Height of cast-iron tub for family bathroom

rosiegoldenJuly 7, 2014

I am looking at 30x60 cast-iron tubs for our bath remodel. Our house was built in '52 and the bathrooms are very small. We remodeled our master bath, which has a shower (no tub) last year.

The new tub will be in an alcove, have an apron (is not drop-in), and will be used mostly for showering but sometimes for bathing. On that latter point, since it will be the only bathtub in the house I would like for it to be reasonably comfortable for bathing - I love baths but have no tub in the master bath. On the other hand, it needs to be easy to step over/get in and out of because it will be used daily for showering.

I also need to keep resale in mind - our house is a family house and a someday-buyer will likely be thinking in terms of the ease of bathing small children.

Our current circa 1952 tub is 15" high from the floor.

Current bathtub candidates are:

*Kohler Bellwether (15.5" high)
*Kohler Archer (19" high, this is a "soaking tub" per the Home Depot website - too high?)
*Kohler Villager (14" high - too low for me to enjoy an occasional bath?)

I would appreciate any help you can offer, including other suggestions for brands and models.

FWIW, the design plan is traditional: White subway tile with black pencil trim, black & white basketweave floor. So I would prefer simple lines for the tub design.

Also - what is the maximum height for ease of getting in/out for showering, and minimum height for enjoying the occasional soak?

Thank you!

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The Villager only has 8-5/8 of "pool" to the overflow so that is pretty shallow for a bath.

Bellwether has 9"

The Archer has 15-1/2 because of a special higher overflow. I put this in a client's house and have used it for showering and although you have to step over the rim moreso than with the Villager which is low and the Bellwether, it is not too bad, and I am short .

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:28PM
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Thanks, palimpsest. For my bathing purposes, deeper is better. But it seems to me that stepping over a 19" tall bathtub daily to shower is a lot.

Do people ever install soaking tubs (like the Archer) in a family bathroom in which the tub is also a shower?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Just to point out that the archer is acrylic, not cast iron.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Kohler Bancroft is an acrylic one. Although a Toto 1525 might work which is cast iron.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:53PM
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We have a pedastal tub put in by a previous owner and used as a shower. We hate it. It's a beautiful and expensive tub that looks awesome in our vintage bathroom (white subway, hex tile just like yours), but is completely impractical as a daily use item for a few reasons:

- high to step in and out of on a daily basis. We are only in our 30s so it's not an issue yet but I've had 2 abdominal surgeries and was not able to use the tub during that time without help. I can't even imagine what it would be like for an elderly person.
- it's difficult to bathe our toddler in - your arms fall asleep when leaning over to scrub. It's hard on your back to lean way over to wrestle a slippery, wiggly child.

We have other reasons we hate it that are not applicable to your situation but in short, we use it as a shower way more than as a soaking tub. We bathe our toddler a lot more than we take a soaking bath so when we have the money to rip out this tub, we'll be putting in something that is functional for the vast majority of our use vs. something we rarely use it for.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Thanks all. You are right about the Archer, I'd missed that. The HD search engine doesn't filter out non-cast iron tubs, what's up with that?

Threegraces, thanks for the info about a high tub being uncomfortable to use for showering, that is just what I was thinking about. So.

The Bellwether looks like a good option as the Villager is definitely too shallow.

The Kohler Mendota looks like another possibility - HD is out of stock but I can buy it elsewhere.

I will look at the Toto as well but suspect it is a lot more expensive just based on the name.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Yeah, I wish the archer came in cast iron.

Any pedestal tub is going to be far more uncomfortable for showering than an alcove tub. I don't think anything on your list is too high for showering. Even the archer is a relatively low tub that has a high-placed overflow to let you get a deeper soak in a shorter tub.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I think having to step over a 19" bathtub side for daily showering is way too high unless you have extremely long legs.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Clawfoot tubs have perhaps the highest rims of all, yet people shower in them regularly. Ours will be used daily for showering (as we have done in previous homes, both owned and rented) and at least weekly for long, soaking baths. Since one long side and one end will be nestled against walls (close but not touching), we're installing grab bars for safety sake and to ensure that we can use it for years to come. Accessories such as these make great sense for all users, old and young, infirm and perfectly able.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Thanks all. To clarify, I am not considering clawfoot or pedestal tubs. And the Archer is now out because it's not cast iron. Even so, I question whether an alcove apron-type tub that is 19" high is too high for showering.

This thread is helping me clarify my thinking.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:39PM
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You can easily mock up 19" with cardboard or newspaper and try stepping over it - I did and found it difficult.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:11PM
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When we remodeled the hall bath, we wanted to have a tub good for shower and bathing a young child. We looked at all these three tubs: Kohler Bellwether, Archer and Villager.

Archer is nice but we eliminated it because it is not made of cast iron. We worried it would get scratched by bath toys.

Villager is shallow, and is widely used by hotels. At the time I travelled a lot for work. The last thing I wanted to see at my own home is a "hotel tub".

We picked the modern Bellwether. So far we have been very happy with it. To make it easier to bath a young child, and to clean the tub, I also use an extra long shower curtain instead of a glass enclosure.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:16PM
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azmom, that is the direction I'm leaning in - the Bellwether, for all the reasons you cite.

Did you buy the taller (15" high, 32" wide) version as opposed to the slightly lower one (14" high, 30" wide)? If we go with the 32" wide one, the tub will be flush with the wall adjacent to it, whereas if we go with the 30" wide one, then there will be a little "breathing room." The current tub is curved a bit (very 50s) such that it is not flush with the wall.

I am inclined to go with the 32"W one because the 14" high one will have that hotel effect you cite (not desirable to me).

Thanks again, all - this is super-helpful.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:48AM
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azmom, I have another question about the Bellwether. In reading online, I have learned that the sloped angle of the tub at the right-hand drain end (probably the left-hand one too, same design) is such that we would need a longer-than-normal spout and a particular kind of drain in order to make it work.


We have bought a showerhead/diverter/control that is unlikely to work with this tub because it has a standard 5" spout - according to what I am reading, we need a longer one.

Is this correct? If so, what plumbing did you choose to go with your Bellwether?

Our alternatives:

*Look at American Standard tubs (not as well-rated)
*Kohler Mendota tub ($950ish versus $720ish, and 16" high - so less user-friendly for showering)
*Tub alternatives for $1500+

Thanks for any information you can share.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:07AM
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Hi, I bought the 30x60 Bellwether for my remodel 1.5 years ago. It is the height of the villager if I remember correctly. It has a standard front end and standard spout will work on this model. I have been bathing for a year in it until my shower was done several months ago in my other bathroom. It has a long interior, but is shallow like the villager. The drain location is standard distance from front to drain center. I like the look a lot.

Compare that to the original Bellwether which has a sloped front, requiring the longer reach spout and shortest bottom. The only plus is the deeper water level and wider width. Not what I wanted. The rough in drain might need to be adapted as well.

My tub:

This post was edited by enduring on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 23:02

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I recalled read about a version of Bellwether that has sloped angle back and it needs modified spout. I made sure our tub has straight back and uses normal spout. I believe ours is the same tub as enduring's. it is 30x60". I don't remember there was 15 x 32" version while we were shopping.

We looked at many bath tubs, at the end we decided the quality and look of Bellwether is good enough for our purpose. We spent budget on other purchases, such as quartzite, cabinet, fixtures..etc.

The first time I took a bath, I wished the tub was a little deeper, but then I realized being shower persons, we really do not enjoy bath that much... I am very happy with the tub for its easy access and maintainence.

Below are two photos for your reference.


Close look

This post was edited by azmom on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 8:53

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:10PM
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Azmom your bathroom is lovely. The tub is perfect with the style of room. The stone on your wall is great looking too.

The 32" wide Bellwether has a slanted end at the back and at the drain end, significantly decreasing the floor of the tub.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:08PM
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I used a 60x32 20"h tub with fairly thin sidewalls for a recent remodel, and though it's a bit more of a step into it, I don't find it that much more difficult than with shorter tubs (i'm 5'8"). It's easily worth it to have a deeper tub IMO, and it's good for showering too because the floor is wider, longer, and flatter than in most 5' tubs. I wouldn't fret about resale value; people moving into a small house may not have kids, or the kids may be over 8 y.o. who can usually climb into anything. Or the new owners may want to rip out a tub in favor of a shower. Changing to a shorter tub costs almost nothing compared to the cost of the house, so I can't imagine someone not wanting to buy it because the tub is too tall. I bought enough extra wall tiles so that if a future buyer wanted a shorter tub or a shower, it would be easy to retrofit one without having to retile the whole wall because the tile didn't come down far enough.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:52AM
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