Corner bathtubs allow you to make the most out of a limited amount of space and can transform your bathroom into a significantly more luxurious and functional area. However, choosing the right corner tub can be difficult for those who are unfamiliar with or know little about the subject.
Luckily, after some in-depth investigation and a bit of personal experience, we have taken the time to lay out some valuable guidelines anyone can follow when looking for their perfect corner bathtub – a topic we will cover in the sections below.
What are the benefits of a corner bathtub?
Before we dive into how to choose the right corner bathtub, we should first take a moment to examine some of the benefits that these types of tubs offer.
1.Makes full use of bathroom space
If your bathroom is small or suffers from an odd layout, a corner bathtub is one of the best ways to maximize the available space. Unlike the standard tub, corner tubs can fit snuggly into the corner of a room, meaning every bit of space is put to use. Moreover, corner tubs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, meaning no matter how odd your bathroom layout is, there is likely a tub to match.
2.Leaves you with more wall space
Because the tub is placed directly in a corner of the bathroom, it frees up more wall space for you to use for other things. Having extra wall space can be particularly beneficial for those whose bathroom is already relatively small, and space is very limited.
3.Corner tubs can provide a sense of home luxury
As corner bathtubs increase in popularity, more and more features, such as jacuzzi massage jets, are becoming more commonplace. Aside from water jets, some models are designed as a soaking tub and even come with an attached showerhead. Whether these types of features are important to you or not, corner tubs are an excellent way to transfer your bathroom into a mini spa or relaxation zone.
People are often surprised to learn just how affordable a corner bathtub can be. Of course, how much a particular tub will set you back depends on several factors, including size, brand, building material, and features. That being said, most corner tubs found at big box stores and online typically run anywhere from $850 to $3,500, not including installation.
Because they make better use of space, corner bathtubs are usually more stylish and modern looking than traditional bathtubs. On top of this, because they extend completely into one of the corners in your bathroom, they are usually very visually appealing.
Types of corner bathtubs
In general, corner bathtubs can be divided into three different categories, soaking tubs, whirlpool jacuzzi tubs, and shower/tub combos. When deciding upon which corner bathtub to buy, you should first identify exactly which type works best for you.
Soaking corner bathtub
A soaking tub comes with extra depth compared to the standard bathtub, allowing the user to fully submerge themselves in water from the neck down. While some are big enough to lie down in, most soaking corner tubs are space conscious, and provide just enough area for one or two people to sit fully upright. Typically, soaker corner tubs do not come equipped with water or air spray jets, although some of the higher-end models do.
If you want a corner bathtub that allows you enjoy a full body soak that covers all your joints and muscles in hot water, you should strongly consider a soaking tub. The major downside to the soaking tubs is they can prove awkward to stand up in, and many are not suitable for shower use.
Whirlpool corner bathtub
A whirlpool corner bathtub is very similar to the standard jacuzzi many people have in the backyard, only much smaller. The average whirlpool model is equipped with either water or air jets, and many are outfitted with multiple massage settings. If you decide upon a whirlpool corner bathtub, choosing between air and water jets is one of the more important decisions you will have to make. Because of this, it is worth looking at the two options in a little more depth.
Air Jets: As you have likely guessed, air jets gather surrounding air and shoot it out through one of the many pressurized outlets in the tub. Generally speaking, air jets deliver a much softer stream than water jets, but require significantly less maintenance, and no filters need replacing. For those who enjoy bubbles and don't need a deep tissue massage, air jets may be the better way to go.
Water Jets: Water jets are considered slightly more high-end than air jets because they deliver a greater degree of force. Those who suffer from arthritis, muscle/joint issues, or poor circulation get a great deal of value out of tubs with water jets as they can provide a deep tissue massage and get the circulatory system moving. The major drawback is that contaminates can become stuck in the system, and consistent cleaning is required. However, even with the added maintenance, water jets offer an extremely relaxing and therapeutic bath experience.
The last category we will look at is the shower/tub combo. The previous types of corner bathtubs we covered are usually not well equipped to double as a shower. If you want your corner bathtub to function as both a tub and a shower, you will need to purchase a model that can incorporate both. Shower/tub combos feature glass or plastic walls that allow the unit to function as a regular stand-up shower. If you have a current tub that you would like to turn into a tub/shower combo, consider using a frameless sliding door to do so.
Corner bathtub styles
Besides the three broad categories, corner tubs typically come in one of three installation styles, including free standing, built-in, and stepped.
As we will see, each one comes with its own set of pros and cons and which style of corner tub you choose will depend upon which one works the best for you, your budget, and your bathroom.
If you're looking for a corner bathtub with a straightforward and affordable installation process, free-standing is likely your best bet. When installing a free standing corner tub, you simply drop it in place at the intersection of two walls (otherwise known as a corner) and hook up the necessary plumbing and drain attachments. This leaves you with one or possibly two, depending on the design, sides exposed with the others placed against the two walls.
The major downside to a free-standing corner tub is you have to make sure your bathroom layout, water pipes, and faucets are positioned in the right place to accommodate the corner bathtub. You can even enhance your tub with a touchless faucet.
Pros of Free Standing Bathtubs
- Easy to install
- no added installation cost
- come in a wide variety of styles
- Shower/tub combos are available
- Most affordable
Cons of Free Standing Bathtubs
- Not very customizable
- If they don't fit your bathroom size or layout, not much can be done to change that
A built-in corner bathtub requires significantly more effort during installation but can provide a level of customization and flexibility that a standalone tub cannot. When installing a built-in tub, there are two ways you can go about doing so. The first, and most common, is by placing the tub in the corner and then using some type of building material to cover it, making it look as though it's fully integrated into your bathroom space. The second, and less common method, involves placing the corner tub into a pre-built space or enclosure. These two installation methods bring us to an important distinction between two types of built-in corner bathtubs, drop in and under mount.
Drop-in: A drop in corner bathtub is placed, or dropped, into a pre-existing structure or encasement, often referred to as the deck. A drop-in tub will typically have its edges sit on top of the deck, where it is fastened into place.
Undermount: An under-mount installation design can be thought of as the opposite of the drop-in. With an undermount corner tub, the tub is placed into the encasement or deck and secured using the appropriate hardware. The edges of the tub are then covered using the same building material that the deck is made out of, making it look as if the bathtub is built into the structure.
Pros Of Built-In Bathtubs
- Allows for a higher degree of customizability
- The deck that holds the corner bathtub can be fitted with drawers and storage areas
- Excellent for shower/tub combos
- All electrical wires and plumbing can be easily concealed
- Can create a sense of elegance that the average corner bathtub cannot
- Offers for flexibility in regards to where the drain, faucets, and pipes can be installed
- The housing deck can be fitted to incorporate lighting
- Can be custom designed
Cons Of Built In Bathtubs
- More expensive construction and installation process than a stand-alone tub
- Can cause bacteria and mildew to form within the deck due to trapped water and moisture
- If something goes wrong with the bathtub, it can be much more difficult and costly to fix compared to a standalone unit, especially if it is of the under mount variety
- Not well suited for a heavy bathtub like one made out of cast iron
A stepped corner tub is another variety of built-in bathtubs but with enough unique features to warrant its own category and is one worth considering if your bathroom size is large enough. Like all built-in bathtubs, a stepped tub is housed inside a deck and can be either dropped in or under-mounted.
Stepped corner tubs are usually larger and deeper than their standard built-in counterparts and include a stepped ladder leading to the edge of the tub. Without a doubt, a stepped corner bathtub is the most luxurious option, although they are the most expensive to build and install and are best used in a larger than average bathroom.
Pros Of Stepped Bathtubs
- The most luxurious type of corner bathtub
- High level of customizability
- Works with just about any type of corner bathtub
- Offers the ultimate bath experience
- Like other built-in bathtubs, wiring, plumbing, and most pieces of installation hardware can be concealed within the deck
- Can create a spa-like feel when a bathtub with massage features is chosen
- Offers many style options
Cons Of Stepped Bathtubs
- Not ideal for small bathrooms
- Installation costs are more expensive than other options
- Repairs and changes can be more difficult and costly than other options
- Not the best choice for a heavier than average bathtubs, such as one made out of cast iron
What materials are corner bathtubs made out of?
The type of material a corner tub is made out of will significantly impact the price and functionality. Because of this, when shopping around for the right corner bathtub for you, construction material is something to take into consideration.
Although bathtubs are made out of a wide variety of materials, some are far more common than others, the most important of which include:
Porcelain Enameled Steel Corner Bathtubs
Porcelain-enameled steel is one of the most common construction materials for corner tubs and is known for being long-lasting, easy to clean, and affordable.
Pros of Porcelain Enameled Bathtubs
- Easy to clean
Cons of Porcelain Enameled Bathtubs
- The enameled porcelain layer can chip easily if objects are dropped on it
- Places, where porcelain has chipped, are prone to rust
- Does not hold heat very well compared to other materials
- Heavier than fiberglass or acrylic tubs
Acrylic Corner Bathtubs
Acrylic is another common material that bathtubs are constructed out of, and the average acrylic tub is made with vacuum-formed acrylic reinforced with fiberglass. Like porcelain enameled steel tubs, acrylic bathtubs are durable, easy to clean, and very affordable
Pros of Acrylic Bathtubs
- Come in many shapes and sizes to fit any bathrooms
- Unlike a porcelain bathtub, the surface is easily repairable if chipped
- Very lightweight
Cons Of Acrylic Bathtubs
- The surface can scratch easily
- Harsh cleaning chemicals can leave visual marks
- More expensive than fiberglass
Fiberglass Corner Bathtubs
Because fiberglass is the most economic construction material, it is also the most popular. Although very similar to acrylic bathtubs, they are less durable.
Pros Of Fiberglass Bathtubs
- Fiberglass corner bathtubs are the most affordable
- Easy to work with and come in many different shapes and sizes
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Hold heat better than porcelain enameled steel
- Cleaning fiberglass bathtubs is simple
- Easy to clean and repair
- Considered the best option for a tub/shower combo
Cons Of Fiberglass Bathtubs
- Not as durable as other materials
- The surface can scratch or damage easily
- Because of the construction process, limited colors are available
- The finish is prone to fading over time
Enameled Cast Iron Bathtubs
For decades, if not centuries, almost every bathtub was made out of cast iron but as cheaper and lighter materials became available, cast iron begun to fall out of favor. That being said, for those who don't mind the price and heaviness of a cast iron tub, an enameled cast iron corner bathtub is an excellent option.
Pros Of Cast Iron Bathtubs
- It Will last a lifetime
- Cast iron retains heat very well, meaning a hot bath stay hot longer
- Elegant looking aesthetics not offered by other materials
- Cast iron is coated with a thick enamel which is very resilient to chipping, scratching and is rust-resistant
- Many different finishes available
Cons Of Cast Iron Bathtubs
- Considerably more expensive than other materials
- If your bathroom is located upstairs, moving a cast iron corner bathtub into place can be difficult
- Heavy and difficult to install
- Most don't come with massage functions
Ceramic is another classic bathtub material that is both cost-effective and easy to take care of. Not only is it stain-resistant and easy to maintain, but it is also environmentally friendly and can be easily recycled.
Pros Of Ceramic Bathtubs
- Doesn't stain
- Easy to clean
- Environmentally friendly
- Highly sanitary material
Cons Of Ceramic Bathtubs
- Can chip easier than some other materials
- mold and mildew begin to grow when not regularly cleaned
What should I consider before buying a corner bathtub?
Let's say you've weighed the pros and cons of each bathtub type and construction material and have successfully narrowed it down to a few select corner bathtubs, there are still a few things to consider before purchasing the bathtub.
Aesthetics: Just become you've found a corner bathtub you like doesn't mean it will match the current style of your bathroom. If you find yourself in this position, consider using a bathtub surround to create a style that is more fitting for your tub of choice.
Does the bathtub come with an overflow drain?: If you accidentally leave the water on, it can cause the bathtub to overflow and flood your bathroom, an experience no one wants to deal with. When shopping for a corner bathtub, be sure to pick one that comes equipped with an overflow drain, as it could be the difference between suffering a flood or not.
Drain Access: When picking which of the available corners to put your bathtub in, it's a good practice to pick the one closes to the main drain.
Bathtub weight: A bathtub, especially one made out of weighty materials like cast iron, can be very heavy when filled with water and one or two people. When choosing a bathtub, ensure that the area you plan on installing it in can handle the added weight.