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A spa bathroom is irresistible! And homeowners are valuing the tub to complete their spa experience. If you’re looking for great ways to create a relaxing home spa, you most likely want to try the sunken bathtub.
While the freestanding white tub makes a statement in any bathtub, the sunken bathtub is a silent hero that gives your bathroom an unusually beautiful spa-like look that will add a major wow factor to your bathroom.
What Is A Sunken Bathtub?
Also known as an in-floor bathtub, the sunken bathtub is directly installed into the bathroom floor, so you can step down into your tub from the floor level.
This is unlike regular tubs that are installed securely on top of the floor, or installed into an alcove or recess within the bathroom.
Because of this, it is therefore easy to get in and out of a sunken tub because there is no need to climb over and out as is the case of a standard tub.
The in-floor tub design adds a more luxurious and stylish appeal to the bathroom than traditional tubs.
Usually, the outer profile of the tub is hidden in the floor, leaving only the rim exposed or sometimes, it is completely flush with the floor. Semi-recessed versions will allow a larger portion of the bathtub to be above the floor, mostly, halfway.
This is an easy way to save money on your bathtub as the outer surfaces can be left unfinished.
While sunken bathtubs offer such a seamless bathroom aesthetic injecting much luxury into your space, they can be a tripping hazard. That’s why during the design, you ought to consider several safety precautions including:
- Adding motion lighting so the tub is visible, especially at night.
- Designing the with a small lip around it that serves to accent the tub. However, watch out for tripping toes.
Besides tripping, a sunken bathtub can cause a potential hazard for small children, especially if the water is accidentally left in them after use.
Because they have no side barriers to keep toddlers from falling into them as easily, it is important to consider if these types of tubs are the best option if your house will be full of young children.
Where Should You Install A Sunken Bathtub?
Installing a sunken tub is always a significant undertaking, with a budget to match.
Therefore, it is perhaps a more realistic prospect for the ground floor bathroom. Here, you can open the bathroom up to your patio or yard to feel as though you’re basking in a shady outdoor swimming hole.
It is also realistic to have an in-floor bathtub in the first-floor bathroom. However, subsequent floors will need to be reinforced and possibly reframed — sometimes extensively so — in order to house a sunken tub on an upper story.
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How Is A Sunken Bathtub Installed?
Unlike regular bathtubs, sunken bathtubs generally require additional work and take longer to install because they are integrated into the overall construction and design of the bathroom.
More so, the installation can get more complex depending on the surrounding features in the bathroom and how involving their construction is.
Along with the additional time it takes to install these in-floor bathtubs and the expertise required to install them comes additional costs of construction.
Therefore, sunken bathtubs are largely, permanent bathroom features. Redesigning or remodeling such a bathroom becomes a very expensive endeavor than remodeling the bathroom with a conventional bathtub or shower stall.
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Here are the key things to note about the installation of an in-floor bathtub:
- A sunken tub requires you to cut an opening beneath the floor to clear space for the tub, add supports and line up your utilities.
Most owners prefer having a sunken bathtub in spa bathrooms on the ground floor as it becomes more affordable to sink a tub hole into the ground than on floors above as that will call for more engineering work to ensure the floor above supports the weight.
Therefore, employ a contractor to ensure this project is a success.
Most sunken tubs require large floor space although there are options for small bathrooms. Just measure the available space in the bathroom to determine what size of tub will be suitable.
If on a top floor, adjust its position accordingly taking note of the load-bearing walls. A good design includes a tub with dimensions that will fit within the designated space.
- Design your tub so it’s safe to get in and out.
To prevent accidents from tripping into the tub or slipping on the bathroom floor from splashes, fully sunken models should have nonslip materials around the edge of the tub. This will also ensure that no slip hazards.
These fully-sunken models can also have built-in stairs or entry points to allow for easy access to the bathtub as well.
Semi-sunken tubs — think halfway between a standing tub and a sunken one — can have one wall lower for easy access or stairs to facilitate entry and exit.
Because semi-sunken tubs are partially lowered into the floor, and not completely submerged so their outer rim protrudes from the floor, they are safer than the standard sunken tub that poses a tripping hazard.
- Place the tub carefully so it’s level. Plumbing should be well connected and the joints properly sealed off with caulk.
NOTE: If there is no existing support structure, especially if on upper floors, your contractor should build proper supports and reinforce appropriate areas to support your bathtub.
For a clean bathroom look, you want your contractor to ensure easy access to the pipes easy for quick repair and maintenance.
If the tub is sunken completely below the floor, the plumbing is likely to run underneath the tub in the basement. Bathtubs built into a platform will have plumbing access either in the wall or on the platform.
So, plan ahead and have your contractor build easy access points to your bathtub plumbing, water controls, and the drain.
Before this project, know that sunken bathtubs can be notoriously difficult to maintain.
Unless the contractor specifically builds access to the pipes below, the chances of undetectable leaks grow.
Furthermore, repairs and maintenance of sunken bathtubs can require removal of the tub from the surround, making repairs costly and messy.
Stunning Sunken Bathtub Ideas For A Resort-Like Ambiance
In-floor bathtubs can offer a resort-like ambiance and a one-of-a-kind feel. Check out these dramatic and extravagant sunken bathtub designs that will make your bathroom a luxurious and relaxing spa-like space:
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For added flexibility in your bathroom, consider a sunken bathtub with a shower. While this will require extra planning and expense, it’s a nice solution.
Because of the sense of luxury that sunken bathtubs provide, they are becoming increasingly popular.
However, before option for them, first consider whether or not a sunken bathtub is the right fit for you.
Review the pros and cons of sunken bathtubs above then consider the time required in planning of the bathroom layout and the design of the sunken tub since this feature will become permanent in your bathroom.
If you are ready to start designing your dream spa bathroom, I hope you’ve been well informed.