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6 Bathtub Materials for Every Design

Thinking about getting a tub? It isn’t only about the style but the material too…
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 28-08-2021 10:30am

1. Acrylic is light, versatile and can be moulded into endless shapes and sizes. They’re cheaper as they can be mass produced; they also retain heat so bath water stays warm for longer. Steer clear of ultracheap, flimsy designs that flex in the middle and aim for an 8mm thick acrylic. Look for good quality materials such as Lucite reinforced with fibreglass for extra strength and rigidity, or those with an extra-strong, stone resin interior (this gives the bath weight and has excellent thermal properties).

2. Stone resin or cast stone composite baths are pricier but more durable than acrylic and lighter than cast iron (some cast stone models are just a third of the weight of an equivalent cast iron tub); they also retain heat better. The stone-rich mix of resins and natural ground minerals (such as limestone or quartz) is poured into a single-skin mould and dimensions tend to be generous, with steeper sides. Try Iso-Enamel from The Albion Bath Company and Quarrycast from Victoria + Albert.

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Freestanding Paola bath, Credit: The Albion Bath Company

3. Enamelled steel baths are light yet strong with slim-rimmed silhouettes offering more lying area inside. A thin layer of glazed enamel (around 3.5mm) is fused on to the steel surface to create a tough, glossy surface which is difficult to scratch or damage and keeps its shine and colour (hundreds of hues are available, including matt). It’s fully recyclable, hygienic and hard as glass. Try Bette and Kaldewei.

4. Cast-iron baths are strong, solid and stainresistant but can be heavy – up to 200kg in some cases – so you need to consider how the bath will get on site and if floors need to be reinforced. Several layers of enamel are fused inside the bath for a glossy finish while the outside can be polished, primed ready for painting or clad with metals such as copper or brass. This style of bath tends to come in a traditional offering of vintage shapes such as roll-tops, slippers, Bateau and boat baths.

Brunel cast iron bath, Credit: Aston Matthews

5. Wood baths are unique, tactile and earthy but are also now durable and resistant to water damage if treated with a good sealant. William Garvey’s laminated teak baths come in smooth, elliptical shapes, sleek rectangles and deep Japanese-style plunge pools. Look out for new materials in cork and larchwood for a style statement design.

Oruro bath, Credit: West One Bathrooms

6. Stone baths are bespoke, luxurious and expensive. The average stone bath from Lapicida costs around £25,000 and can peak at £1m for a rare rock crystal design. Stone baths weigh around 1,000kg – the lightest Lapicida offer is 350kg – so standard floors aren’t strong enough and would need reinforcement. All natural stone needs sealing and cleaning with a special detergent.

Credit: Lara Sargent (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 239, March 2016. Prices mentioned are at the time of publication 

Also read:
Expert's Corner: Bathtubs
Should You Get a Freestanding Bath

Tell us:
Do you have a freestanding or fitted bath in your home?

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The UK's No.1 kitchen, bathroom and bedroom magazine dedicated to real-life luxury homes and turning your design dreams into reality.

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