Types of Bathtub Materials: Choose the Right Material for Your Needs

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When it comes to choosing a bathtub, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is the material of the bathtub. Learn the different types of bathtub materials.

There are several different materials available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of bathtub materials available and help you choose the right one for your needs!

  • Acrylic
  • Fiberglass
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron or steel
  • Solid surface materials
  • Cast polymer
  • Stone resin
  • Copper
  • Wood & glass
  • Cultured marble

Acrylic


Empava 67 Inch Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub Contemporary Soaking Tub with Brushed Nickel Overflow and Drain EMPV-BT1518, Glossy White

Acrylic is a type of plastic that is used in a variety of applications made from a solid sheet of material that is usually made from petrochemicals, stabilizers, resins, fillers, and appropriate dye. The sheet is then heated and molded into the shape of a bathtub and is reinforced with fiberglass.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Relatively cheap
  • Wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes
  • Repairable surface
  • Non-porous surface

Cons

  • It can warp if not installed correctly
  • Easily scratched (Do not use abrasive cleaners)
  • It tends to be more expensive than fiberglass

Fiberglass

Fine Fixtures Drop In White Soaking Bathtub, Fiberglass Acrylic Material, Exclusive Small sized 48"L x 32"W x 19"H.

Fiberglass is a type of plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. It is strong and durable yet lightweight and easy to maneuver, which makes the fiberglass bathtub extremely easy to install.

Pros

  • Simple installation
  • Mildew resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • The surface is prone to scratches and cracks
  • Not as durable as some other materials
  • Shine will fade over time

Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron or Steel

Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron or Steel tub

Enameled cast iron bathtubs are made of classic material. They are very durable and heavy. Cast iron is a high-end option, but it is worth the investment because it will last for many years, and in the event of damage to the tub, it can be resurfaced.

Porcelain-enameled cast-iron or steel tubs are made from a porcelain enamel that is fused to the iron or steel surface. The porcelain enamel is a glass-like material that is applied to the metal surface and then baked on.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Non-porous surface
  • Heat retention is excellent
  • Resistant to chipping due to thick enamel coating
  • Can be resurfaced
  • Available in a wide range of colors

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to install
  • Expensive

Solid Surface Materials

INBANI HERITAGE Freestanding oval Solid Surface bathtub
Photo by archiproducts

Solid surface materials are a newer type of material used for bathtubs. They are hard-wearing and efficient but also expensive and heavy. Since this is a newer material, the disadvantage is that it can be difficult to find.

Solid surface bathtubs are made from synthetic, polymeric materials and can be found in various design types.

Pros

  • Natural look options
  • Durable
  • Heat retention
  • Variety in design

Cons

  • Difficult to find
  • Expensive
  • Heavier than other materials

Cast Polymer

Cast Polymer tub
Photo by: rdmarble

Cast polymer is a very good material as it is inexpensive and relatively effortless to maintain. However, they can become brittle and crack. Cast polymer is an innovative building material that can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects.

It’s made up of many different components, including natural stone and solid surface materials finished with a gel coat on top.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • The surface can be polished
  • Easy to clean
  • Stain-resistant
  • Variety in Design

Cons

  • Cracks cannot be repaired
  • Expensive
  • Quite brittle

Stone Resin

Stone Resin
Photo by sda-decoration

The natural stone options for your tub can include marble, onyx, basalt, granite, sandstone basalt, and travertine.

Stone tubs are a luxurious addition to the bathroom, increasing the value of your home. However, they are very extremely heavy and can require additional structural support as well as regular maintenance.

Pros

  • Bringing a natural look inside
  • Very durable
  • Investment
  • Can be custom ordered

Cons

  • Extremely heavy
  • May need extra support
  • Needs regular maintenance

Copper

Copper tub
Photo by Designing Idea

Copper is a very durable material that is resistant to mold and bacteria. The Copper bathtubs are excellent at retaining heat as well as being eco-friendly and anti-bacterial, making them a popular choice for many people. Additionally, copper tubs have a very long life span, making them a wise investment for your home.

Drinking water from a copper flask has many health benefits, and bathing in a tub made of copper is no different.

Pros

  • Exudes luxury
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Health benefits

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Regular cleaning

Wood & Glass

Wood & Glass tub
Photo by HomeCrux

There are many types of wood that you can use for your tub. Walnut, African or Honduran teak, ash, cherry, and maple are just some examples. Wooden tubs are popular in Japan, where people like to relax in a communal soak.

Wooden and glass tubs are custom-designed and require a lot of space since they are usually bigger than standard bathtubs. If you take care of it, these tubs can be very beautiful.

Pros

  • Beautiful natural feature
  • Investment
  • Custom ordered

Cons

  • Highly-priced
  • Require regular maintenance

Cultured Marble

Cultured Marble tub
Photo by Kitchen and Bath

Cultured marble is a man-made material constructed from limestone that is crushed and mixed with resin and finally finished with Gelcoat to create a beautiful, natural-looking material.

This Cultured marble is essentially made in molds to create beautiful and unique pieces for your home. There are a variety of options as far as color, style, and size are concerned, and unlike fiberglass, the gel coat that is used is more resilient. 

Pros

  • Custom design
  • Very durable
  • Natural-looking
  • Investment piece
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • Expensive

What to Consider When Buying a Bathtub

We have already discussed the different materials that are available and the pros and cons of each one. However, there are other important things to consider when buying a bathtub, like your budget or the space available, and much more.

What is my budget for a bathtub?

This is quite an important one, as you can imagine. Make sure to factor in the installation as well as the tub and any accessories when totaling up the final cost, e.g., faucets, shower heads, etc.

Do you have enough space?

If you currently have an alcove bathtub with a shower and would like a garden tub instead of a steam shower, you probably won’t have enough space and may need to make your bathroom bigger.

Can my water heater handle a higher capacity?

It’s no big surprise that whirlpool tubs and soaking tubs use more water than a regular bathtubs. You may need to change your water heater to one that can handle the extra requirement.

What if my bathtub is heavy?

Is your floor strong enough to hold a heavy porcelain-enameled cast-iron or whirlpool tub?  If your floor can’t support the weight, you can install extra support to safely hold the tub.

What are you using the bathtub for?

If, for instance, you have pets and will be washing them in the bathtub or it’s only used by your kids, installing a deep tub or even a whirlpool probably isn’t the best idea. However, if you like to soak in a bathtub after a hard day’s work with a nice glass of wine, an alcove bathtub may not do the trick for you.

Crack, stain, or scratch resistance?

Acrylic and fiberglass tubs are cheap, but they can get scratched over time, while the other more durable materials are more expensive but will stand the test of time. So this really depends on your individual budget.

How much does the bathtub weigh?

Depending on the material, the weight will change, not to mention the weight of the water. 1 liter of water weighs approx 1kg. 

Below are the average weights of the bathtubs in pounds – lbs  (kilos – k).

  • Acrylic bathtub 50 – 100 lbs (22.6 – 45.3 k)
  • Fiberglass bathtub 50 – 80 lbs (22.6 – 36.3 k)
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron bathtub 350 – 500 lbs (158.8 – 226.8 k)
  • Steel bathtub 75 – 120 lbs (34 – 54.4 k)
  • Solid surface bathtub 70 -150 lbs (31.7 – 68 k)
  • Cast polymer bathtub 240 – 500 lbs (108.8 – 226.8 k)
  • Stone resin bathtub 375 – 1000 lbs (170 – 453.6 k)
  • Copper bathtub 75 – 300 lbs (34 – 136 k)
  • Wood bathtub 300 – 500 lbs (136 – 226.8 k)
  • Glass bathtub 200 – 700 lbs (90.7 – 317.5 k)
  • Cultured marble 250 – 500 lbs (113.4 – 226.8 k)

How easy or difficult is it to clean and maintain?

Cleaning a bathtub is straightforward enough. The difference will lie in which types of bathtub materials you have and whether you want to use the chemicals or go the natural route.

The one thing to remember is clean after use or at least after 2 uses. That way, grime, and mold will not get a chance to build up.

In Conclusion

We have looked at the different types of available bathtubs and also what you need to consider before making your purchase. There is a lot to think about, but hopefully, this guide has made it a little easier for you.

What type of bathtub did you go for in the end? Let us know in the comments below.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask away! We would be happy to help in any way we can. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your new bathtub! 🙂 Let us know how it goes! 🙂

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