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Although showers are arguably the best way to quickly get clean, nothing beats a hot soak in a great tub! Bathtubs are more than a place to scrub. They’re a way to relax and unwind from the pressures of life. And, recently, they have become the “go-to” statement piece for master bathrooms across the world. Bathtub manufacturers understand the appeal and have responded by developing a variety of styles, features and shapes to match virtually every style and budget.

Should you Fix or Replace your Tub?

As plumbers, we routinely work with bathtubs that have seen better days. When finances are tight, homeowners tend to prefer simple fixes to replacement. And we work with such customers to make sure their bathtubs perform the most important jobs anyone can demand of their bathtub –hold water and not leak. But when it comes time to replace the tub, we have a few ideas.

Tub Types

Just like people, bathtubs have personalities. Some are freestanding, such as claw foot antique style. With a large footprint, these beauties are better for bathrooms that have a large footprint, whereas alcove, drop-in, and corner tubs can be squeezed into smaller spots, resting against walls and seamlessly integrating into more traditional or modern spaces.

  • Freestanding. These tubs feature a sculpted bathing bowl on a solid base or a cradle.
  • AlcoveTubs. Combination Tub-shower units are the most affordable tub type because these multi-taskers are designed to maximize space. The unfinished end is usually sandwiched between an exterior wall along with a built-in storage cabinet. Most people choose a wall-mounted showerhead to complete the package.
  • Clawfoot tubs evoke images of a grand Elizabethan era of soaking. The signature legs support tubs that are especially deep. “Slipper”-type designs feature a high back for supporting the head and neck.
  • Corner tubs are variations on alcove and drop-in designs. Their large, square proportions are perfect for people who like to bathe their young kids together, because they have plenty of room.
  • Drop-in tubs are shells which are fit into framed enclosures finished to match the style of bathroom cabinets or tile. Enclosures are separate items, so consider that when setting your project budget.
  • Undermount Tubs are drop-in unis destined for floor-level installation. Flooring, such as tile, should cover the lip of the tub.
  • Whirlpools are decidedly less popular than they were in the 1970’s, but are making a comeback. Part of the reason for the resurgence is the plethora of new features like Chroma therapy – underwater LED lights which change colors, music, digital controls and ADA compliance.

Construction Costs for Tubs

Made from many different types of materials, bathtub prices are all over the map, depending on the features you choose. But plan to spend at least $700 on the materials. If you add lots of extras, you could spend up to $18,000!

Acrylic and fiberglass

In general, these are the least expensive options, readily available at home improvement centers, available in a wide selection of colors and prices.


Enamel finish, like those offered in expensive cookware, this option is available in many cool colors. Heavy cast-iron is a great heat sink, keeping bath water warm for long periods. Usually in the mid-price range, but you’ll need a couple of stout deliverymen.


For the ultimate in fine bathroom couture, opt for this finish. If you go this route, you’ll be trying to figure out how to invite people to dinner to show off the purchase. That is, if you can still afford to have people over for dinner after shelling out six figures for a bathtub.

Enameled steel

Moderately priced tubs with a well-deserved reputation for toughness that includes resistance to scratching and staining. Color choices are usually limited.

Stone and wood

Believe it or not, you can order a hand-carved carved tub, built from high-end stones such as travertine or limestone. Other options include laminated walnut, pear, mahogany and other types of wood. Most of these finishes work best with freestanding tubs to make the most of the expense.

Easy Does it

If your budget can’t handle the latest features, don’t despair. Some of your favorite childhood bathing experiences probably happened while you were taking a bath in an ordinary porcelain tub.

About JB Plumbing

If you need assistance repairing or installing a new tub or anything related to your plumbing, in and around the San Gabriel Valley, give us a call. With us, you can expect upfront pricing; fast, free estimates; licensed, bonded and insured plumbers who are neat, polite, and well trained. We use state-of-the-art tools and equipment and are proud of the fact our services are free from hidden costs like travel charges. If you contact JB Plumbing today, 24/7, you will speak directly to a plumber instead of a telephone answering service. At JB Plumbing, we are experts in residential and commercial plumbing as well as construction. Call today to schedule an appointment. (909) 593-2194.

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