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Sharing my Bathtub Research

Posted by belasea (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 1:10

Everyone has been so helpful, so I thought I would share our bathtub search experience. The bathroom we are doing will have a shower over a tub and I like taking baths as well.

I was dead set on a cast iron tub until I realized that all of the cast iron tubs manufactured now have a non-slip bottom. I found out that this non-slip bottom is challenging to clean. I even went and looked in the showrooms, and sure enough they were all gray. My research on gardenweb and talking to contractors/plumbing stores also confirmed that they were difficult to clean. Not impossible, just difficult and I just wasn't up for the challenge.

I was very reluctant to go with fiberglass since our current fiberglass tub looks yellowed and horrible. However, I've been told they are built much better now, and we went with a thicker model. I also wanted one with a built in flange.

Next, came the height. I wanted one deep enough to take a nice bath, but not 20 inches high because it is higher than I want to step over as we age. Why don't more manufacturers make tubs 18 inches deep? Why are most 14 or 20?

We considered:
Kohler Bellwether - did not like the nonslip surface, but like the shape
Mirabelle Edenton - saw some complaints about chipping and not draining properly. I visited Fergusons, and the salesman did not deny it and said it was up to my contractor to test the tub. My contractor said he has installed these tubs without a problem, but it was higher than I wanted and decided it wasn't worth the risk.
Hydrosystems Lacey and the Sydney - both 20 inches high or higher
Americh Turo - after much research, went with this tub. Our contractor said these are good tubs, and the Plumbing store said another contractor installed it in his own house. It's only 18 inches high, 32 inches wide (also comes 30 wide), but has a deep bath. We purchased the non-airbath model. It has arrived and we're very happy with how it looks. Here is a picture of it. I'll post better pictures after its installed, but thought this may help someone else out who may be looking for 18" height tub.

This post was edited by belasea on Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 1:18


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

> was very reluctant to go with fiberglass since our current fiberglass tub looks yellowed and horrible.

There is a big difference between fiberglas (your old tub) and acrylic (the Turo). Acrylic is generally considered much superior to fiberglas.

The turo looks like a very good choice.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

FWIW, we have two Toto 1525 cast iron tubs with no-slip grips on the bottom, as well as a Kohler cast iron shower pan with no-slip on the bottom as well. Ours look as clean and white as the day we got them, and they really aren't difficult to clean.

Every week to two weeks I clean-clean the tubs (we wipe ours out with a paper towel after showering to get rid of loose hair, or errant blobs of shaving cream, or conditioner). I spray with Lysol aerosol bathroom spray, let sit (for however long it takes me to clean the sink, toilet, tub surround), re-spray if needed, and then clean it off with hot water from the tub filler faucet, and a wet microfiber cloth. That's it.

If the no-slip grips do happen to look grimy (very dirty bare feet will sometimes leave smudges, as will the bottoms of rubber soled work boots worn by someone working on the plumbing or tile), I will take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, dampen it, and go over the floor of the tub with it (usually a light rub is all it needs, occasionally it takes a slightly stronger touch).

To address the height/stepping into the tub "issue", you can have the tub "recessed" into your floor. Our plumber told DH to use thicker plywood for the second layer of sub-flooring, after the tub went in, so the sub-floor under the tub ended up being a little lower than the floor surrounding the tub when all was said and done. This way, the step into/out of the tub is easier.

HTH!


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Kaution in the Kohler Bellwether model shapes. I have the new Bellwether k-836, and I think I am going to like it very much. It is only 14" deep, so probably not for you as it is shallow. The K-836 has similar dimensions as the Kohler Villager and considered good for standard alcove installations.

BUT the old Kohler Bellwether k-867 has an odd interior shape that people find problematic on 2 points. First the front end angles forward creating the need for an extra long tub filler, not your standard length. Second that forward angle in the front makes for a short bottom and I've heard several not be happy with this. I don't think you can stretch out in it. It is a deeper tub though.

Here is my Bellwether k-836 installed. It is 5' long. The room is 6.5'x9.5' The faucet will be on the left in a cabinet.
slate tile grouted with Laticrete epoxy grout, 1part Silver Shadow and 3parts Platinum


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Thanks, writersblock, that is a good clarification that it's acrylic and not fiberglass! :) It looks so much better than my old fiberglass tub. Before my bathtub search, I didn't know a lot about acrylic tubs, hence why I was so set on a cast iron tub until I learned about all of the differences. Hope all of these good suggestions about cleaning and the shapes help other fellow gardenwebbers in their search.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Thanks for posting Belasea. This will help (to know that they're out there-a good compromise for a tub/shower combo.

Enduring I love your floor. You can point me to the post if you've already discussed, but you have proved me wrong. I was afraid a herringbone pattern was out for a bathroom of that size. I don't think I have ever been so happy to be wrong. I can not wait to see the rest of your bathroom. Please excuse is you see a copy of the room in a few years in Iowa.


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Hey IowaCommute, yours will be the SECOND one in Iowa ;)


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Belasea, this is great information. It is making me re-think my cast iron choice for current remodel! I should really go to a showroom to look at some tubs to see if the non-slip material looks gray.

To add to your info, we did another bath remodel last year and I ended up choosing the Kohler Bancroft, which is an acrylic deep soaking tub. It is also our daily/heavy use shower. The nonslip surface is sort of ugly and pebbled, but there's no getting away from the nonslip issue. I chose it at a Ferguson's, where I noticed that many of the cast iron tubs had noticeable "stripes" of nonslip material. Hard to believe they can't come up with something better!

The Bancroft looks good, HOWEVER, it is annoying to keep clean. It gets dull and full of soap scum within a day or two and dirty footprints (my husband likes to walk around barefoot) show up immediately and stick around. I think maybe I should have gone for cast iron in this bathroom because it tends to stay shiny a bit longer and the enamel repels scum better than acrylic. (???) This is just my personal experience--is there ANY perfect option out there for a tub/shower combo??

Enduring, your floor makes me swoon every time I see it. Can't believe you managed that on your own. It is stunning and I can't wait to see your finished photos.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Enduring, I love your floor pattern and tile. Can you share who makes your tile and the style name? Thanks!


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Blondelle, thanks for the compliment. See below.

The picture is presented to show my Bellwether K-836 cast iron tub for the OP. I wanted to give them a sense of this tub in the space. I am glad I got this modest clean lined tub for this room.

The tile is a brazilian black slate tile that was 12x12 in size that I cut down to 6x12. The slate was a special order product from Home Depot. The off the shelf slate was very flaky. The special order tile was perfect, solid and gaged. I will post several link below where I described my floor project. This is probably way more info than you want. Hope it inspires:)

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bath/msg0410244520480.html
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bath/msg1018243624090.html
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bath/msg11234450612.html


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Thanks! No wonder it looks so good - it's the real thing! Was hoping it was a porcelain rendition of slate...LOL!


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As to the suggestion to recess a tub into a floor, that's a big NO! That's a slip/trip safety hazard to do that, especially for those who are becoming frailer as they age. Even the addition of a safety grab bar won't help when there are different heights and wet feet. You also shouldn't build steps, or a platform to a tub either, even though you see that frequently in design magazines. I cringe every time I see a giant marble altar with a tub in the middle as that is a sure recipe for a cracked skull.


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It's a subtle recess; NOT a deep one that would throw a person's balance off (NOT a big drop at all). Rather, it's just enough that it makes it easier to step into and out of the tub (over the top/side). I am THE biggest klutz of all, and I don't anticipate that changing as I move further into middle and then older age. LOL I don't whack my shins while stepping into or out of the tub as I often did in our old bathroom, trying to navigate my way over the edge of the tub. Fewer slips and slides stepping into the tub too. It really makes it easier for me, and DH likes it better as well.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Thanks for posting your research. As a result of another post on GW a while back, I am leaning in the direction of getting the Kohler Greek tub which comes in a 48" length - our bath is too narrow for a regular 5 ft.

Like you, I hope to bathe as well as use shower in our new tub yet to be purchased. The Kohler Greek tub. It's 23 inches deep (same height as our clawfoot tub measuring from the floor - we want to replace the clawfoot tub - decided we didn't like it) with actual "operational water depth" at 17.5". I'm hoping with the aid of vertical grab bars on each side of the tub which will be in an alcove, my husband and I will be able to move in and out easily. No steps - steps sound scary to me especially since I have balance problems sometimes.

Here's a link below to a thread on the Greek Tub for anyone reading this doing bathtub research for deep tub plus shower. Hope anyone with feedback (especially negative) will comment:
Greek Tub Thread

Thanks for the info about the finish. I too was wondering if we should buy cast iron.


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Funny--I .rarely check this forum anymore but happened to read this thread. I love the Greek tub. If you get it, make sure that you install a flange to prevent water seeping behind the tub. As you can see, we did one vertical grab bar which works out great. I think the step is essential because it makes it much easier to get into and out of the tub. Also, the step cuts down on the vertical wall created by a very high tub side.


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When we did our bath about four years ago I wanted cast iron. And it had to be small and short as the room was exactly six feet across (the tub is installed against that narrow end wall). I got the Porcher Ardennes. It fit perfectly. It is cast iron. It does have the non slip surface but I have not had a problem cleaning. Just in case anyone else out there is looking for a cast iron tub.


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Thank you Belasea for posting this tub and picture. I think the Americh Turo is just what I have been looking for! This site is so great!


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Dalo, glad to help. Here is the Americh Turo tub installed.


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belasea - your frameless shower door looks interesting - does it have a frame on top that is not shown in the picture? Since it seems it must slide forward somehow to keep water inside the tub once you get in?

Your config is just like ours and would love to see a bigger picture or have some product info? Even with frame on top - this looks like it would be perfect for us.


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Hi Elphaba - the shower head is actually on the same side of the wall as the toilet. We wanted the room to feel more open. It was easy to move the shower head and it was our contractor's idea. He said he is doing this on purpose a lot and it allows us to turn on the water without being in the shower which has been nice. The door does not move. I'm attaching a bigger picture that may be helpful for you to see the top. We're still finishing up the bathroom and I'll probably post more pictures soon.


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belasea - very interesting - never thought about putting shower head on opposite wall from tub spout. We need to gut our small bath (for complicated reasons) so I think we could do the same without too much of a problem - I think this orig config with toilet (closely) adjacent to tub is fairly common. THANKS SO MUCH for posting and thanks to the original poster of this thread for providing the impetus for this sharing - sorry for hijacking. Gotta get some approval from contractor and from husband but looks very good right now!


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Hi Elphaba - I'm the original poster as well :-). I'm happy to answer any questions or post more pictures. I love gardenweb and am so happy to share. gardenweb has been so helpful to us!


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Thank you Belasea for posting your pictures. We are just starting to think about what we want to do in our guest bath. This is exactly what I had in my mind!! So glad to see an actual picture of it and one that I can share with my husband so he doesn't think I'm nuts ;)

Does much water end up out of the tub from showering? That was my only concern. Would love to see more pics!

Thanks again for sharing!


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Love your shower/tub as I mentioned but also wanted to say that if we are able to go this way, I plan for us to have some grab bars - one horizontal probably along the length of the tile wall and ALSO one vertical on the right as we get into the shower and maybe even a small horiontal bar (combined with a niche) beneath the fixed shower head.

I had a dear friend die recently from a fall and at the funeral, the first thing her son said when he was eulogizing was that everyone, young and old should be sure to have bars in the shower! (before going on to say the normal kind of touching things about his mother...)

I'm a good one for taking advice sometimes. This is one time that when you decide you need bars, it is probably too late. Also remodeling makes it easier to put in "blocking" so the grab bars can be more strongly attached to the wall.

Sorry to get off the subject but thought I'd use this as a soap box to anyone remodeling a shower/bath.


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Hi Onedog - here is a picture of the shower, but it's a little distorted because I was using the panoramic feature on my iphone.

We are able to take a shower without water getting outside, and it's working out well! We did need to use a shower arm that faced in a downward position. Our faucet is Graff, but we are using a Grohe Shower Arm. It gives our small bathroom a more open feel. Note, I don't have a hand-held in this shower. I not sure that I would be able to use a hand held without getting water everywhere, but I haven't used them but once. :) Hope this helps.

Elphaba - that's a good suggestion for grab bars. Very sorry for your loss. :(.


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Thanks belasea for the additional info! I had been thinking about a rain showerhead/hand held combo, so maybe I should re-think that. I just love the open feel you have in your bathroom. I'm tired of shower curtains and don't really want shower doors. Thanks again!


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One other thing. I'm guessing your drain is on the right? Ours is too, but so is our toilet. My plan was to have the shower on the right and faucet and filler on the left.

Not sure about having the drain on the right though. What kind of drain stop do you have?

Thanks :)


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

Hi one-dog, yes our drain is on the right side and our toilet and shower head are on the left side. I think it's a gerber drain stop, if I remember correctly. The plumbing store helped pick it out. I just turn that knob under the faucet, and the drain goes down. Hope that helps!


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Belasea, How are you liking your Americh Turo tub?

Someone commented that after two years, their Americh tub (don't remember which brand) developed blisters on the acrylic surface and that Americh was not helpful.
Hope this is not happening to your tub.

Can you please tell me the depth to overflow of your 18" high Turo? Americh claims 15 1/2" - is that about right?

Thank you! Hope you're enjoying your tub.
And thanks so much for sharing your research!


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I'm in the thinking-about-it stage of redoing my guest bath. It has a shower over tub and I plan to keep it that way. Currently I have a framed bypass glass door that sits atop the tub. In my master bath I don't have a tub but the alcove is the same size. I have an unframed bypass door there.

Although the open look of one piece of glass is very appealing, I do not understand how you contain the water, even with your showerhead facing down, and I'm not sure that I want to be constrained to stand in one spot.

I don't take wild showers where water gets flung every which way. However, at the end of my shower I squeegee every time without fail. The back door (the one missing in belasea's bathroom) is just as wet and drippy as the one closer to the showerhead. I don't know if it's from splashing or condensation. But I do know if there wasn't a glass door there it would end up on the floor or walls.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

great thread! I am a total bath girl, but realize for resale when I add a master bath to my master bed it should have a shower. I want a nice deep tub with a slanted back. Question. Are you able to save money when you use a freestanding tub because you don't have to tile the wall behind it? provided the tub is far enough from the wall? I am not sure how I would work this with a shower, but always looking at ways to cut costs. Like the look of a freestanding tub too.


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freestanding tub ?

I am a total bath girl, but realize for resale when I add a master bath to my master bed it should have a shower. I want a nice deep tub with a slanted back. Question. Are you able to save money when you use a freestanding tub because you don't have to tile the wall behind it? provided the tub is far enough from the wall? I am not sure how I would work this with a shower, but always looking at ways to cut costs. Like the look of a freestanding tub too.


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RE: Sharing my Bathtub Research

belasea, can you tell me what type of faucet you used in your tub? I love the lines of it. And thanks for posting your photo, I may actually use this idea of the shower head on the opposite side for my upcoming remodel!


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