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Tubs still a bathroom mainstay

Despite trend toward fancy showers, tubs aren't going anywhere

By: By Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 06:00 am

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  • MODERN TWEAKS – Bathtubs are deeper than they used to be and have steep sides that drop straight down.
    MODERN TWEAKS – Bathtubs are deeper than they used to be and have steep sides that drop straight down.
    APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette
  • ENDURING APPEAL – Despite the popularity of elaborate showers; people in the homeselling business say every house needs at least one bathtub.
    ENDURING APPEAL – Despite the popularity of elaborate showers; people in the homeselling business say every house needs at least one bathtub.

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Should you take that rarely-used tub out of your home when renovating, replacing it with a trendy walk-in, four or five-foot shower? Personal preference will determine that answer, but when it comes to the resale of your home, realtors are careful to advise home-sellers to create the broadest appeal possible to all buyers, and that most often means having a tub in the house.

“There’s no question, in the last five years the trend is toward bigger, better showers – exotic ones with body jets and steam showers, but you still want to have at least one tub in the house. Our new homes always have a tub/shower combo in one of the bathrooms,” said Ryan Boser, associate broker with Sarasota Realty.

So while today’s homeowner may only have time to grab a quick shower, or long for the trendy, spa-like touches of the new showers – rain showerhead and all – many insist the demise of the tub is greatly over-exaggerated.

In fact, the tub and all its poetic charm – think vintage, romantic, relaxing – remains very much in vogue. And ask anyone with young children, or a mud-covered dog that needs washing – you want a home with a tub. How else can the kids partake in a bubble bath with rubber ducky in tow?

Boyd Wilkes, owner of Bodacious Baths in St. Albert, sees as much interest in tubs as ever – especially soaker types – whether in condo or house renovations.

“Older tubs had more of a bowl shape – now it’s a straight drop and deeper – 18 or 21 inches,” said Wilkes, who carries models from Mirolin, Maax and HyTec, some installed with surrounds or tiled walls and tub skirts, and others as a free-standing focal point in a more spacious bathroom.

“Jetted tubs are definitely out – too hard to clean and hardly used. But we sell air tubs with tiny holes, that appeal to buyers who like the bubbling water.”

Do you fancy a clawfoot, vintage-type tub, an oasis to fill with soapy bubbles, while you listen to music or read a book, a glass of wine at the ready? It’s not only the romantic, Victorian-look tubs that work in that scenario. Retailers offer clean-lined, modern bathtubs that can fit today’s nature-inspired, spa-like bathrooms of natural tile and stone, with sleek round, oval or square-shaped tubs and free-standing faucets.

“But none of it comes cheap,” Wilkes says. “To install just a new tub, tile and valves, it’s still going to cost around $5,000.”

He said he can remove and replace a tub and fixtures in about three days, or complete a full bathroom re-do in seven days.

St. Albert Rona store manager Marcel Podlosky said he sells plenty of tubs to do-it-yourself renovators and contractors, from the basic, built-in style with ceramic tile walls and floors, to the most popular two-piece built-ins, with an acrylic tub surround.

Freestanding models sell here too and all tubs vary greatly in price, from $129 to $3,000.

For seniors or anyone with trouble getting in and out of a tub, some manufacturers are creating what may be the way of tubs to come. American Standard now has a walk-in bathtub, complete with grab bar, handheld shower, whirlpool system and heater, usually selling for about $1,500.

Since statistics show that falls account for the majority of bathroom accidents among all ages, it’s likely we’ll see more tubs that meet this need.


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