Traditional Freestanding Roll Top Baths
Traditional style freestanding baths can be classified according to their general shape,Traditional Freestanding Roll Top Baths Articles style of foot and whether or not taps can be connected directly to the edge of the bath. Each of these issues as they relate to contemporarily manufactured baths in the traditional style are described below.
Bath Foot Style
Traditional bath feet usually come in one of four styles although the variation within those styles can be great. Ball and claw feet – often just called claw feet are in the form of a talon or claw gripping onto a ball which rests on the floor and takes the weight of the bath. Lions paw feet are shaped like the paw of a lion standing on the bathroom floor. There are various more or less Art Deco style feet that you can find on a few freestanding baths. Of these three categories the ball and claw feet come in such wide variation that the more stylised versions are barely recognisable as such with much of the detail gone. Plain feet are similar to the ball and claw in general shape but have no detail on them. Bath feet are available in various materials and finishes, cast iron feet must be painted, most often they are painted black, white or the same colour as the bathroom walls. Feet are also available made from brass, either with a polished brass finish (which is often used with gold taps) or in electroplated chrome, gold (usually called antique gold), brushed nickel or bright nickel. Not all traditional baths have feet. In general feet are not interchangeable between baths although they may sometimes be that specific manufacturers use the same feet on two or more of their baths. You should never buy a bath without the feet unless you already know you can get the proper feet manufactured for that bath.
Roll Top Baths and Tap Fittings
Its important to know when you buy a traditional freestanding bath what sort of taps you will use with it and what you will need to attractively plumb them in. Traditional freestanding baths are often called roll top baths because of the rolling edge of many traditional style of bath. It is not possible to mount a tap onto the rolling edge of a roll top bath. A traditional solution to this was to drill the taps hole in the side of the bath just above the overflow the taps used are shaped to come up at right angles to the water inlet so they are in the same form as a deck mounted set of taps. Taps like these are called globe taps, they usually come as a pair of taps, hot and cold. Globe taps are only really used these days with antique cast iron roll top baths. Usually nowadays roll top baths onto which taps can be mounted have what’s called a tap platform, this is a flattened part of the bath edge into which tap holes can be drilled and taps mounted. For baths onto which taps can’t be mounted you will use either wall mounted or floor mounted taps. Note also that there are some contemporarily manufactured and, broadly speaking, traditionally styled baths that do not have a roll top as such and onto which taps could in theory be mounted anywhere on the edge of the bath.
Single Ended Baths
This is the simplest of the traditional bath styles, its a level topped tub sitting on four feet, in plan its rounded at the head end (where your head would go if you were lying in it) and flat at the foot end. The plug hole and overflow are at the foot end of the bath. If it has a tap platform that is also at the foot end of the bath. Its distinguished from a slipper bath by being the same height all around the top of the bath.
Double Ended Baths
This is essentially the same as the traditional single ended bath but in plan it is rounded at both ends and the plug hole and overflow in the middle of one of the long sides of the bath. If it has a tap platform then that is also in the middle along the long side of the bath. Like the single ended bath it is the same height all around the top of the bath and it sits on four feet of one style or another..
A slipper bath is a traditional single ended bath but with a the head end of the bath higher than the foot end. The head end of the bath rises up, usually with some style, to make the (heeled) ‘slipper’ shape after which the bath is named. Traditional slipper baths sit on four feet, often with slipper baths the front feet and back feet are slightly different shapes and are not interchangeable. Short slipper baths, 1500mm. are popular in en-suites. Large slipper baths are suitable for a very luxurious and indulgent setting. Slipper baths are often but not always quite wide and deep.
A bateau bath is a double ended version of the slipper bath, whereas the slipper bath goes up at just one end the bateau is symmetrical and rises up at both ends. Like the slipper bath its generally on four feet, unlike the slipper bath there shouldn’t usually be different feet required for the front and back. Bateau baths are found both with and without tap ledges for mounting taps.
A boat bath is a bateau bath without feet, instead reseal bath cost it generally has a skirt that goes down to a plinth which takes the weight of the bath (or a metal frame underneath may sometimes take the weight). Like bateau baths, boat baths are available with and without tap holes.
Keyhole Shower Baths
These keyhole shaped baths, where the round end of the bath was for a shower are very rare and there may well be no non-bespoke manufacturers of them left, although up until recently they could be bought as a non-bespoke product.
Of course there are variations, in particular, there are a number of baths designed to tile in including double ended, single ended and corner baths that nevertheless have feet and are in effect freestanding (but tile-able in). Finally there are a few distinctly Art Deco baths with simple lines and angles of that period style.