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  • Writer's pictureElla

Ultimate Bath Buying Guide

The choice of baths available on the market is outstanding but this can often lead to confusion and people purchasing one of the very first baths they see. The bath is or should be the centrepiece of the whole bathroom. Much like the bed in a bedroom, having the right bath can make or break the bathing experience.

In this guide, we aim to help you in navigating your way through picking the perfect bath for you. There are various considerations when choosing a bath but first and foremost you must understand your own requirements. So quickly note down what you aim to get out of your bathroom space, who it is mainly used by and how you envision yourself feeling within your bathroom. These will all help in choosing a bath that not only suits the space but suits you.


Things to Consider

Which Bath Material is Best?

At James Hargreaves Bathrooms we stock a wide range of the highest quality acrylic baths. Acrylic has slowly become the more popular material of baths, preferred by many to the more traditional steel manufactured baths. With acrylic being more flexible than steel it offers an overall larger range in both shapes and sizes; it is also warmer on touch than steel making it suitable for all members of the family to use. If you find yourself still wanting to more no more about steel baths, please feel free to contact us directly and we will be happy to discuss your options.

One more technical element of the bath that should be considered is the thickness of the baseboard. The baseboard is usually made from chipboard and bonded to the bottom of the bath to aid the rigidity and support of the bath. The jargon ‘fully encapsulated’ which you will see on many baths, refers to the fact that this baseboard has been completely sealed in by the reinforcing material (usually acrylic).

While acrylic offers greater flexibility in its formation, certain brands have still found it to be too rigid. Brands have gone on to develop their own materials in order to create baths that meet their particular specifications. One such brand is Villeroy & Boch. Quaryl is a mixture of 60% natural quartz and high-quality sanitary acrylic. It has the robust and durable properties of acrylic but also contains some additional elements from the quartz. The liquid moulding process used allows for V&B to produce baths where all the edges are exactly precise. Another benefit is that Quaryl has low thermal conductivity meaning the water will stay longer than in an acrylic bath. This shows that when looking into baths that it is worth looking into specific manufacturers to see what benefits their materials offer.

Best Place to Install a Bath

The size of your bathroom will largely narrow down your search for a bath. For replacing an existing bath, you will simply need to measure your bath/ bath space. If you are going for a full bathroom remodel, the design and layout of the bathroom needs to be carefully considered to maximise the use of space and create the desired finish. From this, you will be able to decide on the size and style of bath that is best suited to your bathroom.

Bath Use

A bath’s functionality reflects directly into the design and overall look of the bath. So, you must decide the main purpose of your bath, both in the context of the bathroom space and your bathing requirements. Will it be for a luxurious bathe after a long day or as a combination of both showering and bathing? Will it serve as an opulent showpiece or as a functional family-friendly piece? While there are arguments that these categories can crossover, understanding how and when you will most often use your bath will help in choosing the correct style.

What Types of Baths Are Available?

Each style of bath has its own pros and cons that can differ depending on the room or the buyer’s lifestyle. At James Hargreaves, we stock everything from opulent free-standing baths to the more practical showering baths, all are finished to the highest standard and will look effortlessly stylish within any bathroom.

Double-Ended or Single-Ended - Which is Best For You?

The first and most important choice. Double-ended or single-ended. All bathtubs have two ends, but this ending refers to the incline of the bathtub. Double-ended baths are inclined at both ends allowing for bathers to lie at both ends. In double-ended baths the drain and overflow is more likely to be situated within the centre of the bath, meaning there can be unobstructed bathing from each end of the bath. Double-ended baths can be found in a multitude of sizes and are ideal for adding a statement piece in terms of the bath and taps used.

While single-ended baths only have a back slope at one end. This means that in single-ended baths the drain and overflow hole is usually placed at the opposite end to the slope and there is usually space on the bath edge at this end for a mixer or shower attachment. Single-ended baths are most commonly found in smaller bathrooms where space is at a premium. However, they do come in larger sizes for bigger bathrooms and for a more luxurious bathing experience, free-standing slipper baths add a level of opulence to the bathroom.

Would Your Bathroom Suit a Back-to-Wall Bath?

Back-to-wall baths are deceptive to the eye. Specifically designed to create the illusion of space within the bathroom, these baths mimic the style of free-standing baths, yet they sit flat to the wall. This means they take up less space while still providing the same lavish look and experience as a freestanding bath.

Ideal for placing in the middle of a long wall, the majority of back-to-wall baths are double-ended. Usually curved in design, contemporary angular versions are slowly appearing on the market, these baths have ample space for relaxing with the usual width being 1800mm. Central wastes and a back-to-wall design lend themselves to wall-mounted taps for that overall luxurious look.

Odd Shaped Bathroom? - Corner Baths

Bathrooms come in all shapes and sizes and so do baths. True corner baths are for those bathrooms where everything needs to be juggled around to make the most of the space. Much like a quadrant shower tray, they are Ideal for awkward spaces, perfect for creating more room to move around the bathroom. Adamsez's Arc bath sits in the corner of the room making the most of the space available.

Duravit and Laufen offer corner baths that are simply installed in the corner of the room and follow the standard oblong bath style but with a curved edge to bring a spacious flow to the bathroom.

Showering Baths - Ultimate Dual Purpose Bath

An increasingly ever-popular choice, shower baths are ideal for bathrooms with limited space. Combining both the luxury of a bath with the essential modern desire for a shower, this style of bath has become a firm favourite across the industry for the modern bathroom.

Taking up less space than having a separate shower and bath, the overall design optimises space while giving the bathroom heaps of functionality. Always single-ended, shower baths can either be curved (p-shaped) or more angular and either left or right-handed.

Free-Standing Baths - Elegant Flair

Seen as the epitome of luxury bathing. Free-standing baths exude grandeur and opulence. From the traditional roll-top Esq designs of Heritage to the ultra-modern looking Axor Urquiola there is a free-standing bath for every room. Coming in large and small sizes, free-standing baths can be incorporated into a variety of bathroom designs. Paired with either free-standing or deck-mounted taps the option for free-standing baths are endless.

Single-ended slipper baths provide a slight delicate touch due to their curvature and are perfect for those wanting the ultimate bathing experience for one. For maximum opulence, maybe consider the possibility of a bath with traditional bath feet. To experience true bathing pleasure, double-ended free-standing baths are sumptuously inviting. The extravagant finishes of Heritage’s metal effect baths (in copper, gold or steel) will be a true showstopper within the bathroom. Not forgetting the modern iterations where you are able to cocoon yourself in the curves of the bath for a true spa environment within your bathroom.


How to Perfectly Finish Of Your Bath Installation

As discovered each type and style of bath is highly individual, due to this certain components are required for a seamless finish. Each bath will have its own overflow to waste dimension, and this will help determine the waste required. To decorate the pipework in free-standing baths, traditional-looking shrouds and standpipes can be used for a polished finish.

For the majority of baths that aren’t free-standing, bath panels are a practical choice over tiling the bath in to blend with the bathroom. Fully enclosing the bath and hiding unsightly pipework and framework, bath panels come in sleek wrap-around versions and colourful options (to match furniture), as well as standard white, to match the bath.

For certain free-standing baths, bath feet are required to complete the bath's design. Helping to lift the bath of the floor and making drainage plumbing easier, Heritage offers a range of styles of bath feet for their baths. From the ornate traditional claw feet to more rounded-shaped feet.

With showering baths, a bath shower screen is key. While designer fabric shower curtains are slowly creeping back into fashion, shower screens provide a greater comfort of mind and have a somewhat more appealing look. Curved (p-shaped) baths must be used with dedicated shower screens that match the radius of the curve of the bath. Whether you are looking for a frameless fold-away option from Aqata or a more pronounced matt-black edge design from Roman, at James Hargreaves Bathrooms we have a multitude of options to suit every shower bath.

Bringing the spa to your home has never been easier than with a whirlpool system. Adding an extra depth to the bathing experience, Adamsez’s Whirlpool jet systems can be exclusively added to any of their baths. Set within the carcass of the bath itself and with up to 18 jets, you are able to fully customise the performance and feel of your bath.

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