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Q: After years of saving our money and waiting for our children to move out, my wife and I plan to turn one of our extra bedrooms into a large bathroom. We’re going high-end and want to install a big freestanding bathtub right in the middle of the room. Before we start looking at different models, what basic information can you give us about freestanding bathtubs?

A: A “free-standing” bathtub is pretty much what the name says. Freestanding baths are self-supporting tubs that are finished on all sides with no need to add wood framing. Basically, you put them into place and install the plumbing. Classic cast-iron claw-foot tubs were the first example of a free-standing bath.

While you can still get freestanding tubs made with cast iron, solid-surface acrylic is quickly becoming the material of choice. This new heavy-duty material offers comfort, value and beauty, since it can be formed to fit any style. Also, solid-surface acrylic is available in a rainbow of colors and is very easy to clean and maintain.

Just remember, though, that with any freestanding tub, you do need to install a separate showering area since these tubs are designed for soaking only. While a free-standing bath will add a decorative splash to the bathroom, you don’t want it splashing water all over your floor.

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Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. For more information, visit

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