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Bathtubs

Posted by ErinC (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 16:33

Hello all,

Newbie posting here. I am adding a jack-and-jill bathroom between my two kids' rooms. I'm having a hard time deciding on a bathtub. I'd always assumed I'd want cast iron -- it's what I've always had until I moved into this house (our hall bath has a very cheap, very horrible acrylic tub). But I'm not sure that's the best choice for me.

My kids are now teenagers, and I doubt they'll be taking many baths. We're really only adding a tub because it's expected that you have a tub in a kids' bathroom, for resale. It's going to be a shower over tub, 3 wall alcove installation. So it will get used everyday when my kids shower.

Question 1: Do I go with cast iron, for durability? If not, something else? The only downside for me would be cost. I have a single story house, so it's not like the tub would have to be carried upstairs or anything.

Question 2: If cast iron, which tub do I go with -- the basic Kohler Villager tub? Something else? I like the looks of the Kohler Bellwether, but saw another thread on here with some concerns about the design. Do I go with just the low 14" tub height?

If this was for my master bath I'd probably want a deeper tub, but since this is just a kids' bath I think the lower height would be better (thinking of someone bathing toddlers for example).

I would appreciate any things you all might have on my dilemma!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bathtubs

If they are still being sold, look for the Toto 1525. We are very happy with ours--have them in two bathrooms, based on rec's here a few years ago.


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RE: Bathtubs

I love the looks of the Bellwether, the new version. It is sized like the Villager and takes a standard installation. The tub is not deep for soaking but low for getting in and out of for children and showering. You may have seen my tub, I know a lot of others have as I post it all the time:) The model number is K-837, for the left handed drain and is the updated version. It is 60x30" at 14"high with a water depth of 9". It takes a standard tub filler, not the extra long one that the original needed, which people didn't like. The original also has a short bottom because it has a sloped front and back (where as the updated version only slopes in the back). People don't like soaking in it because you couldn't stretch out, I guess.

The model has nice clean lines and a smooth apron. It comes in a million colors. Mine's white.

Ain't it perfect:
 photo IMG_3072_zpsf47d3a85.jpg

 photo IMG_2858.jpg

 photo Bellwetherk-837.jpg


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RE: Bathtubs

Or, go with Kohler Expanse which is an acrylic tub but has a nice large size "floor" to it. Whatever tub you consider, do look at the interior dimensions and not just the exterior. You will find some of the "larger tubs" actually have a smaller footprint inside the tub, which is less desireable for a "mainly showering" tub.


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RE: Bathtubs

KIrkhall, I agree with the size of the inside bottom size. One thing my plumber said after he installed the Bellwether is that it had a nice straight side from top ledge to the tub bottom. He explained that some tubs have a sloped side and when one steps into the tub the foot can land on the slope and thus loose their footing.


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RE: Bathtubs

We just put in the Bellwether K-837 in our bathroom remodel. We looked at cast iron and acrylic. We went with the cast iron mostly because I didn't want to stand in a plastic tub while showering. We chose the Bellwether for its slab sided apron and price compared to cast iron tubs from Kohler, Toto and Porcher.
We're concerned about keeping the non-slip surface clean. That is the only downside to the tub, besides getting it inside the house and maneuvering it into position.


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RE: Bathtubs

Thank you for all the replies.

The plans call for a 32" tub, but those are harder to find (and the straight sided Bellwether is a 30"). Do you think it matters much? If I stick to 32" I feel like my only options are the Kohler Mendota, the Toto 1525, or the Bellwether that slopes both front and back.

In our current hall bath I just measured the tub (horrible cheap acrylic tub that was here when we moved in) and it is only 28" wide, and we all shower fine in it. Maybe I don't need the 32".


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RE: Bathtubs

What about the Kohler Memoirs tub at 60"x32"x17-7/16" Cast Iron


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RE: Bathtubs

17 7/16 is pretty tall to step over, isn't it?

I emailed my contractor about the Mendota, and he thought that one was too tall at 16 1/4.


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RE: Bathtubs

Can you get to a Ferguson's show room or other show room to look at Kohler's line of tubs? You could do some onsite comparisons that would be helpful in your decisions.

With regards to height to step over, a grab rail would be an excellent installation that would help steady someone stepping over the tub. I know these are teens but that is only a temporary conditions;)

I'd say the bellwether or the villager would be great tubs for stepping over. I've noticed in a fancy hotel in Minneapolis, that they have the villager in their rooms. It is an excellent height to step over. I would have used the villager in my bath but I didn't like the style on the side with the chevron. The bellwether is very modern looking which I like.


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RE: Bathtubs

We got the American Standard Americast Cambridge tub for our daughters' bath remodel and love it.

It's 32" wide and it's got a good size opening. We also put in a Deep Flow Drain so it can technically hold up to 17" of water for soaking.

I find it to be the right height for them to step over now (8 and 10 yrs old) and will be great as they get older.) While the lower heigh seems appealing, this is just right as it: a) holds just a little more water if you do want to soak in it, b) is a comfortable heigh for stepping over and c) it isn't so low that there is splashing if someone IS in the tub!

I realized the only photo I have handy is before the bathroom was finished and you can only see the top of the tub but if you're interested, I can take more photos of it.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: American Standard Cambridge


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RE: Bathtubs

I've tried the different Kohler showrooms around me and they don't have the alcove tubs on display (only the 'fancy' whirlpool and soaker tubs). So I think I need to order this one without seeing a real tub, which is annoying. And of course Lowe's or Home Depot don't have them.

akcorcoran, your bathroom looks great! I love the tilework. How long have you had the Americast tub -- I was originally looking at those but got scared away by some comments about chipping, etc.


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RE: Bathtubs

ErinC, FWIW, staceyneil here has one and one that managed to get chipped while the work was still going on. She said their repair kit worked very well. I think the thread linked below is the one where she discusses acrylic vs americast (she has both).

Akcorcoran, I'd love to see more photos of your tub.

Here is a link that might be useful: staceyneil DIY bath


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RE: Bathtubs

We had this same struggle about what tub to get. We ultimately went with what was safest - the cast iron. I mean safest because I had so much anxiety about acrylic or americast, mainly because they are newer technology. Taking a tub out is an expensive and a royal pain, so we wanted something we would never have to replace. I can't believe someone's americast was damaged before they even got to use it. That would have had me asking for a whole new tub instead of a repair. Repairs invariably need to be repaired again.

Oh, and whatever you do, don't scrub a cast iron tub with anything abrasive. Many well meaning cleaners do that and ruin their finish. Then cast iron is a beast to keep clean and will have to be refinished over and over again.

At least in our experience, Kohler seems to have the corner on the cheaper range of cast iron tubs. We loved the look of some other ones in our catalogs, but they were quadruple the price of the basic Villager. We just couldn't justify the price discrepancy. I would say for showering purposes, the basic Villager would be fine. It is very easy to climb over. I would only look at more expensive cast iron tubs if you were planning on bathing in them. We didn't even get the wider side on the Villager and are happy we didn't. There's still plenty of room for a few bottles of shampoo.

I think you are spot on to put the tub in a Jack and Jill bathroom. We have young kids and wouldn't buy a house that had a shower instead of a tub.


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RE: Bathtubs

> Repairs invariably need to be repaired again.

Well, that's certainly true for anything I've ever found for fixing chips in cast iron, but staceyneil hasn't said anything about hers failing and her teenage daughter has been using the tub for a couple of years now.

But I agree that if you want a forever tub, cast iron is it, as long as nobody chips it.


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