Back in Ancient Roman, bathing played a major part in culture and society. However, It's a public activity. Not until 1883, American invented the world's first bathtub, since then, all kinds of bathtubs showed up in the market for people to choose and enjoy a hot bath at home!
How to buy a stone bathtub?
Among all those kinds and materials, the most popular contemporary freestanding bathtubs are made by natural stone, like marble, granite, sandstone, travertine, onyx; stone resin; cultured marble; concrete. In order to help you to choose the right one, here is the ultimate guide for the freestanding stone bathtub!
What is a Stone Bathtub?
A stone bathtub is hand-carved from a natural stone block. Technically, only a tub carved from natural stone is considered a “stone bathtub.” For example, artificial stone bathtubs, stone resin bathtubs, concrete bathtubs, and cultured marble bathtubs cannot actually be called “stone” bathtubs.
Common materials of a stone bathtub are marble, granite, sandstone, travertine, onyx, and quartz, among others. Stone bathtubs can add value to a house and provide an artistic display in the bathroom, and they are also easier to maintain.
What is an Artificial Stone Bathtub or Stone Resin Bathtub?
For long term use, an artificial stone bathtub is a better solution than an acrylic or fiber glass tub. The material of an artificial stone bathtub is a chemical blend of stone powder and acrylic.
Stone resin bathtubs (also called solid surface bathtubs) are made of man-made material including stone, minerals, and acrylic materials. They have the appearance of natural stone, but the wall of the bathtub is thinner than a real stone bathtub, which reduces heat retention An important bathtub function.
Another difference is the availability of custom colours and non-porous surfaces, which gives stone resin baths brighter colours and greater durability, closer to that of a natural stone tub.
Stone Bathtubs Versus Artificial Stone Bathtubs
Stone bathtubs are bathtubs hand-carved from a natural stone block. Artificial stone bathtubs are made from acrylic, stone powder, and other such materials. Artificial stone bathtubs are made from a mold, so the size and shape are pre-designed; however, natural stone bathtubs are customized, which makes their sizes and shapes more flexible.
A natural stone bathtub is a far superior choice to an artificial stone tub. They can retain heat several times better than an artificial stone tub. Natural stone bathtubs also usually have thicker walls, meaning they are well insulated.
Finally, a stone bathtub can remain as lustrous and stunning as the day it was made for a longer period compared to an artificial stone bathtub.
Natural Stone Bathtubs Versus Stone Resin Bathtubs: Pros and Cons
|Natural stone bathtub||Stone Resin Bathtub|
|Pros||Easier to maintain than a stone resin tub. Retain water heat the longest among all tubs. Lifespan is the longest.||Also retains water heat very well, Lifespan is very long.|
|Cons||Very heavy, need to reinforce the floor before install. Expensive choice.||Also very heavy, also need to reinforce the floor before install, Also very expensive. A decent stone resin tub is more expensive than natural stone tub.|
Comparation of natural stone tub and stone resin tub.
Pros: A natural stone bathtub is easier to maintain than a stone resin bathtub. Stone resin is a material that looks like natural stone, which is also viewed as a more “luxurious” bathtub material. It retains water heat very well, and its lifespan is as long as a natural stone tub.
The average price range of a natural stone bathtub is $5,000 – $15,000. Cons: Most of the good quality stone resin bathtubs cost more than a natural stone bathtub. The price range of a resign bathtub is $9,000 - $30,000.
It's not customized like a natural stone tub, so you if you want to find a bathtub to suit your bathroom design, it will take some time to research.
What is a Concrete Bathtub?
For a contemporary bathroom, a concrete or freestanding stone bathtub is the essence of the design idea. You can't tell too much of a difference between a concrete bathtub and a honed surface natural stone bathtub: they look alike and they are both of the Zen style.
Both concrete bathtubs and honed surface stone bathtubs can provide decades of use both outdoors and indoors. However, their materials and functionality are different.
A stone bathtub is carved from a stone block, so it not only keeps heat longer, but it’s also easier to maintain. In contrast, the concrete can crack when exposed to changes in temperature, so this should be considered carefully before you make your decision.
As for prices, concrete bathtubs also charge a higher cost of labor, and the price range of a concrete bathtub is also higher than that of a stone bathtub.
What is a Cultured Marble Bathtub?
A cultured marble bathtub is a bathtub made of a blend of stone powder, stone particles, and resin. The cultured marble bathtub can have a wide range of colour and natural looking patterns, but unlike natural stone tubs, cultured marble are also cast in molds.
Similar to natural stone bathtubs, however, cultured marble bathtubs can be honed, polished to shine, or matte finished after they are removed from their molds.
As a result, the final cultured marble bathtub is nonporous like a natural marble tub, and they are easy to clean or maintain.
Stone Bathtub vs Concrete Bathtub vs Cultured Marble Bathtub: Pros and Cons
|Stone bathtub||Concrete bathtub||Cultured marble tub|
|Pros||Carved from a solid natural stone, natural look with patterns. Customize to matte surface, polished surface or honed surface etc. Extremely high durability. Retain heat the best.||Need to pour concrete to a mold to form a tub. Looks like a matte surface natural stone, Medium durable.||Cultured marble tub could have many bright colour to choose from. also very durable.|
|Cons||Weigh from 700kg to 1200Kg, Price could be costly.||Very heavy, weigh from 1000KG to 1500KG. Tub can crack when exposed to changes in temperature. High cost of labor, so expensive.||Pattern is not natural. Also heavy, weigh from 700Kg to 1200KG. Stain easier compare to the other two. Scratches easier than the other two. Surface could degrade faster than the other two. More costly than the other two.|
Stone bathtub: Carved from a solid stone.
Pros: Natural look with matte surface, polished surface or honed surface, among others. Extremely high durability. Retains heat very well. Cons: Very heavy, must reinforce the floor before installation. Price could be costly. For most information about the weight of the bathtub, please check our previous blog
Concrete bathtub: Made of concrete, formed from a mold.
Pros: Looks like a matte surface natural stone bathtub. Durable.Cons: Also very heavy, must reinforce the floor before installation. Tub can crack when exposed to changes in temperature. High cost of labor.
Cultured marble bathtub: Made from a blend of stone particles, resin and pigments, formed by mold.
Pros: Cultured marble bathtubs are also exceptionally durable. Cons: Stain easily. It will be a headache if there are scratches on the surface of the bathtub. The surface of the cultured marble bathtub could degrade faster over time.
A high quality cultured marble bathtub is more costly than a natural marble bathtub. The pattern of the surface can be boring, like wallpaper.
Stone Bathtub-Sandstone Bathtub
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz grains cemented together, typically yellow, or brown in color. A sandstone bathtub is a hand-carved bathtub from a solid natural sandstone block.
The natural pattern of the sandstone is beautiful, as a result, it has been a popular building material in artistic ornamental fountains and statues since ancient times.
In terms of durability, sandstone bathtub can't compare with granite or marble bathtub. However, they can still last for decades as they are formed from natural rock itself. Another thing about sandstone bathtubs is that, compared to other natural stone bathtub, their material is relatively soft. Because of this, stains and scratches are inevitable after decades of use.
When you have a few spots of stains or scratches left on your surface, then you could consider using a small hand-polishing machine for repairs. For more details about how to make your stone bathtub surface shining again, please check the former blog: a closer look at sandstone bathtubs
The surface of a sandstone bathtub is usually polished for a smooth bath at home. The colours, patterns, and hues are all unique in each sandstone bathtub.
Stone Bathtub-Natural Rock Bathtub
A natural rock bathtub is a bathtub carved from a single solid block of natural stone, The uniqueness of a natural rock bathtub is that we keep the outside of the bathtub as natural rock appearance, then carve out the shape of the tub and polish the inside of the rock for bathing.
This keeps the material looking raw and natural. The thickness of the wall also keeps the water’s heat very well. The durability of a solid block stone and the beauty of a shining bathtub combine inside of this rock. Natural rock bathtubs are usually used for outdoor spas. It's a beautiful backyard decoration as well.
If you are looking for a relaxing spa that feels close to nature, nothing can compare with a natural rock bathtub sitting in your backyard. It's definitely a one-of-a-kind focal point around which decorate your backyard.
For indoor bathroom rock bathtubs, there is a lighter kind of stone tub available, which has thin walls, a polished interior, and a chiseled exterior. It's a representative design for the contemporary Zen style of bathrooms. However, you must reinforce the floor before you install this natural rock masterpiece indoors.
Stone Bathtub-Marble Bathtub
Marble is the best material for a bathtub. As a natural stone, it's water-resistant and last for a very long time.
Marble has been used for construction, statues, fountains, and bathrooms for millennia; the classical Roman public baths were made of marble. Due to the variety of marble's natural colours and patterns, a marble bathtub can add a luxurious, elegant feel to your bathroom.
You could choose your marble bathtub from a wide range of colours and patterns, like the most popular material Italian Carrara white marble tub. Like other natural stone materials, a marble tub could also have a different type of surface finish, from polish, honed, and matte, to chiseled surfaces.
Stone bathtub-Granite Bathtub
Granite bathtubs are carved from a solid granite stone block. Granite is a perfect material for bathrooms. Not only is it indestructible, but it is also a natural heat preserver.
Granite can be designed and customized for a variety of shapes and sizes. The surface could also be polished, honed, matte, or chiseled. Granite is a much harder material than marble, so it can be use for both indoor bathrooms and outdoor spas.
The only con of granite bathtubs compared to a marble bathtub is the natural colour and patterns. There aren’t too many colour choices from natural granite stone.
What are Rose Quartz Bathtubs?
Rose quartz is found in abundance in many deposits throughout the world. Much of the rose quartz that is sold today is produced in Brazil, South Africa, India, and Madagascar. However, Rose quartz is commonly used for beads, jewelry, talismans, and other small decorations.
In Egyptian legend, rose quartz jewelry was used to maintain Isis's divine youth and beauty. Rose quartz was also used in ancient Tibetan and Chinese cultures as a token of love.
On the other hand, a large tub-sized rose quartz block is very rare, and carving it into a bathtub is extremely costly. For example, a rose quartz bathtub from Baldi Home Jewels cost more than 1 million euros.
If you have a budget range from 8K to 10K USD, you may instead think about a rose onyx bathtub instead of rose quartz. Please read our next blog to find out the different between the pink onyx bathtub and rose quartz bathtub.
How to Make a Stone Bathtub
1) Choose your favourite color and shape from the catalogue, and then contact a stone expert to confirm the raw material of the tub. Commonly used materials include granite, marble, sandstone, travertine, and onyx.
2) After deciding which kind of stone to use, we will cut down a working size of a single stone block from local mine according to your dimensions, or import the stone block from other countries.
3) Transport the mined block to working factory.
4) Use a stone saw and various types of chisels, as well as hand tools, to shape the outside of the stone and hollow out the center of the tub.
5) Use grinders and orbital sanders to smooth out the tub after the shape has been formed.
Alcove Stone Bathtubs and Skirted Stone Bathtubs
An alcove bathtub is made to fit into a space surrounded by walls on three sides.Usually, a tub apron could be used in the front of the alcove to prevent water splashes, whereas a skirt bathtub will always have one completely open side.
Alcove bathtubs were designed to save space in the bathroom, so if you already have a limited space available, a square or rectangular alcove stone bathtub is the best choice. You could order any dimensions according to the size of your space.
For a stone skirted tub, there are more shape options available, including rounded or oval shapes, because the skirt covers the entire length of the bathtub. It's also easier to install.
Freestanding Stone Bathtub versus Granite Surrounding Bathtub
Freestanding bathtubs have been a popular trend in recent years, due to their compatibility with both contemporary or vintage bathroom designs.
In recent bathroom design trends, there is a tendency to leave more open space, specifically for people who want to enjoy a bath every day. Freestanding stone bathtubs are the best option for the center of a bathroom.
Not only does it look gorgeous, but it also adds value to the whole property.Additionally, a freestanding stone tub can fit any style, from classic clawfoot tub to a modern rectangular shape. It is a unique natural stone pattern for a bathroom decoration.
Granite bathtub surrounds were a common bathroom design in the 1980’s. Granite is a wonderful choice for a bathroom counters and tub surrounds thanks to its resistance to certain substances found in modern hygiene products.
Granite tub surrounds could provide more space for personal care items such as shampoo bottles. However, the design concept of a bathtub with a granite surround is outdated. If your bathroom has three available walls and an open space between, your better choice is a rectangular alcove stone bathtub, as opposed to a round tub with a square granite surround, which is more difficult to install.
What is the Difference Between a Soaking Tub and Regular Tub?
The main difference between soaking tubs and regular tubs are the size.Soaking tubs are typically 20 inches (50 cm) deep, whereas a regular tub is about 15 inches (38 cm) deep, which means that soaking tubs will allow water to cover most of the body.
Soaking tubs also have different distinct shapes. For example, a Japanese soaking tub is deep but short in length. There is a small slope/bench inside the soaking tub, allowing the bather of a Japanese soaking tub to enjoy a sitting position.
Other popular soaking tub designs include claw-foot, pedestal, high-backed, elongated, rectangular, etc.
Pros and Cons of a Stone Bathtub
Pros of a stone bathtub
1) Customized size and shapeEach natural stone bath, is hand-carved from a stone block. Every stone bath is customized according to your needs.Unlike a stone resin tub, which is made from a pre-set mold, natural stone tubs are carved to order and will cost you less time for searching.
2) Heat retention. A natural stone bathtub can retain more than 10 times as efficiently as traditional acrylic baths. This means you can enjoy an ideal water temperature for a much longer time.
3) Added value for Home. A freestanding natural stone bathtub can be the gorgeous central piece of your bathroom. Not only will you not need to worry about changing out a new one ten years later like you would for acrylic baths, but natural stone baths will keep adding value to your home.
4) DurabilityIf you consider that such tubs were used in ancient Roman bathing, you can understand how long a real natural stone bathtub might last. Although some stone surfaces will get scratches over time, it's extremely easy to repair such superficial damage with some polishing tools every decade or so.
5) The only choice for Zen style bathroom. Zen style bathrooms have become more popular in recent years. Today, we understand the importance of meditation and the value of a simple lifestyle, which are key tenets of the Zen style of design. It is important to have a space to clear our mind and connect our body to nature, Stone and matte bathtubs are ideal for such purposes.
Cons of a stone bathtubStone bathtubs are usually very heavy. Stone resin tubs and concrete tubs can both weigh over 100 kg. If you are planning to install a stone tub, you need to prepare by reinforcing your bathroom floor to handle the weight.
For more steps about how to install a stone bathtub, please read our next blog: Stone bathtub installation.
How to Maintain a Stone Bathtub
- Clean your tub after every use. Warm or hot water with soap will do just fine. Use sudsy water to wipe the inside of the stone tub with a cloth or sponge. This will keep it shining and remove all dirt.
- For any polished surface stone bathtub, sealing is not recommended to seal for the first two years of use, since it has already been professionally sealed upon construction.
- If you want to keep the polished surface shining even after a few years of use, a little protection from stains and etching such as spray sealant for granite or marble product could be used once a month.
- If stains and etching are left on the surface over the course of days, you can rub the stains with a soft cloth and marble polishing powder such as Miracle Sealants.
- If your stone bathtub needs to be re-polish again after ten years of use, you can polish it by yourself with a variable-speed grinding machine appropriate for domestic use, or just fine-grained sandpaper. Before you polish it, make sure your stone tub surface is clean and dry. Then after polishing thoroughly, make sure to seal it with Marble sealer product.