Take it from the Tub: Choosing Between a Freestanding or Built-in Tub


One of the most important remodeling decisions you’ll make for your bathroom is whether to opt for a freestanding tub or a built-in one. Both options offer unique benefits and considerations, so it’s essential to weigh your priorities and preferences before making a decision. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each to help you choose the perfect tub for your bathroom remodel.

The Benefits of a Built-in Tub

1. Space-Saving Design:

Built-in tub/shower combinations are ideal for bathrooms with limited space. By combining the tub and shower into one unit that sits flush against your wall, you can maximize floor space for a streamlined look and feel.

2. Seamless Integration:

Built-in tubs seamlessly blend with the surrounding walls and fixtures, creating a cohesive and integrated aesthetic. This makes them an excellent choice for bathrooms with a modern or minimalist design. As an added bonus, most bathrooms are already set up with appropriate plumbing for a built-in tub.

3. Customization Options:

With built-in tub/shower units, you have the flexibility to customize the design to suit your preferences. Choose from a variety of materials, finishes, and styles to create a look that complements your overall bathroom design.

4. Intuitive Storage Options:

Since built-in tubs sit flush against walls, it’s easy to add shelving to the interior or exterior of the tub. Many tubs offer ledges wide enough for storage, too–and some are designed with pre-built shelves and cubbies for bath products.

The Limitations of a Built-in Tub

1. Ordinary Aesthetics:

While built-in tub/shower combinations are inherently practical and space-saving, they do not offer the unique, spa-like aesthetic of freestanding tubs. Still, with careful selection and customization, they can be both functional and beautiful.

2. Installation Complexity:

Installing a built-in tub/shower unit typically requires more extensive remodeling work, including plumbing and wall modifications. This can result in higher installation costs and longer project timelines.

The Benefits of a Freestanding Tub

1. Versatile Design:

Freestanding tubs offer more design versatility and can serve as a focal point in your bathroom. With a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles available, you can find the perfect freestanding tub to complement your bathroom decor–or define it.

2. Easy Installation:

Unlike built-in tub/shower units, freestanding tubs require less complex installation and can often be placed anywhere in the bathroom with access to plumbing–or, if ultimate versatility is your aim, plumbing can be added. This makes them a more straightforward option for remodeling projects.

3. Luxurious Aesthetic:

Freestanding tubs exude luxury and elegance, adding a touch of sophistication to any bathroom. Whether you prefer a classic clawfoot tub or a modern pedestal design, a freestanding tub can elevate the overall look and feel of your space.

The Limitations of a Freestanding Tub

1. Space Requirements:

Freestanding tubs typically require more floor space compared to built-in units, making them less suitable for small bathrooms. Before choosing a freestanding tub, consider whether you have enough space to accommodate the tub and allow for comfortable movement around it.

Additionally, it can be more difficult to combine a shower with a freestanding tub–which may result in the need for a separate, freestanding shower.

2. Cleaning Challenges:

Freestanding tubs may be more challenging to clean and maintain, especially if they have intricate designs or hard-to-reach areas. Proper care and maintenance are essential to keep your freestanding tub looking pristine over time.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, the decision between a freestanding or built-in tub/shower comes down to your personal preferences and space constraints. At McDermott Remodeling, we can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and guide you through the remodeling process to create the bathroom of your dreams. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start planning your bathroom remodel!

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