What are Free-Standing Baths?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Free-standing baths are any variety of bathtub that is not built into a wall or floor, but is an independent unit that can be moved as one piece. These baths may or may not feature a shower head, though most feature a spout by which the tub can be filled with water for bathing. Traditional free-standing baths were simple bucket-like containers that featured no plumbing; water was instead heated and then poured into the tub for bathing, and the bather very often could only fit part of his or her body in the tub at one time.

The cast iron claw foot tub is perhaps the most recognizable of all free-standing baths. This type of tub is made from heavy cast iron, which makes the tub exceptionally durable but also very heavy and difficult to move. The feet, or supports, of the tub are often shaped like claws, hence the name. The cast iron is coated with enamel or some other protective layer to keep the iron from being exposed to water that can lead to rust. The claw foot tub may or may not include plumbing for a shower head, though shower heads can be retrofitted or otherwise positioned from a wall to drain into the tub.


Other types of free-standing baths serve different purposes. A hot tub, for example, is a type of free-standing bath that is fitted with air jets that provide a massage to a bather, and some smaller bath tubs within the home can also be fitted with such jets. Free-standing hot tubs may require an electrical hook up to power a heater and motor for propelling water or air for the massaging features, and the tub itself is often made from molded acrylic that provides several ergonomic seats for comfort.

Many high-end bathrooms are fitted with free-standing baths as well as separate shower stalls to accommodate different methods of bathing. The shower allows a user to clean himself quickly and efficiently, while a tub can allow a person to soak in warm water for an extended period of time, either for cleaning oneself or simply for relaxing in the warmth of the water. Such tubs sometimes feature jets for added comfort, and the shell of the tub can be designed ergonomically for comfort, much like hot tub seats.


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