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Reasons to Buy:
Having an alcove tub is a good option for those who like showering on some days and bathing on others because it lets you enjoy a long soak without a harsh stream of water washing over you. Most lack any type of faucets or hardware, which gives you the chance to customize the finished look of the product and make it work perfectly in your bathroom.
The KOHLER Expanse is a smart choice for any home or user who loves taking baths. It features a curve front apron that covers all the plumbing fixtures that provide you with water. You can easily get inside to access those features when needed without removing the entire Expanse.
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Thanks to American Standard, the next evolution in soaking and relaxing is here. The Evolution comes with a sloped back that you can rest on and a rest on each side for your arms. Though those features reduce the space inside, this one is still much deeper than others on the market.
American Standard opted for acrylic as the main material in the Evolution but then added in some fiberglass to reinforce that material and increase its lifespan. You’ll need to order a special max drain from the manufacturer before installing this model, which helps all the water you soak in go down the drain. This product mounts both above and under your bathroom alcove.
The KOHLER Expanse is one of the best tubs for soaking and relaxing because it’s so large, and you may even find that two people can comfortably sit inside. A curved apron on the front has an integrated design that will not require separate installation but still provides access to the plumbing inside. Both the drain and plumbing holes are on the left and can accommodate components from various manufacturers.
A tile flange skirts around the back and both ends and allows you to install it right against three walls. The flange keeps water that spills out from getting inside or behind the walls.
This model from KOHLER is suitable for anyone who has problems getting in and out of the tub because it’s only 19-inches high instead of the standard 21-inch height that others have. The manufacturer guarantees that you will still get the same amount of space inside though. KOHLER used its own acrylic material in the construction of this model, which now comes in a variety of different colors and finishes.
Other features include a left handed drain and a flange that surrounds the top edge. This flange acts as a barrier and keeps water from spilling over the sides and causing mold or mildew damage. It also has a molded piece on one end that KOHLER designed to support your back.
As long as you have a drain on the right side, you can use the Cambridge and enjoy taking baths again. Made by American Standard, this model is affordable enough for those on a budget but comes with features that those with more money to spend will appreciate like a non-slip base that runs all across the bottom and a porcelain design. Though the manufacturer coated the porcelain, it can flake off.
This model has a standard size that will fit right in the opening left behind by your old one. It has an integrated apron that provides access beneath and a bottom that is completely slip-proof. American Standard offers this model in different finishes to help you get the look you desire.
For a simple product that will match the look of your bathroom without costing a lot of money, there is this contemporary option from Kingston Brass. The bottom sits higher off the ground, which reduces the space inside and makes it more shallow, but it can still hold up to 64 gallons of water. Its drop-in design lets a plumber literally drop it right into an opening in your bathroom and connect all the lines.
Made from an acrylic material, this contemporary product also uses both resin and fiberglass. That combination of materials makes it last much longer. It also has holes on the sides that keep water from overflowing.
The top model available today is the American Standard 2422V002.020 Evolution Bathtub with Dual Molded-In Arm Rests, Undermount Option, which features an integrated apron with a sweeping front that actually curves along the bathroom floor. It is crafted in acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement, and has dual molded-in armrests, a pre-leveled tub bottom and an undermount installation option.
You won’t worry about slips and falls either because American Standard added a textured bottom that is slip proof. This model uses an acrylic material and features openings for installing both a drain and faucet of your choosing.
Alcove Bathub Buying Guide and Tips
How High Do You Need to Step to Climb Over the Side?
Manufacturers use the term step over height to refer to the total height of the product. A standard height is 21 inches, but some make shorter tubs for those with mobility problems. KOHLER makes several models that are only 19 inches high but are slightly wider and can hold the same amount of water.
Do You Need a Right or Left Drain?
These products only have one finished side, which is on the very front. The other three sides are unfinished and designed to sit flush or flat against the bathroom walls. That is why you must purchase one with a left or right drain that will work with your existing drain.
The easiest way to determine what you need is with a look at your existing model. If you buy one with a drain in the wrong spot, you cannot use it because this will make the unfinished side face the bathroom.
Are There Any Support Features?
Support features aren’t that important for those who just want to hop in and out, but those features are important for anyone who wants to take a long soak. Many come with a sloped end that you can rest your back on as you soak, but others have built-in lumbar support that cradles your back as you rest. You may find some with armrests too.
What Material is Best?
The most common material used in these tubs is some type of acrylic. This material is cheap, which helps manufacturers bring down their costs, and as manufacturers mold the products from one piece, any scratches or chips will blend because the same color comes through.
The main problem with this material is that it doesn’t last that long. You’re lucky to get 10 years out of one. Fiberglass lasts longer and comes in a number of different colors.
As you look at fiberglass though, look for those that feature both resin and fiberglass. You may find some with a cast iron or metal base that has layers of resin and fiberglass poured over the top. These models can last for 20 years or even longer.
How Many Gallons Can it Hold?
These products can hold a different amount of water that manufacturers measure in terms of gallons. Basic models will hold between 40 and 50 gallons, but other models can hold 60 gallons or more. Those that hold more water are larger in size and may be too large for your own bathroom.
How Can You Measure Your Bathroom?
Before purchasing any model to replace your old one, make sure that you measure the size of that old model. Use a measuring tape to check out its total depth as well as its width and height. This lets you know what size you need and whether you can set up a deeper model.
The standard measurements for one designed to fit in a specific space in a bathroom like an alcove is usually 60-inches long and 31-inches wide. These measurements refer to the outside edges of the tub though, which will make the inside a little smaller.