Kohler serenity bathtubChoosing the right bathtub for both new and renovated bathrooms can be one of the most difficult decisions a homeowner will make. The placement of the tub will be the primary factor in choosing the right piece, but there are other considerations as well; materials, fit, overall quality, and optional special features.

Location, location, location … and measuring matters

Where the new tub will live determines both the size of the tub and its shape. Will this be a replacement for a traditional shower-over-tub or is this a higher end drop-in with a tile surround? Does the new tub fit nicely in a corner or will it be free standing and the showpiece of the bathroom?

No matter which installation option makes the cut, the importance of measuring cannot be overstated. Taking into account a tile surround (extra space) or if the new bathtub will be free standing will result in two completely different sets of numbers.

There are also the various doorframes, hallways and stairways the new tub will traverse to consider. If homeowners can’t get the bathtub into the house, it won’t matter much if it fits in the bathroom.


Aesthetics and performance are the names of the game when it comes to choosing the right material for a new bathtub. Certainly how the new bathtub looks is important, but so is its longevity, how easy it is to clean and what it takes to maintain its good looks.

Acrylic is popular because it doesn’t weigh nearly what a cast iron tub weighs while solid surface and pure acrylic are gaining in popularity because they look like stone without weighing a ton. They’re also easy to clean and maintain; most of the time wiping them down with a damp cloth is all it takes.

Finding the right fit

Taking a bath is supposed to be a time to relax and let the stress of the day slip away, so take the time to make sure the new bathtub is the right fit for the folks who will be using it the most.

Try out the new tub, if possible, by getting inside it and stretching out. Is the end of the tub far enough away? Is the slope of the side comfortable enough for reclining? Are there grab bars for safe entrances and exits?


Bathtubs can be expensive, so spend time comparison shopping to get the biggest bang for the buck. Features, materials and manufacturer’s warranty should all be taken into account.

Additionally, homeowners should factor in the cost of removing the old tub because taking out a corner unit with a tile surround is much more costly than switching out an old drop-in for new one.


The larger the tub, the faster the water cools so installing a bathtub with a heater might be an option to consider. There are also models available that incorporate electronic controls, sound and programmable light therapy to energize or soothe, respectively.

One final check …

Finally, before shopping for a new tub homeowners should double-check the strength of the floor underneath the new bathtub. While the weight of a new tub will vary depending on the material with which it’s made, the added weight of water and a human being can bring the total weight a floor needs to bear to 1,000 pounds or more.