Is An Alcove Bathtub Right For Your Bathroom?

A relaxing night in the bathtub is one of the best ways to wind down from a stressful week. The type of bathtub can make all the difference. But it's also important to choose a bathtub that works best for your bathroom. There are a variety of bathtub styles and installation methods and it's important to understand the differences so you can make an informed decision.

An alcove bathtub is one of the most popular styles and standard for most homes, according to The Bathtubber. Alcove tubs are installed into a three-wall enclosure built for the tub. The three sides that are attached to the wall are unfinished but the front-facing side is called an apron and covers the underside of the tub. While alcove tubs may be popular, they may not be the best choice for your bathroom. Whether you're looking for a tub replacement or a new tub altogether, here's how to know if an alcove bathtub is the right choice for you.

Overview of an alcove bathtub

Along with being among the most popular bathtub styles, alcove bathtubs are also one of the most affordable, costing, on average, between $295 and $650, according to Modernize. The price is affected by the material and size of the tub, as well as installation labor costs. Fiberglass and acrylic, for example, are less expensive material options than cast iron, which can cost way above average.

Alcove bathtubs are made to fit most standard bathrooms, so they often come in standard dimensions, the most common being 60 inches by 32 inches with a depth of 16 inches. You can combine alcove tubs with a showerhead, and the tub itself can come with whirlpool jets. There are also tubs that are deeper to provide more of a soaking effect.

This style of tub is often compared to drop-in tubs, and while the two are similar, there are major differences. Alcove tubs better fit in small spaces and adding a shower is much easier than with a drop-in tub, which also can require a lot more space.

Pros and cons of alcove bathtubs.

Besides the price and the easier installation, there are other benefits to adding an alcove tub to your bathroom. The lower sides of the alcove bathtub allow you to use less water for your bath, especially when compared to a freestanding tub, per Innovate Building Solutions. The lower sides also make it easier to get into, which is great for anyone with mobility issues or for small children. The lower sides also make it easier to clean all around the bathtub. Further, they're more space-efficient and can easily be installed over an existing drain if you're looking to replace your current tub.

Of course, with benefits, there are also downsides. For example, some may find the bathtub's design, which requires the tub to be attached to walls, limiting. Alcove tubs also aren't available in a ton of materials; the tub is more about function. And their lack of statement-making aesthetic may have homeowners looking for a tub with a little more wow factor.

So is an alcove tub right for your bathroom? Yes, probably. Logistically, the tub fits into nearly every bathroom. The installation is also easy and the cost won't break the bank. But if you're looking for your bathtub to be a feature of your bathroom, an alcove tub probably isn't the right decision. In this case, you may opt for a flashier tub, but an alcove tub might work best in kids' rooms and guest rooms, if not in a primary suite.