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Dear Ed: My wife and I want to turn an unused bedroom into a full master bathroom. Since we have extra space, we would like a beautiful bathtub installed in the middle of the bathroom area away from the walls. What basic bathing options do we have to explore to plan for our bathtub centerpiece?

Bill, Utah

Dear Bill: When a bathtub is installed in an open area away from bathroom walls, it’s commonly called an “island” or “freestanding” tub. There is a big difference between the two. Island tubs are usually drop-in or under-mount style tubs with a finished apron and unfinished sides. They can be sunk into the floor or more commonly installed in a raised custom built tub surround. An island-type tub installation can be a more conservative and practical option for most bathrooms.

Now, if you’re looking for a more dramatic “wow” effect, freestanding tubs can be a nice choice. Freestanding tubs are usually self supporting and are beautifully finished inside and out. Basically, you just put them in place and hook up the plumbing. Freestanding tubs can look like a work of art, so your new master bathroom can have its very own masterpiece.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

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