By the main university in Manchester sits a statue of Archimedes experiencing his eureka moment; he’s in a freestanding bath and water is pouring out as he looks poised to spring out, naked. In an old chocolate advert a woman luxuriates in a freestanding bath, which is overflowing as she enjoys a chocolate bar and music plays on in the background. In the madness of King George one of the lasting images is of the King bathing and Westerns seem incomplete without protagonists enjoying a scrub in a battered tin bath.
Freestanding baths are strongly iconic and there is a definite imagery associated with them: of luxury and relaxation, of decadence and contemplation. For this reason, many people would love to fit them within their homes but the perceived cost of them puts many off as well as a fear of what is actually involved in fitting one and the attendant plumbing.
In truth, freestanding baths are barely more complicated than a more conventional bath. Many of them can actually have pipework fitted within them and even the taps and wastes can be fitted as part of the bath itself or easily onto the edge of the bath. However, if you are fitting something like a traditional slipper bath or a bath on legs, then you’re probably going to want to consider running external plumbing, as much as an aesthetic choice as a practical consideration.
Even this external plumbing is easy to fit, however; it comes with standard fittings and is a standard diameter and made from chromed metal. If you choose to run standpipes up the side of your bath you will find that you have as great a choice of taps and fittings as you would with any conventional installation and this will allow you to find the perfect taps to create the mood and atmosphere that you are striving for in choosing to fit a freestanding bath in the first place.
With some of the more modern designs of freestanding baths you have the facility to place the wastes within the skin of the bath, and you can also use this to fit an overflow filler. This lets you fill the bath from where the water would normally drain if it was overfilled. Some of them even allow you to fit conventional taps as you would on a fitted bath, although it is a decision for you to make according to your preferences as to whether you think this spoils the line of the bath. Remember that it will be the focal point of your entire bathroom because of the strong statement it makes, and that you must consider this when accessorising and finishing around it.