Friday, June 21, 2013

Freestanding Bathtubs Styles and Types

Lately I have been seeing a big increase in requests for freestanding bathtubs and chances are if you spend any time near those DIY type channels you have too. The water seems to be as murky as the Gulf of Mexico after a hurricane on the different types, materials, and manufacturers. Freestanding bathtubs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. 

The types of materials that they are made from are important when considering your use of the tub. The most common material used in free standing tubs is acrylic. Acrylic bathtubs are great because they are non-porous, non-staining, and easy to clean as well as being lightweight. Acrylic is a very popular choice by manufacturers because it is relatively inexpensive and very flexible and becomes rigid when it is formed, cast, and reinforced with fiberglass. While acrylic can scratch it is easily buffed out and resists staining very well. My only complaint with acrylic tubs is that they aren't great at retaining heat, which is kind of an important part to taking a bath. 

By: Kohler

Cast iron tubs have been around the longest and are still popular today; they are very sturdy and retain heat well. However they are very heavy and that can present some problems if they are being installed over a joist system like a second floor or a house that has a basement or crawl space. In those cases additional support maybe required to support the tub when it's filled with water and an occupant. The other draw back to cast iron is that the enamel layer that is applied over the cast iron can chip and stain but it is able to be touched up or refinished.

By: Kohler

Metal freestanding tubs are popular for their aesthetics. A sleek stainless steel tub gives a very modern and clean look to a bathroom and has wonderful reflective properties that can make the design of the bathroom really pop. A classic hammered copper tub can give you the rustic/traditional look and bring in some old world charm. Metal tubs present the problems you would expect with a metal product. Cleaning them typically requires a special cleaner and dents and dings can happen. Even though a majority of these tubs are double walled they do not retain heat very well. 

Wooden tubs are the perfect fit for if you are looking for the cabin or rustic look. They come in all types of different wood species and colors. They are very easy to take care of, typically with just a mild soap and water. The trick with wood is that they are meant to be used regularly and require certain moisture levels that prevent the wood from contracting and or cracking. So if you want a freestanding wooden tub but don't always take baths you'll want to "wet it down" periodically. They maintain heat well as they are usually pretty thick and dents and dings are usually part of their character.

Stone bathtubs are great looking tubs that retain heat very well and can lend to any design aesthetic. They are made from a wide variety of materials like granite, marble, travertine, and even volcanic limestone. Stone tubs are my personal favorite because the natural beauty of stone is untouchable by other materials and their versatility in shape, size, and finish are outstanding. They are heavier and may require additional structural work like the cast iron tub, but hold temperature extremely well. When it comes to the volcanic limestone you'll find in tubs from Victoria + Albert it is actually volcanic limestone combined with high performance resins to make their Englishcast products. Not only do the hold temperature extremely well they are also typically warm to the touch too!

With all of the different types of freestanding tubs on the market it can get confusing trying to pick the best tub for your application and budget. One thing is for certain, the plumbing rough-in for the drains must be spot on and a tub filler will be required and typically a floor mount is preferred. These bathtubs can really add to any bathroom project and can alleviate the need for bulky framing and tile work. Choose the style and material that best fits your needs and you'll be happy for years to come.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

There aren't many days that go by that I’m not thankful for my father, but on Father’s Day I’m especially thankful for all he has done. See my Dad had primary custody of my brother and I at a time when that wasn't the norm. He sacrificed in so many ways to make sure that my brother and I had what we needed even working two or three jobs at times.

When we were growing up we didn't spend a lot of time at daycares or with baby sitters we were dragged in to the door shop on Saturdays or tagged along from job-site to job-site on Easter Break. Sounds fun right? There wasn't an alternative so we went with him and tried to stay out of the way. A lot of the things we did as kids like tagging along with parents would get parents in trouble now a day. Fun for us on those days was nailing two pieces of door casing together to make an “Airplane” (yes that means using a hammer at 6-7 years old) and that was WAY better than the other alternative of sweeping the shop. Over the years as we grew older our jobs changed, we edge banded shelves for cabinets, cleaned job sites, emptied the office garbage cans, carried tools, and started helping install cabinets all before we were teenagers. You may be thinking that sounds harsh and it felt that way a lot of the time but the skills I learned over those years I still carry with me today.

Thanks to my Dad I have what I refer to as “man skills” (something I believe is lacking in our youth these days). Whether it’s working on cars, lawn mowers, wood working, laying tile, or designing kitchens and baths I learned it all because of John Parcels. Times weren’t always easy and most often my birthday parties were getting to pick out what I wanted for dinner from the grocery store and a cake from the bakery, I was pretty darn lucky to have him. He says he knows that I love him and rarely lets me give him a hug but I love him more than he knows and have the utmost respect for my Dad. A true man’s man and great provider for his family.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Beginings

There are certain points in our lives when we need to make major decisions in order to move toward our life goals. Recently I had to make one of those decisions (reluctantly) when I decided it was time for me to test my limits as a designer and a sales person in a bigger market. I have lived in Hillsborough County (Tampa) for over fifteen years now and had worked here until a little over five years ago when I was recruited by my family to go back to work for the family business in Bradenton, FL. I learned a lot during my time with RJM Contractors and helped bring that company in to current times in regards to advertising, marketing, and social media. Being that I worked for my family the decision to leave was not an easy one but it was time.

The position I have chosen to take is with S&W Kitchens where I will be able to serve all of the Tampa Bay area. I chose S&W Kitchens because of the product lines that they carry, their reputation, and stability. Being able to work fifteen minutes away from my house didn't hurt either! S&W offered me a chance to work as a designer but still have control over the project since they offer turn key projects where the entire remodel (plumbing, electrical, construction, etc.) could be handled in house.

Along with the change in job it gave me the opportunity to start my own blog. I had written for RJM and done a few guest posts in the past but this blog is uniquely mine. Here you'll be able to find kitchen and bath design advice, trends, organization, recipes, and pretty much anything that is related to those areas. Please give the blog a follow and feel free to comment.

This is uncharted territory for me and I'm excited for what the future holds!