A stand-alone soaker makes a strong design statement. But once filled with water—not to mention a bather—it can easily weigh up to 500 pounds, straining the floor beneath it. Sistering the joists or doubling up a subfloor of 3⁄4-inch plywood under a pedestal or one-piece tub will shore up the floor. Cast-iron claw-foot? TOH ’s Tom Silva likes to play it safe with 2x material laid flat between joists and supported by cleats under the legs.
Keep in mind that you’ll be sacrificing deck space—a small table or stool can sidle up alongside for toiletries—and the lack of a ledge to rest on may not suit those with limited mobility. Factor in plumbing placement, too. A floor-mount tub filler offers floor-plan flexibility, but a wall- or deck-mount may make sense if plumbing’s already in the wall (and can save you big bucks on the faucet). Running supply lines in a built-out ledge, as shown above, will create some landing space. And if your water heater isn’t able to handle any increased demand, you may have to upgrade it. After all, what’s the point of a statement soaker if you’re going to be left out in the cold?