Photo Courtesy of Build.com
A corner bathtub is a convenient way to maximize the use of space in your bathroom (assuming you have the space). It can be tucked neatly away in what would be an otherwise unused piece of real estate, freeing up other wall space for things like vanities, showers and sinks.
If the thought of a corner tub conjures up visions of five-sided, triangular units you're in the majority. A lot of these products fit that description. But if you're looking for something a bit different there are alternatives.
Let's take a closer look at what's available.
Pretty straightforward - cast iron is a solid, heavy tub material that's coated with porcelain. Larger triangular tubs made from cast iron will be pretty heavy and getting one into place could be a chore. However they're durable and retain heat well.
Acrylic is a form of plastic and its benefits include light weight and high gloss. The acrylic material is actually a surface coating on top of a fiberglass backing. Acrylic is more prone to scratching and because of its lighter structure, can tend to flex if not properly supported. Pay attention to installation guidelines for proper support recommendations.
Composites include the likes of Vikrell, a material found in Sterling tub products as well as EcoMarmor™, used in some Aquatic tubs. Vikrell is a plastic composite material that differs from typical acrylic materials in that its color goes "through" the material. Small chips won't reveal a fiberglass or discolored backing.
EcoMarmor is a stone composite, usually of crushed marble and/or granite, combined with some inert fillers and a resin binder and then coated with an enamel. It's advertised to have good heat retention qualities.
Steel is more rigid then the plastic composites but lighter than cast iron. It's covered with an enamel coating which gives the tub it's glossy protective surface.
Corner bathtubs are also available in several functional categories, namely soakers, whirlpool and air baths. Be advised however that you might not be able to get the type of functionality you want with any type of material. For example, Kohler makes a cast iron corner tub but you'll have to be happy with a soaker style. There's no jetted configuration with that particular model.
Photo Courtesy of ATG StoresLots of corner tubs have a triangular outside shape more or less. They may have three to five sides with the tub's basin being triangular or some form of oval inside that periphery. There are variations on this theme but in general, you'll see a lot of these.
If that shape works for you, great. However if you're looking for something different, there is another option. That option is a rectangular tub, or something pretty close to it, that's made to tuck into the corner of your bathroom. It's also known as a "two sided tub" or "double apron tub" because two of the sides are visible. The opposite two sides meet the walls that join in the corner.
The tub in the photo above is a Duravit Happy D corner tub. It's available in both left-hand and right-hand installations and you can choose either a standard tub (no whirlpool/jets) or an air bath model.
Before you make any final decisions here are a few points to consider:
handles are located on the non-wall side of the tub you'll want to make sure you have room to get in and out without having to step over (or swing your legs over) them to get in or out. That can be an inconvenience.
The tub in the photo on the right is an example of a corner installation with one end that abuts a shower, leaving only the opposite side clear. You have to make the decision as to whether a setup like this is more or less convenient. An alternative is a tub where the faucet is located on one of the walls.
Photo Courtesy of ATG Storesend you'd need to have a small knee-wall built to support and block off the end of the tub. It needn't be much higher than the height of the tub.
It's something to think about if you want a horizontal tub located in a corner but can't find a double-apron tub that suits your needs.
One of the benefits of this scenario is that you may be able to find an alcove style tub for a more reasonable price than some of the double-apron or other tubs specifically designed for a corner application.
Hopefully through the information up above you can see that you have a range of choices available to you in the way of a corner bathtub setup. Where to get them is another question, as the typical big-box stores usually have only a very limited selection. And unless you have a bath showroom in your area, you may not have much to look at.
Shopping online is one way to go and people buy bathtubs through online sources all the time. At a minimum your selection is broader.
If you take the online approach two sources to check out are ATG Stores and Wayfair.com. Both are large internet retailers in the home products sector and have a selection of tubs and corner tubs to choose from.
That said, my personal preference is for more durable materials. I prefer cast iron, although it's very heavy, or the Americast product by American Standard. Kohler makes a cast iron corner tub if that heavy-duty material is your preference.
Americast is a lighter alternative to cast iron. However there aren't any Americast tubs designed exclusively as corner bathtubs. The only way to get this combination is to buy a conventional alcove three-wall Americast tub and install it in a corner with a knee-wall like that shown above.
If you decide to go with a whirlpool or jetted corner tub you'll be looking at products made from either acrylic or Vitrell.