The Lily Bain Guide to ....Baths

Baths are now available in a wide range of shapes and sizes with most fitting into the contemporary or traditional categories. Your choice of a bath will depend on a number of factors the most important being size and how it will fit seamlessly into your bathroom. A bath can be used as a design feature centred free standing in the bathroom and possibly not used often for its intended cleaning purpose.

Different Types of Bath

• Straight, corner or shower baths
• Free Standing
• Whirlpool & Jacuzzi

Styles are usually classified as modern / designer or traditional.

Constructed From acrylic sheet 5mm-8mm thick or natural stone-like material.

Acrylic – This is by far the most popular and cost-efficient material for creating a standard bath. In the case of free-standing baths, these will be made from heavier acrylic sheets to ensure they are more robust as they are freestanding.

“Stone Like” – This term describes a raw material that is usually a composite of a number of materials such as volcanic limestone and resin mixes. These baths will be much heavier than a standard acrylic bath and more expensive. Unique material like Quarrycast from Victoria + Albert ( has insulating properties ensuring that the water stays warm longer when bathing.

Cast Iron – Heavy material and less conducive to keeping water warm. Cast iron baths have been around for a long time and tend to be found most in period properties. In recent years more modern designs have been produced in cast iron but most still tend to be traditional.

Types of baths:

Straight, Corner or Shower
These are predominantly made from acrylic sheets 5 mm-8 mm and are fixed to the walls in the bathroom to provide rigidity. There are multiple sizes available and your choice will depend a lot on use and the size of the bathroom e.g. if the purpose of a bath is mainly for bathing children and your bathroom is size restricted then a 1500mm long x 700mm bath will suffice.

Shower baths usually come with a bath screen included and will have a bow at one end (L or P Shaped) where you stand when showering and this affords you more “arm room”. When choosing a shower bath it is worth checking if the showering part of the bath is reinforced underneath.

These baths are made from acrylic sheets or natural material and whilst fulfilling a cleaning function they are used to make a design statement in most bathrooms. The free-standing bath is usually positioned out from the walls and in a central focal area e.g. under the window facing you when walking into the bathroom. In a variety of sizes, your choice will depend on the size of the bathroom and also sometimes budget with “Stone like” and Cast Iron baths costing considerably more than acrylic baths.

There has been an increase in the use of the bathroom as a “cocoon” and to aid this manufacturers have produced bath racks designed to facilitate the holding of books, wine glasses and other items.


Choice of Brassware – How do I fill my bath?

Water Pressure: A Key Point to consider – Before purchasing brassware to fill your bath it is important to consult your plumber as to the minimum operating pressure for your brassware. Choosing a high-pressure filler when you need low-pressure will result in it not working correctly or taking an inordinate amount of time to fill the bath.

Bath Filler – A bath filler can be mounted onto the bath or free-standing outside of the bath. A filler is just that and does not have a handset separate to the filling function.

Bath Shower Mixer – A bath shower mixer can be mounted on the bath or free-standing outside of the bath. The difference to a bath filler is that a mixer will also have a handset which can be used for hair or cleaning down the bath.

Important terminology to consider:

Encapsulated Baseboard
There is usually a chipboard base on your acrylic bath and this is connected to the acrylic sheet to provide stability when you are bathing or getting in and out of the bath. A fully encapsulated baseboard is sprayed with a coat of fibreglass to protect it from moisture ingress.

Reinforced Acrylic Sheet
The exterior of a bath i.e. the acrylic sheet is sprayed with coats of fibreglass after it is moulded into the bath shape. In the case of a ‘reinforced bath’ multiple coats of fibreglass will be sprayed onto the exterior to provide an exceptionally rigid and strong bath.

Shower Baths L or P
Shaped refers to the shape of the bow L = Square style P = Bow / Circular Style