Choosing a Bath

Here you will find information to help you choose your bath, some of the broad styles of freestanding baths and where to find them on this site are described and resources presented that will help you choose the right bath for your circumstances.

First Considerations 1: What Style?

Freestanding baths come in a whole load of different styles, the purpose of this section is to describe broadly what these are so that you can direct your search according to your needs and find the bath of your dreams that much more easily. So find out what variety there is, and then, if you are curious follow some of the links here and imagine what you could have in your bathroom.


Many people feel that they clearly want either a traditional or a contemporary style bathroom. If you are one of these people then this is a good place to start and to help you Classical Baths classifies all its baths as either traditional or contemporary or in a few cases both (where a bath has a combination of features which might make it specifically suitable to both). You can either use the main menu to look for traditional or contemporary freestanding baths or whenever you are looking at a mixture of contemporary and traditional baths look on the left and amongst a list of filters you will find 'Traditional' and 'Contemporary', click on these to apply the appropriate filter.

Double Ended/Single Ended

A single ended bath is one where the plug hole and overlfow hole are at one end of the bath known as the foot of the bath, the other end being the head of the bath. When you lie in a single ended bath the plug hole is at your feet. A double ended bath on the other hand is one where the plug and overflow are midway along the bath lengthwise so when you lie in the bath the plug and oveflow are to one side of you half way down the bath. Rarely the plug is dead centre in the bath but usually it is over to one side next to the side that the overflow is on. There are many examples of both single and double ended baths for both traditional and contemporary style bathroooms.

Roll Top/Flat Top

The term roll top bath is sometimes used to mean almost any freestanding bath. Traditionally however roll top baths have been baths where the edge of the bath can be specified by a radius which describes the arc of a circle. In contrast to this there are other freestanding baths on which the edge of the bath is more or less flat. Most but not all traditional baths are roll top baths, most but not all contemporary baths are flat top baths. Many roll top baths have a part of the bath edge that flattens out so that tap holes can be drilled and taps fitted to the edge of the bath (taps cannot be fitted onto a rolled edge). When this is done the flattened part of the bath edge is known as the tap platform. The most important difference between a roll top and a flat top bath is that it is easier to balance a cup of coffee on the edge of a flat top.

How the Bath Stands on the Floor - Feet/Plinths/Cradles/To Floor

An important distinction amongst baths is how they sit on the floor. On this site we divide the options into four types described below:
  1. Feet
    The classic traditional cast iron ball and claw foot is the one the instantly spings to mind but there are many more styles, both traditional and contemporary, in all sorts of finishes including cast iron, chrome, brass, gold and paintable. Be aware that bath feet by different manufacturers are not interchangeable and you must have the right feet for the right bath, some manufacturers do however provide a wide variety of foot styles for many of their baths and you may have a choice of six or seven styles in two or three finishes. For some baths front and back feet may be different and you should always be careful to refer to the manufacturers instructions provided with the bath when fitting them. If in doubt ring us.
  2. Wooden Plinth
    The wooden plinth is a more or less contemporary style often but not always associated with an Oriental or Japanese style of bath. We include in this category baths on four wooden blocks or feet. Wooden parts for baths are usually veneers of beech, maple, oak, wenge, cherry or chestnut on a wood composite or in some cases solid wooden blocks.
  3. Metal Cradles
    Another contemporary design is to have the bath supported by a metal cradle of one style or another. Good in a clean-lined ultra minimalist bathroom or wherever else your imagination can put it.
  4. To Floor
    Within the category of baths that go right down to the floor we also include baths that sit on single long plinths made of the same material as the bath, this includes many of the traditional boat baths. Most of the other baths the go right down to the floor without feet or plinths or cradle are more or less contemporary styles.

Freestanding/Tile In and Shower Baths

There are a number of freestanding baths that are designed to tile into a wall. Some just tile in along one long side and others tile into a corner, i.e. along one long side and a short side. Baths designed to tile into a corner will form a right angle where they tile into the corner so that the bath can be completely sealed into the wall with no gaps. Generally these baths will also have a right angle on the outside corner opposite the tiled in corner so that a shower screen can easily be fitted along the top outside edge and be fully sealed. Baths that are designed to tile into a corner will come in left or right hand versions suitable for the two different orientations in which fitting is possible. When lying in the bath the right handed version is open on the right and against the wall to the left and the left handed version is the other way round.

Traditional Styles - Boat Baths, Bateau Baths and Slipper Baths

There are a small number of traditional styles that have becomes so well known that they have names that describe the style of bath. Chief amongst these are the Boat Baths, Bateau Baths and Slipper Baths.

A slipper bath, sometimes called a french slipper bath, is a single ended roll top bath on feet where the head of the bath is hihger than the foot of the bath.

A boat bath is a double ended roll top bath typically but not always without feet but going right down to the floor and/or on a plinth. What's essential in a boat bath apart from being double ended is that the lowest part of the bath is in the middle and the bath is symmetrical and higher at either end. A boat bath looks a bit like two head ends of a slipper bath stuck together hence boat baths are sometimes known as dounble ended slipper baths.

A bateau bath is a boat bath mounted on feet with no plinth, often these baths have a roll top all around the edge of the bath and so have to be fitted with freestanding taps.

First Considerations 2: Does Size Matter?

Well, if you are standing in your bathroom with a bunch of plumbers who you are paying by the hour and a bath that does not fit into the required space, then size does indeed matter. So always make sure that your bath will fit your space. To be safe you should always give yourself an absolute minimum of 10mm play at each end of the bath and even then be aware of your space and that it can be hard to fit a bath in a space barely large enough for it. Many of the baths on this site are hand finished so there are small margins of error, this margin should not exceed 10mm in total.

When measuring distances between walls always ensure that you are measuring at the height at which the bath will be at its longest/widest. Walls cannot be assumed to be absolutely vertical. Also remember when measuring unplastered and/or untiled walls that you must take these things into account for both walls between which the bath will fit.

Of course you may just want a big or smaller bath for other reasons and for this the capacity of the bath to the overflow can be a good guide, along with its shape, to how spacious a bath is.

Bearing these things in mind have a look at the table below. Its full of links to baths sorted by length or width in ascending order and looking to the row headings on the left you can see that you can also choose to list all baths or just traditional or contemporary baths

N.B. If a measurment is shown as 0 this means that that measurement is unknown

  Length (mm) Width (mm)
All All Baths All Baths
Traditional Traditional Baths Traditional Baths
Contemporary Contemporary Baths Contemporary Baths

Next Steps 1: Where is Your Bath and Why Does it Matter?

In the olden days you either had a huge bathroom with slaves to look after you or you lived int' shoe box int' middle o' road. Nowadays we mostly have something in between, thankfully, but many of us do have relatively small bathrooms. For this reason most freestanding baths are these days installed very near or practically right up against a wall. There are a couple of broad differences in the fittings and plumbing of a bath that can be affected by where your bath is situated in your bathroom. Here's a brief description of them and some of their consequences for the baths on this site.
Waste Through the Floor Or the Wall
If the bath is away from a wall so that you can walk right around it then the waste pipe must go through the floor under the bath, if however the bath is more or less next to a wall then the waste can go across the floor and out through a wall, for baths that go right down to the floor it is usually possinble to cut a mousehole in the plinth or outer skirt of the bath on one side through which the waste pipe can be led to the wall. Follow the manufacturers instructions and ring us for advice if you have any doubt. If you have a solid floor then you cannot take a waste pipe into it and this means that you probably have to situate your bath more or less next to a wall.
Exposed or Concealed Waste Kit
When the bath is situated in such a way so that the overflow pipe and trap and outlet pipe cannot be seen which is often the case when the bath is more or less against a wall, then all these components can be plastic or metal without the need for chrome, waste kits like this are called concealed waste kits. Waste kits were one or more of these parts will be visible are called exposed and the all the visible parts are chrome. In general exposed waste kits cost more than concealed ones. In both exposed and concealed waste kits all the parts that are visible when you are in the bath are chrome, the difference is in the pipework on the outside of the bath. Look at the next section about choosing waste kits to find more out about this.

Next Steps 2: Choose Wastes Kit

Follow this link for extensive information on how to choose a waste kit for a freestanding bath. Find out about waste kits for freestanding baths.


All information given here is given in good faith but is the opinion of the author only and the author and Classical Baths do not accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any losses resulting from any actions taken on the basis of information or advice given here or anywhere else on this site.