Big, beautiful bathtubs are often the centerpiece of luxury master bathroom remodels, and if you really want to up the wow factor, there’s no way to beat a hand-carved, natural stone tub. Stone bathtubs are sculptural, one-of-a-kind art pieces that absolutely scream luxury, and can easily carry the design of your space. That said, buying a stone tub certainly isn’t a design choice you should make lightly. Even more than your average high-end soaking tub, there are a few important things you should consider before you buy.
- They’re Expensive: You can expect to pay a premium for any kind of luxury bathtub, but even the most beautifully crafted acrylic, glass, or porcelain tubs (and even mechanically-complex whirlpool tubs) pale in comparison to stone bathtubs, which are individually hand carved from a single piece of high quality stone – and priced accordingly. Depending on the type of stone, the size and shape of the tub, and the manufacturer, you could be looking at a tub that costs $10-20,000 or more.
- They’re Heavy: This might seem like a no-brainer, but stone bathtubs are very, very heavy – even without 50-100 gallons of water in them. The biggest tubs approach 2 tons while bone dry, and even a small one clocks in well over 1000 pounds. To get your tub installed, you’ll need to plan accordingly – both how you’re going to have the tub moved into your house in the first place, and ensure that the floor you put the tub on will actually bear its weight. The last thing you want is your beautiful stone bathtub falling through your downstairs ceiling!
- They Need Special Care: As with natural stone floors or countertops, stone bathtubs need regular maintenance to look their best and stay safe from stains. Your contractor will need to use special materials at installation to prevent from staining or cracking the stone, the full surface of the tub should be re-sealed at least once or twice a year, and you should make sure to use stone-appropriate cleaner regularly and wipe down the bathtub with a soft cloth every time you use it. You want to be very cautious with standard household cleaners, and personally I’d double check with the manufacturer if you plan to use bath add-ins (like bath bombs, bubble bath, and so on) to make sure they won’t damage or stain your stone of choice.
- They’re Actually One-Of-A-Kind: Any product made of stone is going to have natural variations in color and patterning, and often that’s part of the charm and artistry. But when you’re dealing with something as massive as a stone bathtub, it’s important to keep in mind that your final product won’t look exactly like the display model or product image, and with some stone types can look very, very different. Also because stone bathtubs are carved from a single piece of stone, there’s a higher chance there will be imperfections in the stone – like pits that will have to be sealed, odd colored spots, small cracks, or even embedded fossils, depending on the type of stone. While these variations make your tub completely unique, be aware that you might not get exactly the look you’re expecting.
- There Are No Take-Backs: This last one depends a little on the company you’re buying from, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Because most stone bathtubs are hand made to order, a lot of manufacturers have much stricter return and cancellation policies than you’d find for a standard acrylic or porcelain tub. So you really want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you buy – and that it’s really something you want to live with long-term!
Stone bathtubs can be a real show-stopper – the perfect finishing touch to your designer bathroom remodel – but be aware of the extra effort and upkeep you’ll need to put in to get one and keep it looking great before you start shopping.