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What is a sunken bathtub? Introduction and Examples

A sunken bathtub is a drop-in bathtub that is integrated with the floor. The outer profile of the bathtub is hidden, with only the rim exposed as the rest of the bathtub is made flush with the floor.  

The main parts of a sunken bathtub

A sunken bathtub comprises several primary components to function and remain tethered to the floor. These components are:

  • Bathtub
  • Faucet
  • Outer rim
  • Steps or ingress leading into the tub. 
sunken bathtubs.

Types of sunken bathtubs

Sunken bathtubs are available in a few variations that alter the material and the shape of the bathtub itself. Here are the common types:

Partially Sunken Tub

A partially sunken tub is a bathtub that is partially lowered into the floor, but not completely submerged. This means that the bathtub maintains an outer rim that protrudes from the floor. This design removes one of the biggest drawbacks to a standard sunken tub in that it can pose a tripping hazard.

Although the higher rim can still be tripped over, the bathtub is not completely flush with the floor, so it is more noticeable as a bathtub than the standard sunken tub. 

Bathtub and Shower Combo

Like every bathtub, a sunken bathtub can be combined into a shower combination. A shower can be installed in the same space without any additional construction considerations. All that needs to be placed is an adjustable shower faucet and a shower curtain.  

Sunken Roman

A sunken roman tub is a soaking bathtub that is installed at the floor level. Attempting to mirror the large cavernous baths of the ancient Romans, these bathtubs are aesthetically pleasing, but lack many modern features such as jets, internal heating and no shower faucet. These bathtubs are generally deep as well, allowing an individual to sit comfortably while they soak.

Roman tubs are generally constructed from marble and tile, which can drastically impact their affordability when compared to other sunken bathtubs. 

Sunken Japanese

A sunken japanese bathtub is a soaking bathtub that is made flush with the floor. The internal aspects of the bathtub are entirely flush with the floor, creating a very seamless aesthetic with the rest of your bathroom. There are also built in stairs or entry points to allow for easy access to the bathtub as well.  

Pros and Cons of a Sunken Bathtub


  • Seamless bathroom aesthetic
  • Luxurious aesthetic
  • Easy entry and Exit
  • Popular for resale value
  • More affordable than other bathtub types
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • Long install time
  • Can be a tripping hazard
  • A permanent fixture, making it less flexible for future installs/will cost more money to remodel and alter.
  • More expensive to replace compared to other bathtub types

Sunken bathtub sizes 

Sunken bathtubs are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes designed to fit just about any bathroom. 

Small Sunken Bathtub Sizes

  • 45×30
  • 46×30
  • 47×30
  • 48×30
  • 50×30
  • 41×41

Medium Sunken Bathtub sizes

  • 57×30
  • 58×30
  • 59×30
  • 60×30
  • 61×30
  • 62×30
  • 63×30

Large Sunken Bathtub Sizes

  • 70×32
  • 71×34
  • 72×34
  • 73×34
  • 74×35
  • 75×36

Benefits of a sunken bathtub

A sunken bathtub offers a few key benefits to any home: 

  • Seamless aesthetic with your bathroom
  • Provides a luxurious look and feel
  • Offers more space in your bathroom after install
  • Easy entry and exit from the bathtub
  • Can make any bathtub type feel grandiose

How to install a sunken bathtub

Installing a bathtub is a fairly straightforward process, with a sunken bathtub being no different, but here are some extra considerations:

  1. Pre-sight your area and determine the general size of the bathtub you want to install
  2. A sunken bathtub is built in the ingress of your home, so you need to verify the quality of your home’s material before continuing to avoid headaches
  3. As you are installing a sunken bathtub, you will need additional floor space to accommodate the bathtub as the bathtub needs to be flush with your floor
  4. Clean the area of any obstructions
  5. Build your supports and reinforce appropriate areas-you will need a steel or metallic frame to support your bathtub as there is no existing support structure
  6. Install your bathtub
  7. Ensure that the bathtub is flush with your floor
  8. With your floor level with your bathtub, clean up 

Maintenance for a sunken bathtub

Maintaining your sunken bathtub can be tricky, so here are a few helpful hints before starting this project:

Like with any bathtub, it is best to maintain your bathtub at least once a week. You want to clean the area around your bathtub regularly to avoid any mildew or mold deposits. In the case of sunken bathtubs, you want your contractor to build access to the pipes below as it is very easy for an undetectable leak to sprout.

The more access you have to the area below, the easier your life will be. If an issue arises, you will need to remove the tub from the surround and determine the cause of the problem, which can grow to be quite costly and messy down the line, so plan ahead and have your contractor build as many access points to your bathtub below. 

Choosing a Sunken Bathtub-How to know if they are right for you?

While sunken bathtubs are an attractive fixture, they aren’t suitable for every home. They can add a luxurious aesthetic that can easily elevate the rest of your bathroom and blend seamlessly with either classic or modern designs. Since the bathtub’s rim is flush with its surroundings, it’s also easy to clean and maintain and can increase your home’s resale value. However, they require a large bathroom, making it difficult for smaller homes to accommodate. Additionally, they aren’t practical for busy homes with many small children, and the invisible edges could pose potentially dangerous for small children. Finally, if you rarely take baths, a sunken bathtub may prove to be a poor investment choice, and it will cost even more money to replace it. 

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