Updated: Oct 12, 2016

Freestanding Bathtub Review:

Homeowners that are remodeling master bathrooms are suddenly choosing freestanding bathtubs at an ever increasing rate. If you are looking for that modern update yet keeping a classic feel, then definitely go with a freestanding tub. Our team of contractors are installing one of these a week and most homeowners are totally satisfied with the design and look they give in their new bathrooms. In order to get one of these installed, you will need to consider a few issues that may arise during the placement or installation process. You'll want an install team that is familiar with plumbing and how the tub attaches to the floor of the bathroom. Unlike a clawfoot tub that sits above the flooring, a freestanding tub will rest right on the floors surface. Yes, they are beautiful to look at, but a bit tricky to get just right with placement and plumbing. Down below we will go into a brief buying guide and include pricing and installation costs as well. The good news is that freestanding tubs are not going out of style anytime soon, so as a homeowner you can be confident that your choice in tubs will last a long time.


Choosing a Freestanding Bathtub - First things first - size does matter here. Measure the bathroom that it will eventually go into as well as any hallways or doorways that it will be carried through in order to get to that bathroom. Many of the tubs we carry and install range in size from 59 inches up to 71 inches. Some are extra wide or extra long, just depends on what the customer wants (and has room for). The deep soaking tubs are very popular - they require a lot of water to fill so keep that in mind. Material - Here is where things get interesting and your choices are many. You'll find freestanding tubs made of acrylic, stone, copper, cast iron, resin, bronze, and stainless steel. Acrylic tubs are top sellers because they are lightweight and don't require a lot of care - also they are cheaper than the other types. Copper freestanding bath tubs are incredibly beautiful (and expensive) and add a touch of class to your bathroom decor. Want something heavy - go with the cast iron freestanding tubs. They are sturdy and you'll see them installed sometimes on pedestals. Stone tubs will turn any bathroom into a modern masterpiece, but keep in mind how heavy they are (often made from granite, travertine, or marble) and make sure your bathroom floor offers enough support. Japanese soaking tubs are deeper than the average freestanding tub and great for those that want to submerge there entire body below the water level. Talk with your contractor before buying any tub so that they can walk you through the pros and cons to each type. The one thing that will surely come up in the conversation is 'what type of faucet are you considering?'. Unlike the older built in bathtubs with surrounds, your new freestanding tub will not have all the plumbing hidden. Some homeowners have a hard time visualizing this, but checking out websites like Houzz.com or Signaturehardware.com will give you a good idea of how the faucets attach to the tubs. Some freestanding bathtubs come pre-drilled with faucet holes while others have no holes. In that case, you'll need a floor mount freestanding tub filler or one that mounts from the wall in your bathroom. There are still options, but you'll pay extra to have the plumbing rerouted. See the picture of the tub filler down below that we recently installed. Great addition to any freestanding tub and looks elegant. Where to Buy - With shopping online so easy, it's not a bad idea to look around on the Internet and see what style you prefer. There are dozens of high quality bathroom related websites out there. We prefer ones like Build.com, Signaturehardware.com, and Amazon.com. You may think that shipping a large bathtub is a hassle, but most online tub resellers we found ship them for free and the delivery can be right into your house if you want. The acrylic tubs are not that heavy (100 to 150 pounds), so 2 guys can easily lift it from say your garage to an upstairs bathroom. We did not see much of a selection at Home Depot or Lowe's but you will find 5 to 10 tubs in showrooms for bathroom specific stores. We have one in our area called Ferguson and they carry a decent variety but their prices are very high. You can browse the best selling freestanding bathtubs here. Top brands are Kohler, Ariel, AKDY, Wyndham, Duravit, Porcher, and Aquatica. Prices range from $1300 up to $7000+. We found virtually the same tubs online that sell in high end stores for about 50% off. You just have to look.

Best Freestanding Bathtub:

RECOMMENDED - We really like the Wyndham Collection WC-BT1002-68 Soho 68" freestanding tub made of acrylic. The adjustable base makes for accurate leveling and solid stability. We like the acrylic construction since it's easy to maneuver and handle yet it still is strong. Acrylic tubs tend to be more comfortable than the steel/enamel tubs and they are warmer to the touch. Another nice feature is that this particular model is quite deep so full immersion is possible. The tub weighs 115 pounds and holds up to 60 gallons of water. The one caveat we tell all customers on a tub like this is that it may require accessing the plumbing from beneath the floor of the tub. Yes, that means you may have to open up the ceiling of the room directly below the bathtub to get access so you can easily install the p-trap and drain. If you check out the photos below of the install, you'll see the one picture where there is tile floor and nothing else except the plumbing sticking up from the floor. You can understand once that all is connected and the tub is lowered to the floor surface, there is no visibility to see that all connnections are solid. This requires cutting a small hole in the ceiling of the first floor to visually see that the plumbing is not leaking and solidly connected. Not all installs require this, but be prepared if your plumber or contractor wants this done. The Wyndham Collection runs about $1400 for the tubs. If you want brushed nickel parts instead of chrome, it will cost an additional $100.


Installing a Freestanding Bathtub:

Buying the tub is the easy part. As you can see by the photos below, the process from start to finish on installation is tough. Firstly, you need to have all your measurements exact since the tub will get installed right onto the flooring surface. As you can see in the first photo, the only thing sticking up from the tiled floor is the drain pipe and the plumbing hoses for the tub filler. You need to have all these things placed exactly right since the tub will come down on top of the floor and there is no changing drain position, etc. after the floors are in. Make sure you have dry fitted the tub on the pipes and that you double checked the tub filler location on the floor. We have seen some installs where the plumber put the tub filler too far away from the tub and it spilled out onto the floor. Once you have all the plumbing established you can go ahead and install the flooring. In our case below it was porcelain tile and it went smoothly. The tub was lifted up to the second floor bathroom and lowered into position (we even took a template). All the plumbing was perfectly setup so we just needed to dry fit it once and test some water flowing through the drain. You can see in the pictures how we added insulation through the bottom of the tub. The acrylic tubs are very hollow and allow you to push up lots of insulation to fill the 'dead space'. By adding insulation you will allow the user of the tub to keep the water warmer for a longer period of time. Without it the tub will cool off much faster. Total install time was roughly 3 hours. Keep in mind there was time involved just to move the plumbing/pipes under the floor before we even started installing the tile floors. Install would be about $500 to $700 depending on the plumbing work required to setup pipes below the flooring. Homeowners always think this is easier than it usually turns out to be. When remodeling bathrooms, the plumbing and electrical work can often add up quickly as it's much harder to move things around after the rest of the structure was filled in around them. New construction makes it easier to place pipes without much of a hassle. Stay organized and talk with your contractor or plumber to make sure all placements of drains and tub fillers is exactly the way you want. As per the photos, it's not easy changing any of those factors once they are done.

Tile floor in. Drain for tub in place and the plumbing connection for the tub filler is ready.

In order to dry fit the tub with plumbing, we raised it off the ground with 2 x 4's.

Here we are connecting pipes and checking that the plumbing is ok.

Underside of the tub. They are pretty hollow with 4 leveling feet and 2 support panels. Drain is ready.

Silicone going on the support panels. Notice the insulation we put into the open spaces.

To keep the tub well insulated, we put in half a role of insulation ($10) - money well spent.

Dry fitting the tub is a no brainer. Get it up on support boards so you can see what you are doing before the final install.

We did a few tests with water to see how the drain was working. No leaks!

Final silicone added. The tub was solidly glued to the tile flooring.

Beautiful tub filler - cost about $650. Comes with spray handle as well. This one was bolted to the tile floor.