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When it comes to remodeling your bathroom, a brand new bathtub can play a big role in creating the room's tone. Acrylic and porcelain are the most popular materials used for bathtubs today. But which one is best? We've researched both bathtub materials, and in this post, we will answer this question for you.
The biggest difference between porcelain and acrylic bathtubs is their weight. Porcelain is a much harder material than acrylic, and its surface is more resistant to scratches. Acrylic bathtubs are lighter and have a solid fiberglass base. This finish, while durable and long-lasting, can be easily scratched from harsh materials and cleaners.
Bathtubs can be the focal point of your bathroom, which means choosing the right one is worth adequate planning and consideration. While porcelain and acrylic bathtubs have some similarities, it can help know their differences if you are stuck between choosing them for your bathroom. Continue reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each bathtub material.
Comparing Porcelain And Acrylic Bathtubs
Porcelain tubs are made from either stamped steel or cast iron coated with a layer of porcelain enamel. This material is then infused with glass and heated at over 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit before it melts and hardens. Overall, porcelain tubs are very durable, weighty, and can last for a long period of time if properly maintained. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of porcelain tubs.
Advantages of Porcelain Tubs
Porcelain tubs are known for their durability. Not only can they hold up extremely well against surface scratches, but you can repair them yourself if they do become damaged. The surface of these tubs is corrosion-resistant, which means that you don't have to worry about it rusting--given the coating isn't damaged.
Another great benefit of porcelain tubs is that they can be easily cleaned with any mild non-abrasive cleaner. You can even use baking soda as a paste to clean these tubs regularly. While they are more resistant to scratches than acrylic tubs, it is advised to avoid abrasive scouring pads and any harsh detergent that may damage the tub's surface.
A well-maintained porcelain tub can last for 20 years or more. Their solid construction and sturdiness play a huge role in their lifespan, helping them outlive many other bathtub materials.
Comes in Standard Sizes
Since porcelain tubs are in high demand, you'll find that they're commonly sold in standard bathtub sizes, which are 60 by 30 inches. You can also have these tubs custom-made to the size of your choice.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Tubs
Due to their base material and the nature of their construction, porcelain tubs are typically more expensive than acrylic bathtubs. They may also require a bit more maintenance to keep them from turning dull.
Overall, porcelain tubs very durable. However, they can become susceptible to cracks and chips when heavy objects are dropped on them. And if this happens, the enamel coating will split, making the sheeting beneath it more susceptible to rust.
No Heat Retention
Porcelain tubs tend to turn cold to the touch faster than acrylic tubs. However, many models are foam-insulated, which helps to significantly counteract any heat loss.
Because of their steel or cast iron base, porcelain tubs can be very heavy to install and remove from a bathroom, especially if the tub is larger. On average, these tubs can weigh anywhere from 200 to over 500 pounds. This may also require you to install additional support on the floor for the tub.
Styles and Colors
Traditionally, most porcelain tubs will come in a standard white or off-white color, so there aren't as many options available as with other bathtub materials. However, you may find an assortment of new models that come in eggshell, black, gray, or beige.
Acrylic tubs are formed from sheets of acrylic the been laid over a fiberglass base. It's one of the most durable bathtub materials on the market. The biggest advantage of acrylic tubs is that you are afforded all of the benefits of solid fiberglass with the extra reinforcement of an acrylic coating. Though acrylic may be prone to some scratching, it is relatively easy to maintain and can last for over a decade. Let's discuss some of the most notable pros and cons of acrylic bathtubs.
Advantages of Acrylic Tubs
Acrylic tubs are unquestionably durable and resilient. They also have a naturally non-porous surface, which means that they will not absorb water, extending their lifespan. They also hold up fairly well to heavy impact and are less likely to crack or chip than porcelain.
Since these tubs' bases are made of fiberglass, you'll find that they're generally lighter than other bathtub materials available today. Their lightweight materials also make them easier to install and remove, especially in homes with multiple floors.
Acrylic bathtubs are one of the most affordable bathtub options on the market. Their flexible price point makes them an attractive option for homeowners and keeps them in demand. Though they may be more expensive than other fiberglass tubs, they are still fairly affordable, especially compared to other bathtub materials such as porcelain, cast-iron, or steel.
Styles and Colors
Acrylic bathtubs come in a multitude of different sizes, shapes, and designs. However, you will find that most bathtubs will come in either white, off-white, or beige. However, you can find specialty bathtub stores that offer more color options.
The non-porous surface of acrylic tubs offers them excellent heat-retention capabilities. It also means that their solid surface won't become susceptible to mold, mildew, or rust from everyday wear and tear.
Disadvantages Of Acrylic Tubs
Though the tubs are extremely durable, one of the acrylic tubs' biggest downsides is that their surface can scratch rather easily. For this reason, it's imperative only to use mild cleaners and gentle cleaning tools when maintaining the tubs.
Lifespan is Lower
On average acrylic, tubs can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years if they are maintained well. However, you won't have to worry about losing their luster or warping as the years go by. They may, however, turn a bit dull or develop yellow spots from hard water and personal care products.
What is the best material for a freestanding tub?
If you're looking for a good freestanding tub, it's important to find a tub that's sturdy and durable. It also helps if the tub has significant heat retention capabilities. Let's look at some of the best materials for freestanding tubs.
These durable tubs are probably the most common choice for freestanding tubs. Their lightweight makes them easy to install and maneuver around tight corners and up stairwells. You also don't have to worry about reinforcing the floor to support the bathtub as you would with other materials, such as steel or cast iron.
If you're looking for a heavy and extremely durable freestanding tub, consider taking a look at cast iron. These classic tubs come in a variety of styles, and they can stand the test of time. They also retain heat fairly well, which means they're perfect for a long evening soak.
Tubs made of a resin material or solid surface tubs have a more modern design. This high-quality composite material is very durable and requires very little maintenance to keep clean and stain-free. The tubs are not as heavy as other free-standing options, making them easier to install in small rooms and on higher floor levels. Though they may not retain heat like cast iron and other materials, their surface is softer and comfortable to the touch.
If you want to wow your guests when they enter your bathroom, a stone tub will definitely do the job. These tubs come in several different unique designs and are excellent at retaining heat. They have a very heavy surface, making them durable and long-lasting.
How can you tell if a tub is porcelain or enamel?
The easiest way to quickly tell if your tub is made of porcelain or enamel is to place a magnet on the tub and see if it sticks. Porcelain tubs are backed by steel or cast-iron. Enamel-coated tubs are not. So if the magnet sticks to the tub, it is made of porcelain and not enamel.
How long will an acrylic tub last?
Acrylic tubs last for about 10 to 15 years on average before they become dull or need replacement.
How much do acrylic tubs cost?
There are several different acrylic tub options to choose from currently, and most of them will range anywhere from $350 to well over $3,500 for more luxury models. On average, however, you can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $800 for a standard size acrylic tub.
Do acrylic tubs turn yellow?
Over time, acrylic tubs can develop yellow stains. The stains result from residue accumulation from substances such as soaps, shampoos, and hard water. They can also turn yellow if you clean them with the wrong cleaning solutions. The best way to prevent these stains is to clean the tub frequently and avoid abrasive cleaners that contain harsh ingredients.
How much do porcelain tubs cost?
The average cost of a porcelain tub can range from $400 to over $2,000. You'll typically pay around $$350 to $700 for a small porcelain tub. The prices will increase depending on the size, style, other features of the tub.
How long will a porcelain tub last?
A quality porcelain tub can last for about 20 years if it is well maintained. Though, you may notice that the tub's finish may become dull and slightly discolored overtime. If you'd rather not replace the tub, you can have it refinished for a fraction of the cost of a replacement.
Wrapping Things Up
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the main differences between acrylic and porcelain bathtubs. And we hope that this pivotal post has helped you to determine which material is best for you.
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