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Bathtub Materials: Pros and Cons of Acrylic, Cast Iron, and More

Upgrade your bathtub with confidence! Dive into the bathtub materials world and unlock its compelling benefits and drawbacks. Options like acrylic, cast iron, and more. Discover the perfect fit for your bathroom renovation and make a lasting impression.

Bathing in hot water has health benefits in addition to helping us relax. Taking a bath is an excellent choice for people who need to improve their blood flow or want to relax. That’s why incorporating an area in your bathroom for long and nice baths can be a great addition to your bathroom design.

Or perhaps, you can pick the perfect tub for your house and way of life. All bathrooms have different aesthetics, build, quality, lifespans, and maintenance needs. Hence, learning what each material offers is wise before choosing a model.

Why is the Material of a Bathtub Essential In Your Bathing Experience?

Data says that in 2019, the market size assessed value for bathtubs reached $7.6 billion. This annual data is expected to grow to $8.9 billion by 2027. In Japan, around 14,000 people died due to bathing accidents. In the United States, 43,000 children were injured due to falling and slipping, and cardiac arrests were recorded in elderly citizens having baths.

These data are alarming since bathtubs are known to be a product that provides mind and body relaxation and detoxification. Soaking your whole body in the warm water will detoxify your body and give you a healthier feeling.

Since a bathtub is essential for body inflammation, especially for those individuals who suffer from arthritis, body pain, and other body sores that need hydrostatic pressure and therapy. Thus, choosing bathtub materials and designs is essential.

One commendable aspect of using freestanding bathtubs is their uniqueness and versatility. They have different styles and sizes, which will help you decide what’s best and what looks great in your home.

High-quality bathtubs are exceptional because they are made of stone or cast iron. You should have a particular size, design, and colour that will ideally match your aesthetic and satisfy your bathing requirements.

Another crucial thing to consider before choosing is the material it is composed of.  Material is essential for your long-term investment because it influences appearance, durability, heat retention, and other factors.

The following eight materials are frequently seen types of bathtubs:

  • Fiberglass
  • Porcelain
  • Acrylic
  • Cast iron
  • Marble
  • Ceramic tile
  • Stone Resin
  • Wood

We’ll go through each one’s pros and cons, and by the time we’re done, you’ll have all the ideas you need to pick for your bathtub.

The Pros and Cons of Acrylic and Cast Iron and Other Bathtub Materials

None of the many variations in freestanding tubs materials can be used for every application. So, consider your bathing demands such as lifestyle, bathroom style, and money before choosing. Finding a material that is both inexpensive and robust is crucial. It should complement your style and design choices.

We present here the pros and cons when considering a bathtub’s material:

1. Fiberglass

It is reinforced plastic cut into layers, moulded into the shape of a bathtub, and then covered with a gel coat resin layer. It is one of the most affordable bathtubs on the market and one of the most preferred since it’s lightweight and sustainable.

Pros:

  • Excellent for individuals on a tight budget because they are reasonably priced. 
  • They are also simple to install and move around a home because of the lightweight material used.
  • Because of its materials used, any damages are easy to fix.

Cons:

  • Fiberglass is one of the market’s most fragile materials, so it can easily be damaged if not handled properly.
  • It is naturally porous, regularly absorbs water, and is prone to cracking. 
  • Using standard cleaning tools will also cause colour and finish to degrade with time. 
  • The material also tends to “flex,” which causes it to distort and feel unsteady.

2. Porcelain

A sheet of steel is covered in porcelain enamel to create the bathtub material known as porcelain over steel. These elements combine to create a sturdy, reasonably priced material with a shiny, smooth surface that is simple to clean. The substance is heavier than fiberglass but also chips readily and has a low heat retention rate.

Pros:

  • The surfaces of porcelain bathtubs are incredibly smooth and preserve a lovely gloss and lustre, giving them a vintage appearance. 
  • The coating on the tubs is inherently resistant to scratching.
  • Cleaning is simple to maintain since a porcelain bathtub can be cleaned with mild detergent or baking soda, and warm water.

Cons:

  • Despite their brilliance and sheen, porcelain bathtubs are really highly slippery, making their surfaces a serious fall danger.
  • Porcelain needs to retain heat better. Therefore, your bathwater will have less heat.
  • Durability is a complex issue since porcelain is scratch-resistant. It cannot withstand any significant impacts without chipping.

3. Acrylic

A solid sheet of components creates acrylic, including petrochemicals, stabilisers, resins, fillers, and the necessary colour. This sheet is then heated, moulded into the shape of a bathtub, and reinforced with fiberglass.

Acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs are among the most common bathtubs found in most households because they are both durable and inexpensive. Plus, it adds elegance to your bathroom.

Pros:

  • Unlike regular fiberglass, acrylic tubs are made of non-porous materials and won’t absorb any extra water. 
  • It will resist mildew and other bathroom stains while holding onto heat from the temperature of your water.
  • It’s very easy to install, so homeowners can do it themselves and without professional help.

Cons:

  • Acrylic tubs flex like fiberglass tubs, making them less solid to stand on.
  • The coating is also prone to scratching, but not to the extent that fiberglass is scratch-resistant.
  • You should expect to pay upwards of $800 to $1,000 to start, making this choice less affordable.

4. Cast Iron

The process for making this material involves directly pouring molten iron into a bathtub mould, then smoothing it out and applying an enamel coating. It’s naturally resistant to scratching and cracking so it’s a good choice if you have a couple of small kids bathing with their toys.

Pros:

  • Cast iron bathtubs may be the toughest ones available because of the material’s robustness, it is highly resistant to scratches and chips.
  • Cleaning its stains can be removed with warm water and baking soda. If a harsher solution is required, such as Comet, it can be used, although it is very infrequently needed.
  • Cast iron retains heat well, therefore, your bathtub will stay warm for an extended period.

Cons:

  • It’s one of the heaviest tubs in the market, however, it’s what makes it very durable too.
  • Requires a well-thought of framework supporting in your home before installation.
  • Because of its weight, you will require extra labour for its installations, which will be an additional cost for you.

5. Marble

A marble piece in a household just screams elegance and luxury. A marble bathtub is made up of crushed limestone that is combined with resin to create cultured marble, which is then covered with a gel coat to evoke the irresistible appeal of the Romans.

Marble bathtubs are available in many types and designs. Each type of marble has its own unique features.

Pros:

  • Like most marble, it maintains heat quite effectively while retaining a simple, organic appearance.
  • It comes in a vast range of colours, sizes, and shapes. While it is not scratch-resistant, the finish can be easily repaired with car wax or other silica solutions.

Cons: 

  • It is relatively heavy, like most marble, and because of the extra weight, it is also quite pricey.
  • Cleaning can also be a problem because cultured marble needs much maintenance. After each usage, your bathtub should be cleaned with soap and distilled vinegar while still wet.
  • If routine maintenance is neglected, you may eventually see severe discoloration and mildew build up.

6. Ceramic Tile

If you didn’t know, ceramic tiles can also be used in bathtubs. Numerous ceramic tiles, essentially clay that has been fired to high temperatures until it solidifies, are formed together to produce ceramic bathtubs.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced so it won’t hurt your budget.
  • Easy to clean and maintain. 
  • It’s also very easy to install in your home allowing you to place it in your preferred area.

Cons:

  • Sadly, you must pay more for upkeep in exchange for the increased freedom of choice. 
    The adhesive that holds it in place must be continuously maintained and replaced, or it will eventually decay and crumble. 
  • Your bathtub will feel uneven and “bumpy” due to the makeup of ceramic, making it uncomfortable to lay in or use with exposed skin.

7. Stone Resin

Stone resin is a substance used to replicate the appearance of natural stone. Despite that, it’s much lighter compared to bathtubs that are made from real stone or marble because it’s made from resin.

Additionally, stone resin bathtubs are available in matte and gloss finish. This way, you can find the one that will suit your style.

Pros:

  • The substance is non-porous, so it does not absorb water and holds water heat very well.
  • Its colour does not deteriorate over time when exposed to water. 
  • It has a very long lifespan and doesn’t require frequent maintenance. When it does need to be thrown away, stone resin is entirely recyclable. 
  • In addition to being more durable and able to handle harsh treatment, stone resin is also considered a more opulent bathtub material. Cleaning is also straightforward. Stains can be done away with warm water and mildly abrasive cleaners.

Cons:

  • Although there are more inexpensive options, some stone resin bathtubs can cost you more than acrylic or fiberglass tubs. 

8. Wood

A bathtub made to order out of various sorts of wood. It’s usually wider and deeper than other bathtubs and the wood’s finish gives your bathroom a homey feel. Also, a high-quality wood bathtub will last you a very long time.

Furthermore, a wood bathtub is already good as it is but it also looks good with other bathroom accessories so you can really put out different pieces that will make it more relaxing for you.

Pros:

  • It is aesthetically attractive and has an excellent, real, natural feel.
  • Wood is simple to manage, wooden bathtubs can be fabricated in any shape or size to suit your preferences and add a touch of elegance to your bathing experience.

Cons:

  • Luxury does come with a hefty price tag, however, as wood will not survive nearly as long as other bathtubs on the market due to continuous contact with water.
  • Specific modifications to your home are necessary to make room for a wooden tub, such as framing and additional space.
  • Wooden bathtub designs may be less common due to their cost. 

The longevity of your bathtub depends on frequent maintenance and the bathtub’s initial cost. Underuse will dry up the wood, hastening the decaying process. At the same time, overuse will invariably wash away the protective sealant and cause the wood to rot more quickly. Overall, having a wooden bathtub is quite a hassle.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article about high-quality bathtub materials and their advantages and disadvantages has been helpful to you. There is a choice for everyone because we are aware that everyone has distinct preferences and financial constraints.

The easiest method to choose the bathtub material that is perfect for you is to do some research, make some comparisons, and consider how each material will fit into your lifestyle and bathroom layout. Your bathtub will be a vital component of your bathroom that you’ll love using for years to come if you carefully consider all the different bathtubs and make the appropriate decision.

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