August 27, 2013

Slipper backed Bath from

Freestanding versus Inset Baths
Originally baths were softly curved and stood away from the walls of a room, a trend that we’re now seeing revived, then in the 1950s the bath moved into the corner of a room and although this is still the most typical position of a bath they can be located anywhere in a room and even recessed into floor.

Freestanding Baths
Free standing baths previously were always traditional in style but the recent interest in bathrooms as a space of indulgence has seen modern freestanding baths coming to the fore. Free standing tubs should be located so as to minimize the amount of pipework exposed and the budget needs to allow for decorative pipework. Freestanding baths don’t normally come with an overflow although one can be installed in some baths on request. If wall mounted basin fillers are to be used be sure that the water will actually fall into the bath in its final position.

Canopy baths are rarely seen in modern bathrooms but they are a fantastic solution for those wanting a free standing bath with a combined shower.

Bateau baths elegantly turn up at either end to give better support to the bather. They are also quite a deep bath which is perfect for a leisurely soak.

Slipper-backed baths would typically be made out of traditional materials such as enamel-coated cast iron but more contemporary versions are beginning to appear on the market.

Although not popular in modern homes, small deep baths that you sit in rather than lie in are common place in modern Japan. Their size makes them ideal for small spaces but the high sides makes getting in and out of them tricky for the less agile amongst us. Historically these baths were called Sitz or Hip baths but In Japan they are called Ofuro baths.

Inset Baths
Nowadays the most popular shape for inset baths is still the rectangular bath, which if not inset into a tiled surround tends to come with a front and end panel. The size of rectangular baths varies from 1000mm to 1800mm long and from 700 to 1000mm wide, although the most popular size is 1700mm long by 700-750mm wide. Rectangular baths typically come with pre-drilled tap holes. Single-ended baths will have the holes at one end while double-ended baths will have the holes in the centre. Some baths come with no pre-drilled tap holes, so you can locate the taps wherever you want or use wall or floor-mounted spouts.

Tip: If your bath is to be boxed in and tiled make sure to match the depth of the top edge of the boxing to your tile to minimize cutting

Corner baths, as the name suggests, sit in the corner of a bathroom. When buying a corner bath make sure to specify whether you require a left or right-handed tub and where you would like the taps located.

A shower bath is tapered to be wider at one end than the other giving you a generous showering space while still allowing you the means to have a long soak when you need one.

Special Baths
Whirpool baths have jets in the side through which the bath water is circulated using a pump. Air mixes with the water during this process to create bubbles. The intensity of the bubbles can be regulated by the user by way of a bath-mounted or remote control. Whirpool baths can be very heavy, weighing between 70 – 100 kilograms, so the floor of your bathroom needs to be strong enough to take this weight. The motor and pipework of a whirpool bath will need to accessible for maintenance so be sure to leave enough space beside the bath to allow this. Spa baths differs from whirpool baths in that they don’t circulate bath water, they only blows air through holes in the bottom of the bath.

Bath Components
Bath panels hide all of the plumbing under rectangular baths, are typically made from acrylic or timber and are either screwed into place or held by magnetic catches.

The position of the drain in relation to the bottom of the basin is designated as left, right or center. Be sure to select a drain position that is consistent with the pipes that will be leading to the drain.

Installing Baths
Builders tend to use tubs as a repository for tools and materials, make sure the surface of the bath is adequately protected during construction.

The Irish Building Regulations state that waste pipes from baths must discharge into a gully between the grating or sealing plate and the top of the water.

The Dublin City Bye-laws state that the cold water supply to the bath should be taken from the storage cistern and not from the mains.

Material Options
Baths typically come in 10 materials; solid stone, composite stone, thermal-formed acrylic, gel-coated fiberglass, enamel-coated cast iron, porcelain enamel coated steel, timber, copper, solid surfacing material and a recent addition, Soft Bath®.

Although very durable solid stone is extremely heavy and susceptible to staining by oils, etching by hard water and acidic cleaners. It is also vulnerable to cracking due to over tightening of plumbing fixtures or thermal shock. For this reason you are advised not to use water over 66 degrees Celsius in solid stone baths.

Composite stone is a modern and lighter alternative to solid stone and is made from crushed limestone and polyester resin with a gel coated finish. Like its solid cousin it is vulnerable to cracking due to over tightening of plumbing fixtures or thermal shock but unlike it’s stone cousin the plastic component in it makes it susceptible to burning. It is said to be stronger and less brittle than solid stone bath tubs and although it scratches, these are repairable.

By far the most popular material for baths today thermal-formed acrylic is economical, lightweight, colourfast, easy to repair, easy to clean, a good insulator and resistant to more non-corrosive chemicals. That said it is flammable and may be damaged by strong chemicals or any product containing acetates. It is also susceptible to scratching over time but because the colour goes all the way through they not too noticeable and the surface can be buffed back to mint condition once the material is of sufficient thickness. When it comes to thermal-formed acrylic baths the key is thickness, the thicker the material the more resistant the bath will be to stress fracture and the longer it will keep hot water hot. Foam bedding under acrylic bathtubs will minimize cracks.

Generally the least expensive bath tub material gel-coated fibreglass (FRP) is very lightweight and can be repaired but it is not colourfast, durable or resilient and scratches easily and like thermal-formed acrylic is flammable. Higher grade units will have a thicker gel-coating, greater the layers of fiberglass, added support around the bathing well and a foam inner core to increases heat and sound insulation. Some manufacturers offer reinforced fiberglass tubs with a gloss white gel-coat that look just like an original cast iron tub.

Early metal baths were made from copper or galvanised iron / tin and although copper is still readily available galvanised iron / tin has given way to porcelain enamel-coated steel, Enamel-coated cast iron and stainless steel.

Contrary to popular belief copper baths do not lose heat any quicker than cast iron baths and their lightness makes them a viable option on in first floor bathrooms; a copper bateau bath weighs only about 40kgs, whereas a cast iron equivalent would be around 160kgs. The inside of copper baths can be finished in copper, tin, brass or nickel.

The smooth finish to porcelain enamel-coated steel makes this material very popular with the hotel industry as it makes for a very hygienic and easy to clean surface. It is also inexpensive, lightweight, colourfast, flameproof and resistant to acid, corrosion or abrasion. On the downside it will rust If chipped and can be noisy if unless a decent thickness (gauge) of steel is used.

Enamel-coated cast iron is the most traditional of all bath tub materials and the most durable, which is just as well as it can be hard to repair if it is damaged. It is flameproof and resistant to acid, corrosion or abrasion. That said a cast iron bath is a very heavy object, weighing an average of 100 kilos, when empty but it is this density that makes it a great insulator of both noise and heat. As it is fired at a higher temperature than enamel-coated steel it can been made in more vivid colours and with a deeper gloss finish. It can also be made with a non-skid base if a shower is to be fitted over it.

Timber has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years as material for bath tubs and although beautiful to look at it does have it’s flaws. It is susceptible to rot, warping and cracking particularly if used infrequently and allowed to dry out. If you are buying a wood bath opt for a dense timber, such as teak, that has been grown slowly and for added protection waterproof the floor underneath the tub.

Most frequently seen as kitchen countertops Corian® has recently moved into the bathroom. Corian® is the brand name for a solid surfacing material created by DuPont. The main benefits of a Corian® bath is the range of colours available and it’s nonporous nature, which makes it resistance to staining and easy to clean and maintain. Minor scratches, burns or discoloration are said to be easy to repair but major damage will need to be repaired by a certified fabricator/installer.

Another solid composite material, Ficore® is claimed to be the first material ever developed specifically for baths. Ficore baths need no metal or wooden supports, reinforcements, or chassis. Nor will they shift, creak or give and it is claimed to keep water hot six to twelve times longer than the various standard bath materials. It is resistant to scratches, cigarette burns and most chemicals – whether acid or alkaline. In the event of damage it is repairable and stains from hard water can easily be buffed out. On the aesthetic level Ficore® permits more sharply defined details and tighter angles and can be made in literally any colour.

Also ….. Technical Information on Taps, Bidets , Toilets (WCs), Washbasins and Showers




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