BY KERRY SLAVENS
Free-standing tubs have an elegance of form that never goes out of style. Not only are they coveted for their comfort, their sculptural quality makes a bold statement in any bathroom with the space to accommodate them.
On that note, before you buy a free-standing tub, carefully measure the area where it will stand. Don’t forget to measure doorways, halls and stairwells too. It’s also important to make sure your hot-water tank is big enough, your plumbing is appropriate and that your floors can hold the tub’s weight. Check with a builder or structural engineer to ensure you don’t need additional reinforcement.
Free-standing tubs come in everything from cast iron to stone, wood, acrylic, glass and resin. You may think you have to go for cast iron if you love the antique claw-foot look, but Victoria & Albert tubs, such as the Shropshire, are cast from a patented solid-surface composite, so you get the look you like without the weight.
Lastly, do try your tub before you buy. Don’t be afraid to climb in and make sure it fits your body’s contours, because these tubs shouldn’t just look good — they should also feel amazing.
The Right Faucet for Your Free-standing Tub
There are three styles of tub fillers for free-standing tubs: floor-mount, wall-mount and deck-mount. Choosing which to install really depends on the tub design and your use of the tub.
Make sure your hot-water supply will fill your chosen tub relatively quickly. Also, consider the spout length and placement. You want the water to fall appropriately in the tub, but you don’t want the spout to stick out too far. Lastly, if you plan to indulge in two-person soaks, you may want to consider locating the faucet in the middle of the tub rather than on the end.
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Deck-mount tub fillers are the least popular choice, mainly because they require the tub to be drilled to accommodate the fixtures. They do, however, offer a cleaner look than the floor-mount models because the plumbing and pipes are hidden. Try to select a tub with pre-drilled faucet and tap holes because not all tubs can be drilled without causing damage or voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. (Kohler Loure in polished chrome)
Floor-mount tub fillers tend to be bold style statements in and of themselves, drawing the eye to the bathtub. They won’t take up space on your tub or require drilling as deck-mounted fixtures do. They come in a range of styles, from contemporary to antique-look, and many come with separate spray attachments. (Kohler Margaux in brushed nickel)
Wall-mount tub fillers mount on the bathroom wall or on a faux or pony wall. They come in a range of style options, from the sleek waterfall design to the antique chrome presentation. Be sure to consult with your designer or contractor to ensure the spout is long enough to reach the tub and to avoid drips or oversplash. (Riobel Salomé in chrome and Victoria & Albert Staffordshire in chrome)