Traditional Freestanding Baths - Style of Bath

Traditional freestanding baths fall into a number of broad categories with regard to their general shape, two other issues of equal importance are the style of foot and the type of tap fittings required. Each of these and the main styles of traditional bath tub shape are described below. The information in this article is about contemporarily manufactured traditional style freestanding baths not antique baths.

Bath Foot Style

Traditional bath feet usually come in one of four broad styles although the variation within those styles can be great. Plain feet, ball and claw feet, often just called claw feet are in the form of a talon or claw gripping onto a ball which rests on the floor and takes the weight of the bath, lions paw feet are shaped like the paw of a lion standing on the bathroom floor and then there are various more or less Art Deco style feet that you can find on a few freestanding baths. Of these three categories the ball and claw feet come in such wide variation that the more stylised versions are barely recognisable as such with much of the detail gone. Plain feet are similar to the ball and claw in general shape but have no detail on them.

Bath feet are available in various materials and finishes, cast iron feet must be painted, most often they are painted black, white or the same colour as the bathroom walls. Feet are also available made from brass, either with a polished brass finish (which is often used with gold taps) or in electroplated chrome, gold (usually called antique gold), brushed nickel or bright nickel. Not all traditional baths have feet. In general feet are not interchangeable between baths although they may sometimes be that specific manufacturers use the same feet on two or more of their baths. You should never buy a bath without the feet unless you already know you can get the proper feet manufactured for that bath.

Roll Top and Tap Fittings

Its important to know when you buy a traditional freestanding bath what sort of taps you will use with it and what you will need to attractively plumb them in Traditional freestanding baths are often called roll top baths, this refers to the rolling edge of many traditional style of bath. It is not possible to mount a tap onto the rolling edge of a roll top bath. A traditional solution to this was to drill the taps hole in the side of the bath just above the overflow the taps used are shaped to come up at right angles to the water inlet so they are in the same form as a deck mounted set of taps. These taps are called globe taps, they usually come as a pair of taps, hot and cold. Globe taps are only really used these days with antique cast iron roll top baths.

More generally these days roll top baths onto which taps can be mounted have what's called a tap platform. A tap platform is a flattened part of the bath edge into which tap holes can be drilled and taps mounted. For baths onto which taps can't be mounted you will use either wall mounted or floor mounted taps. Note also that there are some contemporarily manufactured and, broadly speaking, traditionally styled baths that do not have a roll top as such and onto which taps could in theory be mounted anywhere on the edge of the bath.

Traditional Single Ended

This is the simplest of the traditional bath styles, its a level topped tub sitting on four feet, in plan its rounded at the head end (where your head would go if you were lying in it) and flat at the foot end. The plug hole and overflow are at the foot end of the bath. If it has a tap platform that is also at the foot end of the bath. Its distinguished from a slipper bath by being the same height all around the top of the bath.

Traditional Double Ended

This is essentially the same as the traditional single ended bath but in plan it is rounded at both ends and the plug hole and overflow in the middle of one of the long sides of the bath. If it has a tap platform then that is also in the middle along the long side of the bath. Like the single ended bath it is the same height all around the top of the bath and it sits on four feet of one style or another..

Slipper Baths

A slipper bath is a traditional single ended bath but with a the head end of the bath higher than the foot end. The head end of the bath rises up, usually with some style, to make the (heeled) 'slipper' shape after which the bath is named. Traditional slipper baths sit on four feet, often with slipper baths the front feet and back feet are slightly different shapes and are not interchangeable. Short slipper baths, 1500mm. are popular in en-suites. Large slipper baths are suitable for a very luxurious and indulgent setting. Slipper baths are often but not always quite wide and deep.

Bateau Baths