Material choices

The definitive guide to the best design-conscious bath shapes and cutting edge materials

‘Everyone wants a bath to last a long time and do a good job,’ says Jonathan Carter, marketing manager at Victoria & Albert, ‘so the material you choose can be crucial.’

• Old-fashioned, poor-quality acrylic inset baths tend to be less rigid and may rely on chipboard supports. Avoid these and opt for a more robust material – modern acrylics are much better quality and actually hold heat longer than a steel bath.

• Conductivity levels in different surfaces vary, so think about how they feel to the touch – cold steel and cast iron absorb heat and cool water quickly, whereas composites like Corian, Cristalplant and LG Hi-Macs retain heat for longer. Most composites have a renewable surface that can be polished back to life if damaged.

• For a fresh look, modern freestanding baths can be clad in a host of surfaces: copper, wood, leather or even, in the case of the Stone One bath from CP Hart, faux leopard skin.

• ‘Stone baths are beautiful, but beware: full baths weigh twice as much, so joists may need reinforcing,’ says Hayley Tarrington, senior designer at CP Hart. ‘If in doubt, contact a structural engineer.’

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