Drop-In Tub vs. Undermount: Choosing the Perfect Bathtub for Your Bathroom

Drop-In Tub vs. Undermount: Choosing the Perfect Bathtub for Your Bathroom


When it comes to designing your dream bathroom, selecting the right bathtub is a crucial decision. Two popular options that often leave homeowners pondering are drop-in tubs and undermount tubs. Both have their unique characteristics and benefits, catering to different preferences and design aesthetics. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the differences between drop-in tubs and undermount tubs, helping you make an informed decision for your bathroom renovation or new construction project.

1. Understanding Drop-In Tubs

Definition and Features

A drop-in tub, also known as a “sunken” or “recessed” tub, is installed into a platform or deck. Its rim rests on the surface while the tub itself drops into the structure. This style offers flexibility in design and is a popular choice for creating a luxurious focal point in a bathroom.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
    • Versatile design options.
    • Easier to install and replace.
    • Wide range of sizes and shapes.
  • Cons:
    • Cleaning around the rim can be challenging.
    • Limited space for surrounding décor.
    • May have a less sleek appearance.

2. Exploring Undermount Tubs

Definition and Features

An undermount tub is mounted underneath a countertop or platform, allowing the edges of the tub to be hidden from view. This design creates a seamless look that is favored in modern and minimalist bathroom aesthetics.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
    • Sleek and contemporary appearance.
    • Easy to clean the surrounding area.
    • Provides more deck space for accessories.
  • Cons:
    • Installation can be complex.
    • Limited design options compared to drop-in tubs.
    • Potential for higher installation costs.

3. Design and Aesthetics

Drop-In Tub Design Options

Drop-in tubs offer a wide array of design possibilities. They can be incorporated into various styles, including traditional, rustic, and even modern designs. The exposed rim can be customized with different materials, such as stone, tile, or wood, to match your bathroom decor.

Undermount Tub Design Options

Undermount tubs are ideal for contemporary and minimalist aesthetics. Their seamless integration creates a clean and uncluttered look. The absence of a visible rim allows other design elements, like faucets and handles, to take center stage.

4. Installation Considerations

Drop-In Tub Installation

Installing a drop-in tub is relatively straightforward. The tub is placed into a prepared cutout in the platform or deck. This design simplifies replacement if necessary, making it a practical choice for homeowners who may want to update their bathtub in the future.

Undermount Tub Installation

Installing an undermount tub requires more complexity, as the tub needs to be securely attached to the platform from beneath. Professional installation is recommended to ensure proper support and prevent any potential issues down the line.

5. Maintenance and Cleaning

Drop-In Tub Maintenance

Cleaning a drop-in tub involves paying attention to the exposed rim and the platform or deck it rests on. Regular cleaning prevents dirt and grime buildup. However, the crevices around the rim may require extra effort to maintain.

Undermount Tub Maintenance

Maintaining an undermount tub is simpler, as there are no exposed edges. Cleaning the surrounding area is easy, and the seamless design minimizes the risk of dirt accumulation. Regular wipe-downs and cleaning keep the tub looking pristine.

6. Cost Comparison

Initial Costs

Drop-in tubs generally have a lower upfront cost since their installation is less complex. Undermount tubs may involve higher installation expenses due to the additional labor required for secure mounting.

Long-Term Expenses

Undermount tubs might prove to be more cost-effective over time due to their easier maintenance and resistance to potential water damage, which can affect drop-in tubs and their surrounding platforms.

7. Which Tub is Right for You?

Deciding between a drop-in tub and an undermount tub depends on your specific preferences, bathroom design, and budget. If you’re aiming for versatility and a wide range of design options, a drop-in tub could be your ideal choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a sleek, modern appearance with easy maintenance, an undermount tub might better suit your needs.


In the world of bathroom design, the choice between a drop-in tub and an undermount tub is a significant one. Each option has its own set of advantages and considerations. Whether you prioritize design flexibility, seamless aesthetics, or maintenance simplicity, understanding the differences between these two types of tubs empowers you to make a decision that aligns with your vision for the perfect bathroom.


Are drop-in tubs more affordable than undermount tubs?

Drop-in tubs typically have a lower initial cost, but long-term expenses should also be considered.

Can I install an undermount tub myself?

Due to the complexity of installation, professional assistance is recommended for undermount tubs.

Which tub is easier to clean?

Undermount tubs are generally easier to clean due to their seamless design.

Do drop-in tubs require a specific platform material?

Drop-in tubs can be installed on various platforms, including tile, stone, and wood.

Can I change my tub style after installation?

While both tubs can be replaced, drop-in tubs offer easier and more cost-effective replacement options.

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