What are the pros and cons of using an acrylic bathtub?

Acrylic bathtubs are generally considered to be moderate in cost when compared to bathtubs made from other materials.

An acrylic bathtub can be a beautiful addition to any bathroom, and as they are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and shapes, there is usually a “perfect” acrylic bathtub to suit every taste. Their price is generally moderate when compared to the prices of other bathtubs, and they are relatively light and easy to install. Its light weight can cause the tub to not feel solid, and acrylic can scratch and stain. While acrylic bathtubs have their drawbacks, they are often the result of improper installation, maintenance, or use.

One of the main advantages of an acrylic bathtub is evident in the installation. With 75 pounds. (34.02 kg), give or take, an acrylic bathtub is much easier to transport and maneuver than its cast iron counterpart, which usually weighs over 350 pounds. (158.75 kg). This is a serious consideration for the home owner considering installing a new bathtub upstairs in their home – placing a cast iron bathtub in its intended location can be difficult and can damage walls and corners along the way.

The lightweight quality of an acrylic bathtub, however, translates to an “empty” feeling when the user walks in, unless the bathtub is fixed in mortar when installed. Cast iron bathtubs, in contrast, don’t need any extra work to make them more solid, but it’s wise to check the floor and, if necessary, reinforce it for the extra weight of the cast iron bathtub. Another quality to consider when installing an acrylic bathtub is heat retention; when insulated in the installation, they retain heat almost as well as cast iron.

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The smooth, shiny surface of an acrylic bathtub is not likely to chip, which is a definite disadvantage of enameled bathtubs, but it is much more likely to scratch, most often when cleaning with abrasive compounds and scouring pads. Polishing scratched acrylic surfaces to restore their glossy smoothness is a relatively easy process, albeit in part because acrylic is the same color throughout, not just the surface. In contrast, a cast iron bathtub has a shallow enamel or porcelain surface that, if chipped or cracked, requires accurate color matching for repair. Scratches can be reduced by cleaning acrylic bathtubs with soap and water only or with cleansers without abrasives, solvents or acetone.

Acrylic bathtubs are more durable than most other bathtubs in their price range and their colors do not fade over time like fiberglass bathtubs. They’re also generally more durable than other tubs, but they’re susceptible to stains, especially because of the dyes used on hair and clothing, which is perhaps their biggest downside. These stains can be removed with a little work, however, and the acrylic surface restored to its original color. Overall, if properly installed and maintained and used with an intelligent awareness of their susceptibility to stains, acrylic bathtubs should provide their owners with a lifetime of satisfaction.

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