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What is a Double Ended Bath?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A double ended bath is a bath which has been designed to accommodate bathers facing in either direction. Typically both ends of the bath are identical, and they are sloped to create back support, making it comfortable for the bather to sit and lounge in the bath. When this type of bath has tap holes, they are located in the middle of the bath.

The materials used to make a double ended bath can be quite varied. Enameled metal is the classic choice for tubs, although they can also be made from porcelain, acrylic, plastics, other metals, and sometimes even wood. Typically, these baths are at least roughly oblong in shape, although they may have specially designed curves and divots designed to make bathing more comfortable and to create a desired stylish look.

One advantage to double ended bathtubs is that it can comfortably seat two bathers, who face each other across the bath water. Some are actually specifically designed for this purpose, and they are made extra-long to ensure comfort. Tall bathers sometimes seek out such tubs so that they can stretch out fully in the bath.

Double ended baths may be free standing or built into a bathroom, depending on the design and personal taste. Baths without tap holes must typically be located close to a wall to access internal plumbing. Like other tubs, double ended ones can also be turned into showers, by installing a rack to support a shower curtain and plumbing a pipe and showerhead. In this instance, a valve is typically built into the plumbing, allowing people to switch between the bath and shower functions as needed.

Installing a double ended bath requires no special skills beyond those needed to install any other sort of bath tub. You should carefully consider the potential locations for the bath in a bathroom, however, because the centrally located taps can cause a plumbing conundrum, as most bathrooms are designed to accommodate baths with taps at one end of the tub. If you happen to be building a bathroom from scratch and you want a double ended bath, let the plumber know so that he or she can plumb appropriately.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Jacques6 — On Jul 24, 2011

@minthybear19 - My house came with a double ended bathtub, but it had a very bad frame that creaked whenever you climbed into it. I remade it to have the side open for easy plumbing. We used a full box frame too, which worked great for the side door.

Plumbing wise, I just had all of the plumbing redone to match the bathtub. It cost me quite a bit, but I'm fairly clueless about plumbing. At least this way, I know it's done professionally.

The double ended bathtub is a great invention. I always didn't like the faucet on one side – just like you said, it's har4d to relax when you have a facet against your back.

By minthybear19 — On Jul 23, 2011

@tanner182 - You'll love a double ended bath if you decide to put it in.

We built a full box around it. I thought about building just the top frame and side, but I figured it would be easier on us -- and safer to sit on -- if we just built the complete box. It would have been hard to arrange the plumbing if we could move the box around.

It really wouldn't be hard to imitate the Japanese style of wood around the edge if you wanted to. There are plenty of books available on it. Good luck with the installation!

By tanner182 — On Jul 23, 2011

@minthybear19 - I have a corner bath in my bathroom and I've considered putting in a double ended bathtub on and off for awhile. I thought it might be neat to have a free standing bath, but I really like your box idea.

I've always had a thing for the Japanese style bathtubs that are built into a wooden frame. They look very peaceful and relaxing. I don't think they are double ended though. Maybe they could be. I don't have very good wood working skills, but did you just build a big box or did you just build the top and side? Can you sit on the edge?

By minthybear19 — On Jul 22, 2011

My husband and I recently installed a double ended bathtub in our bathroom again. We had a double ended bathtub at our last place and we missed it when we moved. Now we can enjoy our baths together again with out one of us having a faucet against our backs.

The plumbing was the biggest issue. We ended up building a wide box around the bathtub so that we could run the plumbing under it without having to move the pipes in the wall. It worked out really nicely, but it's a good thing our bathroom is so big – otherwise there wouldn't be space to reach the toilet!

By anon164568 — On Apr 01, 2011

B and Q have installed a double ended bath but they have left no access for the hot water tap. What shall I do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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