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How to Compare a Fiberglass Bathtub to an Acrylic Tub

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Acrylic bathtub used in a bathroom remodeling project

Acrylic bathtub used in a bathroom remodeling project

When most people look at a fiberglass or acrylic tub it may be hard at first glance to tell the difference between the two – or to know which one may be the better choice for a bath remodeling project. In the article below you’ll get a brief description of how both tub types are made and the advantages and disadvantages of both product types.

 

Fiberglass TubA fiberglass gelcoat tub is polyester resin that is sprayed into a mold and then reinforced with fine glass particles. The material is then hardened to the desired shape.

 

Advantages

 

  • Low price – since fiberglass tubs are made in large quantities with relatively low cost materials they are usually the cheapest priced tubs available.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Lightweight material makes them easier to install.
  • Widely available.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • If the top gelcoat is damaged the fibers of the fiberglass can show through.
  • This type of tub doesn’t last as long as acrylic and its removal can lead to an expensive bathroom remodeling project.
  • Since this material is porous it can absorb moisture, grime and lead to mildew problems.
  • Since the topcoat finish doesn’t last as long the tub can discolor and turn yellow.

 

 

Acrylic tub – These tubs are created by heating and molding (vacuum forming) sheets of acrylic which are reinforced underneath with fiberglass.

 

Advantages

 

  • Since the material is non-porous it will not allow mold and mildew to build up.
  • Color is solid through the acrylic so it won’t yellow like a fiberglass bathtub.
  • This long lasting material will minimize the need for frequent replacements.
  • Acrylic retains its gloss and shine over the life span of the material.
  • The material is warm to the touch.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • More expensive than a fiberglass tub.
  • You can’t use abrasive cleaner on the bathtub because they will cause scratches.
  • Tubs can bend or flex if not properly installed.

 

After looking at the advantages and disadvantages of both of these products they both have their uses. Which of these 2 options do you think is best? Do you have any experience with either a fiberglass or acrylic bathtub you’d like to share?

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more information or a free consultation for a tub or a bath remodeling project call the Bath Doctor of Columbus (614-252-7294) Cleveland Design & Remodeling (216-658-1270) and Cincinnati Design and Remodeling (513-744-2184) – divisions of Innovate Building Solutions.

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

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