I just remodeled two 18-year-old bathrooms. In one I replaced a cracking fiberglass tub with an American Standard Princeton “Americast” tub. I considered cast iron, but Americast is a durable porcelain-coated composite offering much better insulation against temperature and noise — not to mention being significantly lighter than cast iron.
The bigger project was our master bathroom, and when it came to finding a new bathtub I had several goals. I wanted something big enough for my 5’9″ wife to stretch out in, but not so big that it would never get used. I wanted a massage feature that didn’t use waterjets because of all the cleaning and hygiene problems associated with running bathwater through an enclosed pump system.
Kohler’s BubbleMassage line sounded like a good solution: These are acrylic tubs with 120 little holes around the base perimeter through which a motor blows heated air. After the bath is drained the motor blows any residual moisture out of the system to prevent mold growth.
A 6’x3′ drop-in looked like it would be the right size so I bought and installed a Kohler Mariposa BubbleMassage tub (just over $2000 from Home Depot). At 72 gallons to the overflow I thought that would be ample capacity for a luxurious bath.
It turns out things aren’t so simple.