Tips on selecting the right tub.

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Q: Hi, Ed. With remodeling prices affordable, I’m planning to gut my old master bathroom. Can you please give me a basic list of my tub choices to start me off in the right direction? — Steven, Washington

A: This is a question that sounds simple, but with all the new tub styles available, things can get pretty complicated. To make things easy, I broke the tub styles down into five categories. Remember that this is just a shape list. In each category you’ll have to choose things like material of the tub, whirlpool or standard, and tub filler valves. So, let’s jump right into “Ed’s basic tub choices:”

1. Three-wall tub — This is the standard tub we’ve all seen. There’s only one finished wall for the front apron on the tub. Three walls need to be built around the tub to complete the installation. This setup is also used as a tub/shower combo and is available in prefab composite models. Now that we have the standard tub out of the way, let’s get into some fun stuff!

2. Free-standing tub — Just like the name says, these tubs are free-standing — self-supporting models. A tub like this can be installed just about anywhere in the bathroom. So, if you’re looking for a “bathroom centerpiece,”just install this tub in the center of your bathroom.

3. Drop-in tub — This is a larger takeoff on the popular “drop-in” lav sink. Four walls and a supporting rim are built to the tub’s specifications, and then the tub is lowered into the top opening. Since the outer shell for the tub is built on site, the materials used for construction can perfectly match the décor of your bathroom.

4. Undermount tub — Like the drop-in, this is a takeoff on the popular undermount sink. The outer shell and supports of an undermount tub are usually built around the tub while it’s in place. Then a custom finished stone rim is installed on top of the flat tub rim to give the tub a true “built-in”look.

5. Corner mount tubs — Most corner-mount tubs have two unfinished back walls that mount directly into the corner of a room. It’s a great space-saving tub for smaller bathrooms, but with its unique shape you may have to give up some tub area space. So, if you’re looking to stretch out, don’t put yourself into a corner with one of these tubs.

(Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and host of TV shows on Scripps Networks and Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.)