Ah! Tubs! Too many choices! Heated tub shell? MTI Andrea, anyone?

sbollagJuly 28, 2014

I have been stuck on tubs for like three solid weeks now, and I'm bloody sick of looking at and thinking about them. I know the old rule is to go and sit in one before you buy it, but I'm really not clear on how that works, because we've been to all the major plumbing stores around here and sat in all the tubs they have, and it's still just a handful.

We are looking for something pretty specific - a two-person, freestanding air bath, in a traditional design (we have an 1870s house). We liked a lot of the oval shaped ones initially just on sight, but after sitting in them, we discovered that we did not so much like them - we really don't like the way they taper in the middle. And it's just maddening how the interior dimensions can so vastly differ from tub to tub, some of them that are supposedly two-person tubs seem quite small inside.

We are flexible on size, could go up to 72", though I'd be happy if we can find one that works that is 66", because then we can give a few more inches to the shower. We can also go anywhere from 36-42" wide. We are not big people - 5'8" and 5'4", average size, but we don't want to feel squished. We are thinking with these tubs being so deep, that armrests would be really nice.

Just based on the foregoing criteria, we've found very few that are even candidates - MTI seems to make by far the most that even come close. We love the Eng. Solid Stone ones, but they are quite out of our budget (plus we are putting it on the second floor, so would be concerned about the weight). And many of them that are a nice shape and size don't have an armrest option.

In reality, the only one I see that really meets our requirements is the MTI Andrea, either the Andrea 10 or 24. The only difference is the length (72" and 66" respectively), they are the same width (36"). So they have the same interior width, which appears to be 24" (the armrests are 2.5" wide and 14.5" long), but the interior length obviously is quite a bit bigger on the 72" one - 50.5" v. 43". I'm posting links to the spec sheets below.

One other thing we've been going back and forth about is the Radiance feature - the heated tub shell. It sounds like a nice idea (especially since I've heard that the air baths can cool off quickly), but it also costs another $750 or so, and seems like just one more thing that can stop working. Anyone have an MTI tub with that? Or any tub with a heated shell?

So, I know that's a long-winded post, but that's all been bottled up inside :) So any thoughts? Do these sound like reasonable dimensions for two average sized people? Anyone by chance happen to have the Andrea, or even just an MTI air bath?

Thanks so much for any thoughts!

Andrea 10 - http://mtibaths.com/media/specs/100.pdf
Andrea 24 - http://mtibaths.com/media/specs/210.pdf

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Those optional armrests look like they may crowd things a bit, leaving only 19" of width between them. But then again, I like 2-person tubs that allow both people facing the same direction as well as on opposite sides; if you'll only use it the latter way it won't matter. I also prefer a larger radius at the top so your head doesn't lean against a sharp corner (although a small pillow can help). Otherwise looks nice, but I haven't shopped freestanding tubs so don't know what's out there.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:05PM
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Thanks for your response! I agree that I share those concerns. We would love a tub that allowed us to face the same direction as well as each other, but in terms of freestanding tubs, that just doesn't really seem to be an option. Even the biggest ones, without armrests, are at most 26 or so inches across inside (unless you move up to the stone ones, which are a fortune).

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:02PM
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I've seen some that are wider - i.e. the Americh Atlas 7242 which offers 28 to 34" of width inside. Even 26" might suffice for side-by-side bathing (cuddle up!) They just can't be too rounded at the ends or your outer shoulders will get squashed.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:08AM
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Thanks for your response! I have looked at the Americh tubs, although bizarrely, they appear to have no distributor in this entire area (New Orleans), and most of the plumbing places here don't know them at all. And the issue with those, and others that do offer a bit more width, is that there is no armrest option, which is really kind of important to us. Definitely noticed the rounded issue - that's why we decided against an oval/rounded tub. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:41PM
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> We would love a tub that allowed us to face the same direction as well as each other, but in terms of freestanding tubs, that just doesn't really seem to be an option.

Now this is more like it:

It's freestanding (though I don't care for this particular surround) and the backrest is what I find the ideal shape for two people side by side, with good back and shoulder support for both. Most tubs with this shape are like 5 feet wide which is not what I want; this one is just wide enough for two. The taper at the other end helps preserve water without getting too crowded, but is still wide and sloped enough to lean against when you want to face opposite directions. Still, it's the side by side configuration I like best. Two-person tubs where you face each other look great in pictures and in the showroom. Then you use one in real life only to find you have to SCREAM AT EACH OTHER to be heard over the roar of the jets. Although air jets may be a bit quieter than the water jets I've used. I could do without the huge ledge at the end of this tub though - what's that all about?

I too can't find a tub that gets everything right.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 5:13AM
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Ah yes, evenings spent looking lovingly at each other naked in the bathtub while sipping champagne. Who doesn't do that at least once or twice a week.....

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:19PM
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I would if I had that tub!

Bathing together is good for the environment. It's also good for your love life.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 4:47AM
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