials

Interesting and unusual materials are more frequently being chosen for the specialist end of the market, with tubs constructed from materials as diverse as laminated glass and stainless steel for contemporary bathrooms, to wood and stone for their basic, back-to-nature appeal. Most specialist baths are custom - made and therefore expensive. They may require specialist installation, especially if constructed from stone or marble, where their considerable weight may demand that floor joists are strengthened. The same applies to multi-occupancy mini-pools. Wood has been used for centuries in Japan to make bathtubs or from. Cedar which releases a delicious fragrance when damp teak and, more recently, marine ply are available, but the very nature of wood means there is always a chance that joints could weaken and start to leak. Install a waterproof floor with a drain in case of any such problems.

Care

When selecting your tub, bear in mind that several specialists and hydrotherapy tub manufacturers warn against the use ot aromatherapy bath oils and bath foams in their tubs because they can damage the jet mechanisms or discolour the tub surface. As an alternative to fragrant bath oils, place an aromatherapy burner or scented candles nearby.