Freestanding vs Sunken Bathtubs - Which one is better for you

Freestanding vs Sunken Bathtubs: Which one is better for you?

Bathtubs are a wonderful addition to any bathroom, offering the ability to relax, unwind and loosen up sore muscles. Bathtubs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, configurations and fashions. The two most popular types are freestanding tubs and sunken tubs. Both installation types have their cons and pros that can help one make an informed decision while picking a bathtub.

When it comes to the bathrooms in your home, you have a lot of choices to pick from. You can opt for a walk-in shower and a separate bathtub in the master bathrooms. Many choose freestanding tubs that can be a great addition to the bathroom, while many go with sunken bathtubs.

Freestanding bathtubs are incredibly desirable, no matter the design. They have been very popular in recent years because they are specifically designed for people who enjoy a bath. Their counterpart – built-in or sunken bathtubs have a practical advantage in small spaces. They fit flawlessly in most bathrooms and are quite easy to use and clean.

We have compiled a thorough list of the advantages and disadvantages of both freestanding and sunken bathtubs. These pros and cons will help you decide which bathtub you should have in your home, considering your space and bathroom design.

Freestanding Bathtubs

A freestanding tub is a bathtub that has been finished on all sides and is able to stand on its own. They are more like furniture rather than a bathroom fixture, although they function the same as built-in tubs.

The beautiful freestanding bathtubs are a famous bathroom remodeling trend. They are extremely beautiful, very chic and attention-grabbing. But they do demand a bit of space – imagine a gorgeous claw-footed bathtub royally sitting in your bath space.

Freestanading Stone bathtub vs sunken Bathtub
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Black Freestanding Bathtub for luxury Bathrooms
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Advantages of Freestanding Bathtubs

There are plenty of benefits of investing in a stunning freestanding bathtub, which looks majestic in a big spacious bathroom.

Freestanding natural stone bathtub
  1. A freestanding tub can fit any style with a multitude of variability – from the vintage claw-foot to a modern egg shape. They don’t need walls or tiles to fit into, which offers a creative advantage.
  2. The unique aesthetic beauty of the freestanding tubs is why people pick them for their bathroom. Its beautiful look makes a style statement that is often linked with luxury.
  3. Unlike sunken bathtubs, a freestanding tub is easy to install. You don’t need a decorator and a contractor to install this bathtub, just a plumber. And you can enjoy soothing bath times.
  4. When it comes to looks, a freestanding design element will really let you express your personal taste, whether you pick a dreamy claw-footed vintage style or an ultra-sleek contemporary freestanding tub.
  5. This type of bathtub allows you to use your space creatively as you can place it wherever you want. By the window, under a skylight – the choice is yours. The option of placement is liberty that you do not have with built-in tubs.
  6. These bathtubs can take any design or material you want, within reason of course, and become a focal point of your bathroom as a sculptural piece of art.
  7. Apart from adding a certain wow-factor to your bathroom, freestanding tubs allow you to get creative with your tiles. You can go abstract, monochrome or polychromatic – depends on your style preference.
  8. Freestanding tubs are easy to clean and maintain as they are integrated and tiled into the floor which propel you to clean and maintain its surroundings.
  9. Another big benefit of freestanding baths is that they can be easily replaced, without disrupting your entire bathroom space. There is no dismantling or reframing when you want to replace your bathtub.
  10. If you want to transform your bathroom into a luxurious and relaxing spa-like retreat, a freestanding bathtub is a way to go. They come in a variety of designs and shapes, catering to your needs and the essence of bathroom décor. Despite its style, you can always find one to complement your space and make a style statement.
  11. There is no color restraint when it comes to freestanding tubs. Although most people prefer white-colored tubs, black, grey, blue, ivory, metallic shades, and many other colors are quite popular.
  12. There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes for freestanding tubs. They come in countless dimensions mostly oval or rectangular but their exterior style can make a brilliant statement.

Disadvantages of Freestanding Bathtubs

Disadvantages of Freestanding Bathtubs

While freestanding tubs have many pros, there are a few cons to them too. Before getting a freestanding bathtub for your home, you must understand its disadvantages as well.

  1. Freestanding bathtubs are beautiful and make a style statement, but they are generally more expensive than sunken tubs, even when installation is considered. But even then, the cost works in their favor as they are more complex to construct and have elegant designs.
  2. Freestanding tubs can be very heavy, often requiring a reinforced force. Fiberglass models weigh less, but they are less common and can be way more expensive.
  3. If you want to combine a shower with a tub, freestanding tubs are not the way to go. You can have a shower mounted on a freestanding tub, but it will have uncovered plumbing which will blemish the setting. Also, you will need a wrap-around curtain.
  4. There is no accessible storage on freestanding tubs, as there is no ledge to put your shampoo or your candles. But, this issue can be eradicated with a rolling caddie.
  5. Although these beauties are incredibly desirable, getting a suitably sized freestanding bathtub is very difficult. Some are way too tall to lean over the edge, some are way too small for a relaxing bath time – but a bit of browsing can help you find the perfect bathtub.
  6. A freestanding tub becomes pointless if you have children as it can be difficult to bathe them in deep tubs. So, these tubs become highly optional and not suitable for everyone.

Sunken Bathtubs

Unlike freestanding bathtubs, sunken tubs are not that as elegant as we would like them to be, but they are as practical as they come. The sunken tub continues to be a popular pick of many people due to its practicality and sensibility.

Removing the traditional structure of the bathtub above the floor, sunken tubs essentially become part of the floor. They can be built with steps climbing down to them, just like classic bathhouse tubs.

Freestanding vs Sunken Bathtubs: Which one is better for you - 2
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Freestanding vs Sunken Bathtubs: Which one is better for you -3
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Advantages of Sunken Bathtubs

Sunken bathtubs are gaining immense popularity owing to an amazing, seamless aesthetic and opportunities for more intricate geometric designing and architecture within the bathroom space.

  1. Regardless of the increasing availability of cheaper freestanding tubs, sunken tubs are still the more affordable option for many. Much of the expense depends on the bathroom design and the procedure of installing a sunken tub.
  2. Sunken bathtubs are designed to save space in your bathroom. They become a part of the floor and therefore are tucked out of the way. Sunken tubs are more practical, especially if you have a small bathroom.
  3. As sunken tubs are mounted flush into the floor, their position provides plenty of storage options. For instance, shelves can be mounted on the walls beside the tub for bath and shower products. In fact, if you have a big bathroom, you will be able to use the platform on which your sunken tub rests for keeping your bath accessories.
  4. Plumbing for freestanding tubs can be complex and messy with piping running around, but many bathrooms will have plumbing for sunken tubs already installed. Moreover, with the sunken tubs, the plumbing is tucked away and out of sight so it doesn’t ruin your bathroom aesthetic.
  5. Sunken tubs are smaller, with fewer cracks and crevices to clean within. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the outside and the bottom of the tub, only the inside.
  6. This type of bathtub is very popular with interior designers. A lot of them are quite skilled at coming u with various design configurations to help your tub blend in with the decor of the bathroom flawlessly.
  7. Typically, a sunken bathtub is a rather shallow tub with only the rim and inner part of the tub exposed, ensuring a neat, clean look for your bathroom.
  8. Although a majestic sunken bathtub requires a bigger bathroom, there are variants like the corner tub and alcove tub that can be fitted in smaller bathrooms too.
  9. Given how beautifully they become a part of the floor, sunken tubs can add a sense of luxury to any bathroom. With a huge variety and customization options, these bathtubs can add an amazing level of aesthetic appeal to your bathroom design.
  10. Sunken baths offer ease of access compared to conventional bathtubs. Depending on the available space, these baths can be made with slightly slanted access or with steps included in them.
  11. To prevent safety risks, you can always get a bit creative with your sunken bathtub. Choosing a different flooring material for the area where the tub is built-in will create a visual distinction. Not only that, but it will also turn the tub into a destination of sorts within the bathroom.
  12. Moreover, if you want long, hot baths, sunken bathtubs are better than freestanding baths. The insulation added to the flooring ensures that water will remain warm for longer durations.

Disadvantages of Sunken Bathtubs

Sunken Bathtubs Advantages and Disadvantages
Image: homesoftherich

While sunken bathtubs provide a certain aesthetic appeal to your bathroom space, they are a major tripping hazard. Then there is the flexibility and installation issue.

  1. Unlike freestanding tubs, the placement of sunken tubs is not as flexible. Once they are installed, they will remain there unless you decide to uproot the fixture and put it somewhere else in the bathroom.
  2. The sunken tub is flawlessly integrated into the floor, making it almost invisible and creates a safety hazard for some, especially children. You can add night lights to its edges, but that will add up to extra expense.
  3. The creativity in choosing sunken bathtubs is far less than with freestanding tubs. Besides, you must rely on their surround for their style and unique look.
  4. Of course sunken tubs are cheaper than freestanding baths, but their installation can be very cumbersome and take quite longer than their counterparts. Besides, they need sealing, mounting, and often the creation of a surround.
  5. As sunken bathtubs are a built-in fixture, it is much more difficult to remove, replace and move when you want to renovate. So if you are not looking for long-term commitments, sunken tubs are not for you.
  6. The look of sunken tubs is outshined by that of the freestanding tubs. Even the most stylish built-ins are less attractive than a good freestanding tub.

Which one is better for you?

Freestanding vs Sunken Bathtubs What should you choose
Image: homesoftherich

You can opt for a vintage, claw-footed bathtub or choose an integrated option such as a sunken bathtub. But the question is which one of these installation types your bathroom space supports?

The detailed advantages and disadvantages of both freestanding and sunken bathtubs should be enough to help you make an informed decision.

Freestanding bathtubs are considered to be more luxurious, especially because older freestanding baths, often called soaker baths, tended to be long and deep for people to completely immerse themselves in the water. But nowadays, both freestanding and sunken baths are long and deep, so either option can provide you a soothing bath.

If you think that the pros of a freestanding bathtub outweigh its disadvantages, then you should go ahead and add one to your bathroom. But if you are leaning a bit toward sunken baths or as some would call them insert tubs, they would surely make a great addition to your space; just compare the advantages and disadvantages before going forward.

Regardless of whether you pick a freestanding bathtub or a sunken one, there are many quality options that will meet your needs. But first, you must consider their benefits and disadvantages to know which one would fit right in your space and allow you a relaxing bath time.

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