A sunken tub, also known as a drop-in tub or undermount tub, is a stylish and luxurious bathtub option. But is a sunken tub right for your bathroom? Here are some key factors to consider when deciding if a sunken tub is the best choice for your home.

What is a Sunken Tub?

A sunken tub is installed below floor level, with tile or other flooring material installed around it to create a “sunken” look. The tub rim rests right against the floor, unlike a traditional alcove tub that sits above the floor against three walls. This gives a sunken tub a seamless, built-in look.

Sunken tubs are made of materials like acrylic, enameled cast iron, natural stone, or copper. They typically hold a larger bathing capacity of 40-60 gallons or more. Many sunken tubs have ergonomic shapes, molded armrests, and lumbar support for optimal comfort.

Benefits of Choosing a Sunken Tub

There are several reasons a sunken tub may be the right choice for your home:

Aesthetic Appeal

The sunken design has a smooth, spa-like look that can enhance your bathroom’s style. The tub seemingly blends in with the flooring, creating a harmonious feel. This makes the tub a striking design focal point.

Space Saver

Sinking the tub into the floor can help maximize your bathroom’s square footage. The tub doesn’t need to sit atop a large footprint, leaving you more open floor space.

Relaxation and Comfort

Sunken tubs are often deeper and wider than typical tubs, allowing you to fully submerge in hot water. This can provide a remarkably relaxing soak. Many sunken tubs also have contoured designs and headrests for comfort.

Resale Value

Sunken tubs add a high-end, spa-like feel that appeals to home buyers. Having a sunken tub may help boost your home’s resale value down the road.

Considerations Before Choosing a Sunken Tub

While sunken tubs offer beauty and luxury, they aren’t the right option for every home. Here are some important considerations:

Bathroom Size and Layout

Sunken tubs require extensive planning and sufficient floor space. Measure carefully to ensure your bathroom can accommodate a sunken installation.

Structural Support

The weight of a sunken tub and water requires reinforced flooring. Consult a structural engineer to assess if your floors can support a sunken tub.

Moisture and Maintenance

The below-floor installation creates gaps and crevices that can lead to water damage if not properly sealed. Proper waterproofing is essential. Also consider the extra effort of cleaning around the tub.


The sunken design may make entering and exiting the tub difficult for some users. Consider grab bars and a low stair-step.

Plumbing Configuration

The plumbing must precisely align with the tub layout. Re-routing plumbing lines can add complexity and costs to sunken tub installation.


Sunken tubs typically range from $2,000-6,000, not including construction costs. The installation also requires tilework, waterproofing, and potentially floor reinforcement.

Is a Sunken Tub Right for Your Bathroom?

Here are a few key questions to help decide if a sunken tub is the right choice:

  • Do you have ample floor space for a sunken installation?
  • Can your floors support the weight of a sunken tub when filled with water?
  • Does your plumbing allow for aligning with a sunken tub?
  • Are you prepared to waterproof and seal the below-floor installation?
  • Can you maintain the area around the sunken tub free of mildew and buildup?
  • Are you able to afford the tub cost along with required construction?

If you answered yes to these questions, a sunken tub may be an ideal addition to enhance relaxation and your bathroom’s aesthetics. Be sure to consult tub manufacturers and contractors to map out the details. With proper planning, a sunken tub can provide a beautiful spa-like oasis to unwind and indulge in therapeutic soaks.

FAQs About Sunken Tubs

Can I install a sunken tub in any bathroom?

No, sunken tubs require extensive planning and specific bathroom features. Make sure your floors can handle the weight and that plumbing aligns properly before considering a sunken tub.

How difficult is it to clean a sunken tub?

Sunken tubs require a bit more effort to clean since water, dirt, and debris can settle in crevices around the tub. Use a long-handled scrub brush and mildew-resistant silicone caulk to make maintenance easier.

Do sunken tubs increase home value?

Yes, sunken tubs can increase a home’s value, especially in high-end real estate markets. The luxurious, spa-like appeal makes them a desirable feature to many home buyers.

Are sunken tubs ADA compliant?

Most sunken tubs are not ADA compliant due to the below-floor installation. To improve accessibility, consider adding grab bars, a low step, or mini ramp leading down into the tub.

Can you put a shower with a sunken tub?

Yes, many sunken tubs are designed for shower combinations. The shower should have proper drainage and the tub should have non-slip features for safety.

Do you need a special faucet for a sunken tub?

You’ll need a freestanding tub filler faucet that mounts to the floor rather than the tub rim. This allows the faucet to reach over the tub.


While sunken tubs require careful planning, they can create a luxurious focal point in your bathroom if installed properly. Consider the space requirements, costs, and maintenance to determine if a sunken tub aligns with your needs and budget. When designed thoughtfully, a sunken tub provides a soothing, spa-like place to relax and unwind for years to come. Consult tub and tile experts to bring this vision to life. With strategic planning and design, a sunken tub can become a bathroom oasis you’ll enjoy daily.