A standard tub is five feet long, 14 inches high, and three feet wide. Various types of bathtubs are commonly made in this size to meet remodeling requirements. The top three—steel, cast iron, and acrylic—are among the more popular kinds currently in production and available to homeowners today.
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Steel tubs are generally formed by pressing and drawing them in forms to the desired shape. The tub is then sprayed with an enamel coating and fired in a furnace. Steel tubs outwardly appear much like enameled cast-iron tubs. Steel, however, flexes more than cast iron and as a result the enamel can chip more easily, but they are lighter.
Cast-irontubs are formed by pouring molten iron into molds. When cool, the iron is smoothed and then an enamel powder is sprayed on and fired to provide the finished layer. Because iron is heavier and more rigid than steel, it resists chipping. The downside is that cast iron tubs are heavy and difficult to maneuver, particularly into a second story bath.
Cast polymers include such standbys as cultured marble, cultured onyx, and cultured granite. They are formed by molding a mixture of ground marble, onyx, or granite and polyester resin into the desired shape, such as a tub, sink, or shower. Because these products can be made in small shops anywhere in the country, quality can vary significantly. Check that they meet quality standards specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The best way to choose which bathtub is right for you is to see which is within your price range and how it flows with the rest of your bathroom design. Having a steel bathtub with an earthy bathroom might not make as much sense, versus an acrylic bathtub or a cast iron. Shop at the store for more than one option and then talk to professionals about installation before you pick the right one you’ll soak in.