Remodeling your bathroom enables you to create that luxurious spa-like oasis you’ve always wanted. While freestanding tubs have been a symbol of bathroom luxury for years, the right design of a built-in tub can also deliver the beauty and comfort you're looking for. So which one is the best fit for you? Before you decide, let’s take a closer look at these important considerations:

Size and Space

The size of your bathroom space will likely determine whether you choose a freestanding or built-in tub. Freestanding tubs, with their bigger size and placement away from nearby walls, make it better suited for larger, more spacious bathrooms. Putting them in a smaller bathroom will make the space look cramped and take away from its visual impact. “The smaller size and placement adjacent to a wall makes built-in tubs very space efficient,” says Kristopher Gagnon, project manager at Cormack Construction Management. “They’re a great option for smaller homes or apartments where there are space constraints.”

Installation and Plumbing

Once you’ve evaluated your sizing and space needs, you should take a look at installation and plumbing requirements. Freestanding tubs can be placed in any desired location, but may need a reinforced floor to manage its large size and weight. Additional planning is also needed to run new piping up through the floor and conceal any unsightly hardware. Built-in tubs can tap into existing plumbing for a quick and easy hook-up, but installation requires the help of contractors to build a framework, tile, and seal around the tub. Plumbing for a built-in is already hidden within the wall, so no extra planning is needed.

Tip: To make sure your bathroom layout truly meets your wants and needs, consider a 3-D design. It will save you time and money in the long run, and ensure you get exactly what you expected.


Freestanding tubs have traditionally been a high ticket item, but you can now choose from different styles and materials at various price points. Built-in tubs are considered the more economic option, however, you may have to factor in added installation costs.


Freestanding tubs make an impact statement, while creating a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. These sculptured tubs can be placed anywhere in your bathroom space, under a skylight, next to a scenic window—you’re only limited by your imagination! This versatility lends itself to creative freedom when designing your bathroom. If you choose a built-in tub, you can add a striking mirror, unique tile, or dramatic lighting to make an impact statement.

Ease of Use

Regardless of your choice, you’ll want a tub that fits your body and is easy to climb into. So it’s a good idea to test-drive tubs in the showroom by climbing in and lying down. Freestanding tubs tend to be taller and wider, making it difficult for some people to get in and out of them. Additionally, the larger size and exposed exterior of a freestanding tub makes it more difficult and time-consuming to clean in and around all surfaces. Built-in tubs have less surface area, making them easier to keep clean and get in and out of.


Freestanding tubs are designed for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation. If you also need it for daily showering, it might not be the right fit for your bathroom. It is possible to mount a shower and a wrap-around curtain to a freestanding tub, but it may take away from the visual impact you’re trying to make. Sometimes a bathroom remodel can accommodate space for a standalone shower and a freestanding tub, but if that isn’t in your plans, then your best bet would be a built-in tub with shower head. 

So, how do you know if you have the right space, architectural support, or plumbing for your new tub? Consulting with a bathroom remodeler will get you the answers you need and ensure you’re meeting code requirements. And by incorporating your preferences with structural compatibility and design elements, you can create the bathroom of your dreams. 

Bathroom Remodeling Services in NH’s White Mountains, Lakes Region, and Western Maine

Cormack Construction offers bathroom remodeling and home construction services in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Lakes Region, and Western Maine. If you need help remodeling your bathroom, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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